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Librarians fear new penalties, even prison, as activists challenge books

AP: “…Across the country, book challenges and bans have soared to the highest levels in decades. Public and school-based libraries have been inundated with complaints from community members and conservative organizations such as as Moms for Liberty. Increasingly, lawmakers are considering new punishments — crippling lawsuits, hefty fines, and even imprisonment — for distributing books some regard as inappropriate…The trend comes as officials seek to define terms such as “obscene” and “harmful.” Many of the conflicts involve materials featuring racial and/or LGBTQ+ themes, such as Toni Morrison’s novel, “The Bluest Eye,” and Maia Kobabe’s memoir, “Gender Queer.” And while no librarian or educator has been jailed, the threat alone has led to more self-censorship.Already this year, lawmakers in more than 15 states have introduced bills to impose harsh penalties on libraries or librarians. Utah enacted legislation in March that empowers the state’s Attorney General to enforce a new system of challenging and removing “sensitive” books from school settings. The law also creates a panel to monitor compliance and violations…

Some Republicans are seeking penalties and restrictions that would apply nationwide. Referring to “pornography” in the foreword to [Note – Sabrina added this link] Project 2025, the Heritage Foundation’s blueprint for a possible second Donald Trump administration, the right-wing group’s president, Kevin Roberts, wrote that the “people who produce and distribute it should be imprisoned. Educators and public librarians who purvey it should be classed as registered sex offenders.”

See also American Library Association (ALA) Releases The State of America’s Libraries 2024

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