“A range of perspectives are core to the humanities, so when diverse voices are banned and silenced, then we must step up and call out the dangers to our democracy. The voices of people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals must be represented and heard.”Rick Noguchi, California Humanities’ President & CEO
The American Library Association reports that 2022 saw an unprecedented number of attempted book bans, which were enacted by reactionary lawmakers, parents, and advocacy groups. Overwhelmingly, these special interest groups target stories by and about people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals. As this alarming trend continues to grow, California Humanities expresses its grave concern as these restrictive efforts compromise freedom of expression. The core work of California Humanities is to connect people through stories that are not our own.
Book bans threaten our knowledge and understanding of the world, which is at the heart of the humanities. ‘Practicing’ the public humanities includes the access to books — including books that reflect the diverse experiences and perspectives — which help to expand our understanding of the world and the richness of the cultures around us. These book bans attack our collective right to access this information and our cherished goal of creating a more thoughtful, open, and just society for Californians and beyond.
Here at California Humanities, we support the state’s recent admonishment of these dangerous book bans, and stand behind public librarians and others whose jobs are threatened by taking action. We remain a proud supporter of in-house programs such as Library Innovation Lab, where librarians intentionally design and provide safe reading and community experiences for a diverse range of Californians, many who are targeted by these book bans.
Below, we are sharing resources from GLAAD, ALA, and EveryLibrary Institute for how to fight book bans in your own community. Please read and share widely!