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Banning books and defunding libraries is unAmerican - Dr. Bob Lorinser

Librarians are protecting our freedom of speech and freedom of the press. If you agree that reading freely is fundamental to the education of citizens in a healthy democracy, I need your help getting to Congress.

Will you contribute to my campaign so I can help our federal government value education and ensure the protection of America's 1st Amendment Rights?

Help me preserve library funding and protect librarians. Donate now.

Growing up, my favorite book, 'The Giving Tree' by Shel Silverstein (1964), taught me fundamental lessons about the importance of reciprocity and man's sometimes-destructive relationship with nature. Today, just seeing the iconic green illustrated cover is nostalgic.

In 1988, as we introduced our children to stories of selflessness, giving, rights of passage, and helping those in need, a library in Colorado banned the book because someone interpreted Silverstein's ambiguous theme sexually.

Silverstein did not believe in cookie-cutter, happily-ever-after stories. We allowed our children's curiosity and imagination to help them interpret the world. It's why literature, even if embedded in themes of darkness or controversy, is fundamental to the American education process.

Banning books is unAmerican.

More than ever, today, legislatures are enacting draconian laws to take books off shelves and defund libraries. Recently, Missouri House Republicans voted to defund all of the state's public libraries.

Federally, for four years from 2016 - '21, Republicans proposed a budget that permanently eliminated the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and virtually all federal funding for libraries.

Just like in 1988, when Silverstein's book was banned, negative interpretations of children's literature have led to citizen initiatives that ultimately resulted in the rejection of funding millages for local Michigan libraries, cutting librarian jobs and devaluing education.

Imagination and curiosity of young minds need to be encouraged, nurtured, and fed, not prohibited. Public libraries and librarians protect our freedom of speech, the freedom of the press, and our fundamental First Amendment rights. We must demand our leaders do the same.

More than 1,600 books were banned from American schools in 2022, impacting 4 million students' exposure to ideas that could help them grow and learn.

Student readers are losing access to critical information, and through defunding, legislators are attacking librarians and teachers for doing their jobs. Reading freely is fundamental to the education of citizens in a healthy democracy.

I didn't appreciate libraries enough growing up. We took it for granted, but books were fundamental to my and my children's education. Like 'The Giving Tree,' books exploring and illuminating differing viewpoints help build connections among people by deepening their understanding of the world.

Those who censor books because of different literary interpretations create barriers and feed the divisiveness that threatens to damage this country.

Help me advocate for and protect the First Amendment. Donate now.


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