Diverse societies need diverse libraries
As the library director of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library, I am dismayed, disturbed and appalled that the topic of book banning, book burning and censorship has risen its ugly head in our wonderful, diverse and open community. As a librarian, and I strongly believe that I speak for many other librarians and library staff, intellectual freedom, the freedom to read and the First Amendment are crucially important in a Democratic society.
The banning and burning of books in high school level libraries because they cover topics such as sexuality, LGBTQ+ issues, teen homelessness, physical abuse or similar topics is nothing less than intolerance and narrow-mindedness. Reading books helps prepare us for real life. The Fredericksburg region enjoys the beauty and benefit of a diverse and inclusive community and the very notion of removing books, banning books or burning books is anathema to what this community and this country stands for.
The free public library and the public school libraries offer a wide variety of materials available to everyone without discrimination for any reason on a purely voluntary basis. That is the very definition of the freedom to read. I sincerely hope that our rights to decide what we read are not to be diminished by a small yet vocal minority, despite the recent vote to rescind the original order from a local school board. I doubt the topic is over.
We live in a diverse community, and we offer a diverse collection of materials at the school library as well as the public library. If there is a title that offends you, please ask a librarian or staff member for a recommendation for the kind of books you like. They will be more than happy to make reading suggestions, and they are very knowledgeable.