Hello all,

I want to thank everyone, particularly MASL and MLA for their support
during this book challenge and ultimately, book ban. While it has been an
emotionally difficult time, I have felt incredible support from our state
library community. When I reached out for help, I heard back almost
immediately. Opposition to the book by some individuals online was intense,
and at time included accusations of grooming and pedophilia that made it
difficult for individuals who worked at the school (including myself) to
publicly respond. MASL and MLA's letters helped immensely, despite the
ultimate outcome.

While I hope that with the removal of the book that this marks the end of
the challenges, after a particularly charged board meeting that included a
lot of anti-trans and LGBT rhetoric from the community, I suspect that this
may only be the beginning (though, nothing has happened yet). It is a
comfort to me to know that the Maine library community is there for each
other during this time.

Thank you again,

On Thu, Aug 11, 2022 at 12:02 PM Heather Perkinson <
[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Hello everyone,
> I think I speak for the membership of MASL when I say that we are extremely
> disheartened by this news, especially as it comes while we prepare for the
> new school year. We are all worried about what this year holds for school
> libraries especially. Thank you, Samantha, for your thoughts and kind
> words, and for shifting the focus to the strengths we can find in each
> other. I think what is most frustrating for school librarians in this
> instance is that they followed their review process, as it is outlined in
> their good policy, voted to keep the book, and then a vocal minority
> overturned it. We think it is important for the voices of librarians and
> other supporters of intellectual freedom to be louder and heard more
> widely, and we'd like to work with MLA and other interested groups (for
> example, the English Language Arts teachers are very concerned as well) on
> some sort of campaign to amplify our voices.
> Please also note that MASL is here to support you in these battles and read
> this letter
> <
> https://docs.google.com/document/d/1flQXYMQIll66vE0M94BsPFynvB6dtqt9Jwipwrbn8Vs/edit?usp=sharing
> >
> that MASL sent to the members of the RSU 56 school board and Dirigo HS
> administrators in advance of the deciding board meeting on the 9th.
> Thank you for being in this fight with us!
> Heather Perkinson, MASL President
> On Wed, Aug 10, 2022 at 9:12 PM Samantha Duckworth <
> [log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > Undoubtedly many of you have read the news about RSU 56<
> >
> https://www.pressherald.com/2022/08/10/dixfield-based-school-board-bans-gender-book-from-dirigo-library/
> >
> > and the censorship of Maia Kobabe's Gender Queer. This is the SIXTH book
> > challenge in Maine so far this year! There were six challenges in 2021,
> > which is more than the total book challenges from 2017-2020 combined.
> > That's huge! For four years the total book bans in Maine = 5, then the
> past
> > two years have more than doubled that! I'm not a statistics expert but
> > something seems to be shifting.
> > Please know the MLA Intellectual Freedom Committee sent a letter of
> > support<
> >
> https://drive.google.com/file/d/1N8JHYeQ8u87B8zbWW6Mb1rnrnBLz-Oqh/view?usp=sharing
> >
> > to the RSU school board to avoid censorship. This is after the book had
> > been challenged earlier this year, upheld by a special committee, and now
> > ultimately removed after the decision was appealed. RSU 56 had clear and
> > well-crafted policies to avoid this situation. And yet here we are.
> > MLA and the IF committee is here for anyone facing book challenges and
> > attempts at censorship. We're working with MASL and other organizations
> to
> > help defend first amendment rights. If you have ideas of ways we can
> equip
> > you with confidence and tools as  another school year approaches, please
> > send to me. We will be sharing some interesting training ideas soon.
> > A mote of light for me is that we have each other, fellow librarians, to
> > stand up to serve as defenders of information and access. Wynter
> encouraged
> > us to be empathetic to the people making these final decisions, and I
> > agree. Let's remind ourselves to remain dispassionate and even-keeled in
> > face of these very heated controversies. And roll up our sleeves for some
> > proactive work ahead!
> > Keep up the good work!
> > Best regards,
> > Samantha
> >
> >
> > Samantha Duckworth LIBRARIAN
> >
> > Verrill Dana LLP
> >
> > One Portland Square
> >
> > Portland, ME 04101-4054
> >
> > T
> >
> > 207-253-4788
> >
> > C
> >
> > (207) 318-2789
> >
> >
> > [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
> >
> > Pronouns: She, Her, Hers
> >
> > This email and any attachment was sent from the law firm Verrill Dana,
> > LLP.  It may contain information that is privileged and confidential.  If
> > you suspect that you were not intended to receive it, please delete it
> and
> > notify us as soon as possible.  Thank you.
> >

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