Patriotism, Freedom of Inquiry, and the Texas Library System

In the Trumpian era, I think there is a good argument to be made for viewing the act of going to a library as one of healthy and patriotic subversion. Libraries are not just symbols of education, free speech, and truth, they are actual physical repositories of these things. They are the keepers of our public, and often private, histories, first points of contact to government agencies and documents, and safe havens for thinkers of all kinds. Texas is not where I thought I would find this point most publicly, and fervently, underscored.
The Texas Library Association has an entire portal dedicated to Intellectual freedom, based on the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, a document that until today, I had no idea existed. But it does, and that comforts me. The Texas Library Association website summarizes the concept this way:
“Freedom of choice in selecting materials is a necessary safeguard to the freedom to read, and shall be protected against extra-legal, irresponsible attempts by self-appointed censors to abridge it. The Association believes that citizens shall have the right of free inquiry and the equally important right of forming their own opinions, and that it is of the utmost importance to the continued existence of democracy that freedom of the press in all forms of public communication be defended and preserved.”
They then go on to provide links to first, and interestingly, the United States Patriot Act, as well as banned books, the Intellectual Freedom Handbook, and the American Library Association.
The Bill of Rights is for everyone. So are libraries. And it may just be that saving one saves the other.
***It’s Library Week on Girl Gone Wild in celebration and solidarity with Jeff Geiger’s amazing cross-country, interactive road trip celebrating the release of his new YA book, Wildman. He’s on the road, trying to get his way to the Big Apple, powered entirely by an ancient Buick and the miles he racks up with donations to the American Library Association.
To Follow Jeff, buy a copy of Wildman, or donate to the American Library Association:

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