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September 26, 2023

ICYMI: Campaign for Our Shared Future Blog Features Librarian's Journey From Educator to Advocate Ahead of Banned Book Month

Washington, D.C. - Today, Carolyn Foote a Texas Librarian and Co-founder of the FReadom Fighters was featured on the Campaign for Our Shared Future (COSF) blog “The Unbiased Classroom.” Through her personal experiences, Foote emphasizes the dangers that book bans pose to our children’s education and how librarians, families, and advocates can fight back against the increase in censorship across the country. 

Last week, two new reports provided new data that proves the freedom to read is still under assault with over 3,000 instances of book bans in US public classrooms last school year. In the last two years, many districts have received hundreds of book challenges with a recent report citing that 92% of book challenges target more than one title.  Foote issues a call to action saying “only when the majority of Americans who oppose book bans engage in this fight will it come to an end.”

Read an excerpt from: How my library job turned into a fight for freedom

The best job in the school, I used to say. As a school librarian, I spent 29 years on high school campuses, supported by and collaborating with families to help our students be successful, whether it was helping them find resources for a paper or helping them find books they loved. Fast forward to 2023, now librarians like myself find themselves at the center of politically motivated controversies, harassment, and unprecedented censorship attempts. But all of the disruption shifts our focus from what really matters - getting our students and their families excited about reading.

I worry for all students whose learning is at the center of this whirlwind. When we ban books we signal certain ideas and identities aren’t welcome in our classroom. By extension we are telling our students that if they see themselves reflected in those texts, they aren’t welcome in our schools. Our students’ right to a high-quality age-relevant education is under threat by extremists who fail to treat them with respect. 

For many Americans, busy with their everyday lives, there’s a lack of awareness of the widespread nature of book bans and the impacts on students, librarians and teachers. That’s why campaigns like Let America Read and Unite Against Book Bans which highlight the challenges are important. And despite the appearance created by legislative actions and political rhetoric, a large majority of Americans oppose book bans; this holds across party lines.  

So what can you do to get involved during Banned Book Week, a traditional observance of the freedom to read in October? Take time to thank a librarian or school board member for defending student access to age relevant content. Engage on social media with those fighting against book bans like @oif, @campaignfuture, @everylibrary, @letamericaread, and @freadomfighters. Speak up at a school board meeting for an inclusive curriculum and contact organizations like Campaign for Our Shared Future for help.  Research your local school board candidates. Check your voter registration status using Let America Read’s “I am a Voter'' campaign by texting READ to 26797. Only when the majority of Americans who oppose book bans engage in this fight will it come to an end. We need your voices and more importantly, so do our students.

You can read the full post here.


The Campaign for Our Shared Future (COSF) is a non-partisan effort to support high-quality K-12 education and preserve access, inclusion, and meaningful content in our schools so that every student has an opportunity to succeed and thrive. COSF is a common ground effort committed to fighting the attack on education across the country.

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