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Council Opposes Book Ban, Adopts Freedom to Read Resolution

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Joe Clifton, Friday, September 2, 2022

The council on Thursday unanimously adopted a resolution promoting the American Library Association’s Declaration of Freedom to Read and opposing the ban on books. We are aware that the city’s library board is working to protect the right to read.

“The freedom to read is the freedom to think and exchange opinions. It is an inherent element of the fundamental rights we enjoy that are the foundation of these U.S. governance,” said the council that sponsored the resolution. member Leslie Poole said.

Among other threats to free expression, Texas Rep. Matt Krause created a “watchlist” of 850 books in the recent legislature.

Poole said such attacks on our libraries “are increasingly targeted as book bans increase, targeting books about gender, race, sexual orientation, sexuality, race, human rights, and politics.” She praised the “aggressive steps” taken by the Library Commission and the Austin Public Library to protect the freedom of reading.

Co-sponsors of the pool included Mayor Pro Tem Alison Alter and City Councilmen Kathie Tovo, Natasha Harper-Madison, Vanessa Fuentes, Ann Kitchen and Chito Vela. After hearing from two citizens opposing the resolution, Mayor Steve Adler requested that his name be added to the list of co-sponsors.

Jackie Bessinger told the Council that she represented mothers in Liberty, Texas, and opposed the resolution, but said she had examined 400 books in the library that she deemed pornographic.

But it was Brian Tully’s comment that caught Adler’s attention. Tully declared it the government’s responsibility to protect children from self-destructive behavior, pedophilia and sexual exploitation. A word about it is a dog whistle by a die-hard political activist with an agenda, a progressive agenda.”

Adler said Tully’s comments resonated with him, but they probably weren’t what the speaker intended.

Vera told a colleague that his mother was a public school librarian. “So I personally understand the challenges and trials that come with this important profession. I remember admiring the my support ALA’s Freedom to Read Statement It represents a lesson I learned from my mother about protecting knowledge and discourse from government excesses. “

Alter, a mother of two, says, “For young readers, the library is a safe place to learn and grow. A ban on books is incompatible with a healthy democracy.”

Harper-Madison said, “Diverse and dissenting opinions are part of a democratic society. It’s the last thing to do.”

“Public libraries are at the heart of our democracy, and I am proud that the City of Austin strongly opposes this anti-democratic effort to restrict young people’s access to information and knowledge.”

Expressing support for the resolution, Fuentes said: While many of our civil liberties are diminishing, the City Council must be ready and willing to fight back on all fronts. “

Kitchen added: The most important thing is a perspective other than our own, which we should embrace. “

In partnership with local bookstore BookPeople, the Austin Public Library launched “Banned Camps,” a series of events aimed at promoting reading freedom and the free exchange of ideas.

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