We're also very disheartened to learn that the original decision to keep Gender Queer on the shelf was overturned by the school board, especially given the backing of the library policies and the support they received. When this form of censorship occurs it is very easy to feel defeated. We couldn't agree more that it is critical now, and in the future, for the library community to have a united voice and stand firm in our core belief in the right to read and access information. Our contexts may vary depending on if we work in a school, public, academic, special, or state library, but the values our libraries hold have an increasingly important weight here in Maine and across the country.
Libraries are about connecting people with information and not putting up barriers. Our doors are open to everyone, regardless of background or beliefs. In the context of youth, we know how important it is that library collections allow young people to see their lived experiences reflected. The work of library staff to ensure our communities are provided with quality and inclusive materials representing a range of viewpoints is not always easy or straightforward, however, through our library organizations, there are a host of resources and support out there!
MSL staff want to reaffirm our earlier statement from Jamie Ritter, "The Right to Read and the Right to Freedom of Thought are innate values that define our commitment to ideas, thoughts, and the ability to learn. These timeless values are essential to a functioning democracy, and libraries have been long-standing champions of these fundamental values and rights. The Maine State Library will forever support the Freedom of Thought and the Right to Read."
The resources we gathered are still relevant but we will aim to keep this page up to date with additional resources and information https://www.maine.gov/msl/libs/admin/IntellectualFreedom.shtml<https://gcc02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.maine.gov%2Fmsl%2Flibs%2Fadmin%2FIntellectualFreedom.shtml&data=05%7C01%7CMarijke.A.Visser%40maine.gov%7Cb2be9dfd6ecc4efa784f08da7c80943e%7C413fa8ab207d4b629bcdea1a8f2f864e%7C0%7C0%7C637959188925790089%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C3000%7C%7C%7C&sdata=%2FM8hlvbPbrO7elkBVQ7npRmCx%2FbF5n%2FMfUg8IJHAmm0%3D&reserved=0>.
Marijke Visser (she/her)
Director, Library Development
Maine State Library