At their September meeting, the Board of Trustees of the Westfield Memorial Library unanimously voted to adopt a resolution recognizing that the freedom to read is a critical underpinning of our democracy, and individuals should be trusted to make their own decisions about what they read and believe.
This resolution came to the Board of Trustees in response to a recent alarming trend in attempted book bans and the censorship of intellectual freedom throughout the United States.
The role of the public library is to collect and make available a wide variety of information resources representing the range of human thought and experience. Library workers have a professional and ethical responsibility to be fair and just in defending the library user’s right to read, view, or listen to content protected by the First Amendment, regardless of the creator’s viewpoint or personal history.
This is supported by the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, which stipulates that “materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.”
The Library Bill of Rights was first drafted in 1938 in response to the “growing intolerance, suppression of free speech and censorship affecting the rights of minorities and individuals.”
“Everyone should have the right to see themselves reflected in books, regardless of their backgrounds, ideas, or beliefs,” says Allen McGinley, Library Director. “And broadly reading diverse stories helps to bring our community together by increasing our empathy and understanding of differing perspectives and experiences.”
Click here to read the full text of the Westfield Memorial Library Board of Trustees resolution against book bans.