Letter to the Editor: We should not be denying people the right to access books

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Throughout history, attempts have been made to control ideas and people’s thoughts and exposures. Currently in our own community, some individuals are protesting the inclusion of books representing the LGBTQ+ population at the Petoskey District Library. There have even been requests to withdraw township funding for library services if these books are not removed from the shelves.

These challenges are not simply an expression of a point of view; on the contrary, they are an attempt to remove materials from public use, thereby restricting the access of others. They are efforts to diminish the humanity of other people. The argument that one group should be able to deny others access to a book, including other people’s children, is not protecting the children. It is banning a book. Censorship denies our freedom as individuals to choose and think for ourselves. We are all different: human diversity is a strength, not something to be censured or erased. For children, decisions about what books to read should be made by the people who know them best—their parents.

Banned Book Week this year is Sept. 18-24. Since its inception in 1982, Banned Books Week has reminded us that while not every book is intended for every reader, each of us has the right to decide for ourselves what to read, listen to or view. The League of Women Voters advocates for the prevention of censorship of historical facts and literature in schools and public libraries.

Books unite us. Books encourage boundless exploration and allow readers to consider new ideas and perspectives. Reading expands our worldview. Censorship of stories and ideas divides us from each other into our own cages. American libraries and the freedom to read are cornerstones of democracy. Libraries are for everyone, everywhere. Because libraries provide free access to a world of information, they bring opportunity to all people. Show support for your local library and take the time to thank them for all the services they provide. Celebrate the freedom to read at your library!

Robin JordanPresident League of Women Voters Northern Lower Michigan

This article originally appeared on Cheboygan Daily Tribune: Letter to the Editor: We should not be denying people the right to access books