Maplewood Library takes a stand on banned books, the ‘tide of intolerance’

MAPLEWOOD, NJ – Amid efforts to ban certain books from schools and libraries – a movement that has gained the most momentum recently in Texas, Florida and Pennsylvania, according to a report – Maplewood Library has released a statement.

On Monday, at the start of Banned Books Week, they noted that libraries have always provided a “stable community hub and clearinghouse of accurate information.”

The statement was released by Kate McCaffrey, Chair of the Maplewood Memorial Library Board of Trustees.

Freedom to Read: A Statement on Banned Books

Ten years ago, hundreds of people gathered daily at the Maplewood Memorial Library for warmth, light, food and information. Hurricane Sandy dramatically demonstrated the crucial role our library plays as a community center and clearing house for accurate information.

Indeed, the importance of the library as an institution and a physical space galvanized the success of our $22 million building campaign.

Yet as we begin construction on a new building, a rising tide of intolerance across the United States reinforces the importance of the library, not just as a physical gathering space, but as a institution devoted to
free speech and free speech.

We celebrate and encourage the lively exchange of diverse ideas as a fundamental tenet of our democracy. We curate a large collection of books, journals, magazines, and films that offer fact and fantasy, stories of heartbreak and joy, and the opportunity to deepen understanding and consider new ideas.

This year, the American Library Association (ALA) reports a surge in efforts to ban and censor books. Although book challenges have a long history in the United States, evidence suggests that recent efforts are organized, coordinated, well-funded, and focused largely on books that consider racial justice and identity. LGTBQ.

Librarians themselves have become targets of threats and intimidation, sometimes driven from their jobs.

We reject these divisive efforts to erase certain voices, restrict debate and distort reality. We are committed to providing free access to a full range of ideas to build literacy, ground opinions in facts, and expand our understanding of the world we live in.

We uphold the professionalism and competence of our library staff to preserve a wide range of materials that serve the public interest, and we have adopted a robust and thoughtful collection development policy.

Active citizenship requires a literate and informed public, free to read the materials they choose and ready to engage, discuss and listen to ideas with their neighbors. This week, as the ALA brings banned books to our attention, we celebrate and affirm the right to read.

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