Librarians face book ban with Twitter takeover

Texas has become a battleground with a ban on books. A state representative is investigating which school districts have degrees that could cause students “discomfort.” The governor has accused school libraries of carrying pornographic material Demanded Review of their stack.

Entering the arena now is the cavalcade of librarians, who are using social media to counter the impact on their professionalism आणि and on students’ access to various books.

In October, Texas representative Matt Cross Letter sent The titles in the 850 books list or any other “Ask the district education department to report to the state education institution whether the students may cause discomfort, guilt, pain or any other kind of mental distress due to their race or gender.” Various authors And Feature LGBTQ character, sex education or racism.

Part of the excitement in Texas and across the country is over the alleged teaching of critical race theory, or CRT, in K-12 schools. He was also instrumental in Republican Glenn Youngkin’s successful bid for the Virginia governorship. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott slammed the Texas Association of School Boards in November, citing parental anger over “explicit pornographic images” and inappropriate library content. (Association has no regulatory authority over schools.)

Throughout the confusion, librarians and writers are watching with increasing feelings of anxiety and anger. They see the uproar as a blow to censorship with racist and sexist undercurrents.

A group of librarians decided to change the conversation and quietly began conducting Twitter takeovers. On November 4, they flooded the #txlege hashtag with tweets about the power of young adult books using #FReadom. The words “freedom” and “reading” are combined in a hashtag.)

“One of the cooling effects is people get scared, and you get scared too. You’re scared, you’re alone, “says Carolyn Fute, a Twitter takeover organizer and library consultant who spent 29 years as a school librarian. “We hope people understand that they are not alone – there are people and librarians who are fighting for students’ right to literature and information.”

As more and more people use public outcry to question books in schools instead of using the established review process, libraries are caught in the middle of a culture war. Becky Calzada, Leander ISD library coordinator and another Twitter takeover organizer, says not every student has access to books outside the library, which makes it all the more effective when books are introduced.

“We have a desert of books, so the school library is the only place where some students can get the information they need or enjoy reading,” says Kalzada. “We have kids who don’t even have 10 books of their own at home.”

Censorship cycle

Author Ashley Hope Perez grew up in East Texas and her 2015 book “Out of the darknessIs on the list of books under scrutiny by Krause. His story revolves around a 1930s romance between a black boy and a Latin girl in rural Texas. The characters face racism in their community and domestic abuse.

Six years after its publication, Perez’s book is still challenging. The National Coalition Against Censorship spoke out against the removal of the novel from two schools in the Austin area this fall. Over the years, the author has identified patterns of anger on books like hers. She says the campaigns come from right-wing groups that frame the issue as one of the parents’ concerns on sexual content and inclusive sex education.

“There is a lot of effort in schools to suggest just the presence of these books, as part of a coordinated effort in public education that forces young people to take a particular approach,” says Perez. “I think many parents believe that they are responding, but they are ultimately the tools of these political organizations. Parents may or may not be aware of this, but there is a pervasive story of public education being undermined, with teachers and librarians being considered enemies. Republicans have been in this business for a long time.

Jimmy Kimmel aired a clip of a parent shouting “Out of Darkness” on the Lake Travis school board, claiming that the word “cornhole” encourages middle school students to have sex. Perez says she can tell parents she hasn’t read the book, which is similar to the course of her critics.

“Even if most people don’t object to their teenage son engaging in complex material, in the sense that it doesn’t work, what they succeed in is creating a messy story about what school is,” says Perez. “If someone says it’s pornography, and you say it’s not, you’re arguing about what pornography is. If we are conversing on those terms, we are already in a bad place.

Perez works with PEN America and National Coalition Against Censorship because she feels the controversy ultimately conveys the message that Black, Latino and LGBTQ stories आणि and perhaps they are not student-school.

“The idea that Abbott or Krauss knows better for children to read than professionals trained in that area is ridiculous,” says Perez, “but it’s accepted.”

A (Twitter) trend sparking

The librarian began speaking a few days after Cross’s inquiry letter came out, Fute said. He knew his business organization, the Texas Library Association, would speak, but he felt compelled to take action.

Calzada had the idea of ​​a Twitter takeover while scrolling through the hashtag #txlege, usually dominated by Policy Once and Reporters. The various young adult novels are not just entertainment – she wanted to make a statement about how they can change the lives of students.

“I haven’t read a single book about a Latina boy or a woman since I was an adult,” says Calzada. “You grew up reading classics, but they’re all white kids. It’s getting better, and we’re seeing more books that kids can see for themselves. “

Fute says he secretly spread the word about the Twitter takeover. She was traveling to California on November 4 and she got up at 5 a.m. to attend. At the end of the day, the hashtag was trending.

She and other librarians who adopted Moniker Freedom Fighters, Plans to continue posting on social media every Friday about effective books. They have launched A. Website With news and resources for librarians about the fight against censorship.

“I want the legislators to know that we are here, the people who support children’s access to books, and there are many of us,” says Fute. “I did not think we should panic. When you get angry, it’s terrible. “

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