Protect the freedom to read!

Support our libraries and librarians

Our libraries should represent the diverse communities they serve. Banning books is un-American. These principles seem obvious, but our freedom to read, and especially our children’s freedom to read, is under attack like never before.

Librarians are thinking carefully about how to celebrate Pride Month in the face of “Hide the Pride” opposition where conservative activists check out LGBTQ books and “forget” to return them, or move them to areas of the library where patrons cannot locate them.

Here in Washington, our local Washington Stop Moms for “Liberty” team is watching the recent changes at the Washington State School Directors’ Association carefully. The WSSDA is supposed to be a non-partisan forum for public schools, but is now over-weighting the voices of directors from schools that serve a small minority of our students. These directors want to center “local control” as a way to roll back recent advances at the state level for diverse curriculum, inclusive library materials, and age-appropriate sexual health education.

A statewide voice for conservatism, the Conservative Ladies of Washington, believes that having diverse perspectives in our libraries amounts to “protecting inappropriate books at the expense of our children” (content warning: homophobia). Notice their echoing of the “local control” frame to describe their belief that books about the role and contributions of someone such as an LGBTQ+ person or a civil rights leader should not be available to children if a local citizen objects.

Or, if comedy is more your style, enjoy this issue briefing from John Oliver:

How can I take action?

In short, show up. Read your library and school board meeting minutes and ensure that every time a “book banner” shows up, those who support the freedom to read and learn show up in response.

Join us at the next King County Library Board meeting May 29th at 5:00 at the King County Library Service center. Arrive a little early to sign in to make a public comment.

Public comment ideas:

  • Conservative Ladies of Washington and the Moms for Liberty do not speak for me or my family.
  • I support the freedom to read and a diverse collection of materials and programs in our library system.
  • Thank those on the front lines — talk about a librarian who has been helpful to you and your family and why you’re grateful for this resource.
  • Talk about a book from a diverse author you loved and why you are glad it’s on the shelves at KCLS
  • Remind the board that we expect them to stand firm against book bans. If conservatives complain about pride displays next month, we expect them to give no ground whatsoever.

For more effective public comment, choose just one item. You are limited to three minutes.

If you cannot attend in person, the meeting is available on zoom – you must email to provide public testimony over zoom at least one hour in advance. Check the library board website – the zoom link and online testimony information will be posted when the May meeting agenda is posted. You can also email the library board your comments.

Anything else?

Indivisible Truth Brigade May theme is “Let Children Read”. Our kids need to be protected from real harms, like social media manipulation, and not from fake controversies about books!

Read this month’s explainer here You can customize your message to invite your friends to come along with you to the board meeting! There is also the new Truth Brigade SoSha message tool that makes posting easier than ever.

New to Truth Brigade? Would you like to “workshop” your social media posts to improve their effectiveness? Join the next Truth Brigade Workshop and Orientation meeting Wednesday, May 22nd at 3:30. Register at