Why libraries are important to an open society
Two buildings remain important landmarks in my earliest childhood memories:…
Like Cheryl Mann Bacon, I am a Christian, a parent and a librarian, in that order (“Why libraries are important to an open society”).
I am also a journalist and an educator. From an early age I was an avid reader. I, too, loved history, biography and stories about faraway places. I earned a master’s degree in library science in the 1990s when free access to reading material to adults was sacrosanct and children were protected.
That was then; this is now.
In a few short years, public, tax-supported libraries have become stages for drag queens who conduct “story hours” for young children, inviting them into their world through titles like “My Shadow Is Pink,” “Heather Has Two Mommies,” “The Hips on the Drag Queen Go Swish, Swish, Swish” and “Pink Is for Boys.”
Far from being fearful, parents are becoming aware. They are putting on the full armor of God and standing against powers and principalities in realms of darkness. Many who were “canceled” are gaining seats on library and school boards. Groups like MassResistance are taking “story hours” to court.
“‘Open,’ age-appropriate books lead to healthy minds. Pornographic indoctrination leads to death.”
I was a vigilant mother. I knew where my child was at all times and with whom. I monitored what he watched on TV, the music he listened to and the books he read. I solicited trusted Christian adults to encourage him in these areas. The strategy seems to have worked. He and his wife are delightful parents raising a happy, well-adjusted child. That makes me happy.
“Open,” age-appropriate books lead to healthy minds. Pornographic indoctrination leads to death.
— ANITA HASSEY | Fort Myers, Fla.
Really enjoyed reading this article by Dr. Bacon. I love libraries.
Everywhere I work, my office is either housed within the library or close by. One of my librarian friends calls me an “honorary librarian.”
And indeed, banning books is a very bad idea. As the article says, the freedom you gave to the government to ban books will also allow them to ban the Bible. I know exactly where and how that has already happened.
It seems that there are some other worthy battles to fight. Why pick on librarians, libraries and books?
— BERLIN FANG | Dallas
Your article about the importance of libraries was superb! Your comments about “fear closing minds” and “embarrassment that Christians, of all people (are) leading the charge, calling for books to be banned,” etc., were spot on.
Frankly, I have been embarrassed more and more often by the things “Christians” seem to be saying and taking part in!
— MARK WILSON | Helena, Mont.
I think there is a distinction to be made here: First, Christians I know who object to library materials are objecting to either (1) the location of certain books in the library or 2) material normalizing certain “progressive” mores written to youthful audiences (shelved anywhere). Nobody I know, Christian or otherwise, is trying to get the federal government to prohibit the private publication, or private purchase, of any book, which I would argue is the actual definition of “censoring books.”
Having said that, I think the first objection (location in library) can be analogized to the rule of certain adult programming on TV coming after 8 p.m. Most people can reasonably understand that adult dramas with their attendant “mature” labels should not be broadcast at dinnertime.
“As long as you solicit donations and use taxes to fund libaries, you will have to expect arguments about what constitutes ‘decent’ vs. ‘indecent’ material.”
The second objection I would say arises from libraries being publicly funded.
If you want to open your own private library, then you can shelve what you want where you want to. But as long as you solicit donations and use taxes to fund libaries, you will have to expect arguments about what constitutes “decent” vs. “indecent” material. Seems to me that publicly funded libraries are right to skew conservative if they wish to keep being publicly funded.
By the way, this is the same argument to me as Confederate War statues: The problem is not should we or shouldn’t we honor Confederate heroes. The problem is that they’re on public lands. If John wants to honor a Confederate hero, or if he wants to honor a Union soldier, he’d best do it with his own money on his own land, else he’ll have to deal with public sentiment.
— B. COLE BENNETT | Abilene, Texas
“There are no subjects on this earth, or in outer space, or in the metaphysical realm, which we cannot study on the campus of a Christian institution of higher learning,” said former Abilene Christian University President John Stevens.
I’m profoundly grateful to my friend Cheryl Mann Bacon for writing this editorial for The Christian Chronicle, and I cannot add my endorsement strongly enough.
It’s been a challenging year to be a librarian. I never knew John Stevens, but I am honored that my office sits in a library wing named for him.
— JAMES WISER | Abilene, Texas
Have you seen the books that “Christians (are) attacking libraries and librarians” over?
I feel like if you saw the pornographic children’s books you would understand and get behind these “Christians attacking libraries and librarians.”
— CARRIE ISAACS | Dripping Springs, Texas
Thank you for this strong defense of libraries. Christians in my town are leading the crusade against librarians and libraries.
“There are dozens and dozens of books at my local library that I wish were not at my local library. … But I don’t get to choose. Nobody should get to choose.”
I, too, love libraries. I visit my library at least a couple times a week. It’s the right place for comfort and, yes, for discomfort.
There are dozens and dozens of books at my local library that I wish were not at my local library — books that I believe preach dangerous right-wing political propaganda/trash/nonsense. But I don’t get to choose. Nobody should get to choose.
— DAVID RAMSEY | Colorado Springs, Colo.
Subscribe today to receive more inspiring articles like this one delivered straight to your inbox twice a month.
Your donation helps us not only keep our quality of journalism high, but helps us continue to reach more people in the Churches of Christ community.