It’s never good news when Republicans take an interest in libraries (or anything?). According to a report from Truthout, right-wing groups across the country are organizing both to cut library funds and to remove books that acknowledge the existence of, among other things, racism and queer people.
Though this is utterly unsurprising (critical race theory panic is the Free Space on everyone’s 2021 bingo card), it’s alarming to read about the lengths to which Republicans are going to enact their anti-thought agenda on libraries. A recent election shifted the balance of power on Illinois’ Niles-Maine Public Library’s board in favor of conservatives—one of whom answered a community member’s question about how the library could better serve the area’s diverse community by saying that carrying fewer books in non-English languages would help people “assimilate.”
In addition to their anger at other languages, generally, Republican opposition to Drag Queen Story Hour, children’s books about LGBTQ parents, and antiracism literature is apparently driving more of them to seek seats on library boards.
According to the website of Rachelle Ottosen, a recently elected conservative library board member in Kootenai, Idaho, public libraries don’t need to be “an extension of scriptural knowledge only, but they sure shouldn’t be forcing taxpayer funding of Satanic agendas that lead to the destruction of our nation.”
Come on, Rachelle—everyone knows that Satanic agendas are the only ones worth reading about! This seems like a good, albeit extremely depressing, reminder to vote in those small local elections.