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Out of Many, One: Practicing Defensive Librarianship

Jayne Walters


Fifty-two books in Utah’s Alpine School District. Forty-three books in Oklahoma. Thirty books in Kansas. Four hundred sixty five books in Pennsylvania’s Central York School District; 204 books in Florida; 713 books in Texas, with 435 bans in North East Independent School District. Eight hundred books in Texas legislator Matt Krause’s list of books for investigation. The list goes on, the numbers go up, almost all exclusively targeting books by and about people of color and members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

While censorship has long been an issue for libraries, this past year has brought a record number of ban requests across the nation—more than fifteen hundred tracked by PEN America between July 2021 and March 2022. Libraries are also becoming sites for protest—against Drag Queen Story Times, appearances by BIPoC and queer authors, Rainbow Clubs for teens, and other inclusive programming.

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