Mr. Beem’s opinion piece of October 05 highlighted a rather important topic, i.e., “…. how one town after another has attempted to ban books” dealing with gender identity/ LGBTQ+ issues. Their rationale resides in a two-fold premise: One – children should not be exposed to questionable books found on library shelves; and Two – what these books say is irrelevant – it’s that the topic does not belong in a library.
Apparently, towns/ parents initiating these bans have forgotten the time-honored function of all grade and high schools, colleges, and universities, i.e., expose students of all ages to the vast knowledge imparted to mankind by various academic disciplines. Knowledge is useful: how it is judged/employed can be problematic however. Knowledge is power: having the ability to ascertain truth and validity. Knowledge is also freedom: possessing it allows one to construct meaningful solutions to a myriad of problems, thus controlling one’s future. Therefore, all libraries must continue to house a wide variety of books which allow for self-discovery.
Life is not perfect, but having knowledge acquired from a wide and sometimes controversial slate of resources, allows one both to understand unusual circumstances better and to gain empathy and caring, as a means to deal with any circumstance.
Professor John M. Mishler