Idaho Librarians May Be In Danger of Receiving Jail Time
For over a century, there has been a heated debate all across the world:
Which books are acceptable for children and which aren’t?
I remember growing up, and hearing stories of great American classics, such as The Great Gatsby and The Catcher in the Rye being banned books, and it always seemed preposterous to me.
Why would people try to shield their children from books that opened my eyes to the wonders and worlds that can be discovered through reading?
I had images of townspeople from way back in the day standing around a dumpster, burning books in a great fire, chanting and cheering as if they’re the saviors of their youths’ souls.
Unfortunately, we’re not “way back in the day” and this is not a story of olden times, because these are still conversations that are occurring all across the United States today.
Just yesterday afternoon, the Idaho House of Representatives passed House Bill 666, with a vote of 51-14, and it will move to the Idaho Senate next.
If this bill passes and turns into a law, it would remove an exemption that protects schools, museums, libraries and their employees for “disseminating material that is harmful to minors.”
Fines and jail time could be issued to librarians, teachers and educators as a result of them passing along “harmful” material.
However, the vagueness of this bill has sparked a lot of controversy, outrage and fear.
Whose job is it to decide which books are appropriate and which are harmful?
How can that even be done in a subjective way?
This leaves these employees vulnerable and unprotected, and may lead to self-appointed censorship for fear of being prosecuted.
Why is this important now?
There has been a drastic increase recently in the effort to ban books, which is an aggressive push that we haven’t seen in decades, according to an article by The New York Times.
The list of books that are already banned is so vast and broad, but the most common themes seen are relating to race, gender, LGBTQ+ identity and sex.
Parents, activists and lawmakers are insisting that using censorship is the safest way to protect the innocence of children and what they’re exposed to, but it is a movement that has turned extremely politicized.
All of this simply leaves me to wonder: when is it ever going to be enough?
Are we supposed to just throw every single book in a fire, lest we accidentally spark a creative or socially unacceptable thought in any young child’s mind?
If you're curious which books are banned...
If you'd like to peruse a list of books that are currently banned, here's a link that details up to 50 books and why they're under so much heat.
If you're interested in reading them, you might want to hurry before it's too late.