Fayetteville Public Library Fights Back Against Huckabees Book Banning Law

December 12, 2023 by No Comments

In a recent letter sent out to FPL patrons, the Fayetteville Public Library is raising funds in order to try and challenge the controversial Act 372 which allows any book to be removed if it is challenged, as well as librarians to be prosecuted if they knowingly allow minors to check out these books.

Regardless of political opinion, other countries best known for banning books are Russia, North Korea, Iran, Saudia Arabia, and Egypt. Making many Arkansas citizens wonder whether they want their own country added to this list.

After all, there are no doubt some inappropriate books on the shelves of any library, but is it the job of the state to ban these and criminalize librarians?

Image // Reddit

The letter reads as follows:

Dear FPL. Patron and Friend,
I hope this letter finds you in good health and high spirits!
I wanted to take a moment and personally reach out and let you know about the significant challenges your Fayetteville Public Library has faced over the past year. As an active patron, your pursuit of knowledge and community involvement has reinforced the integral role that FPL plays in our region. Your patronage keeps our community vibrant and makes a difference in lives far beyond your own.
This year, FPL faced unique challenges that tested our ability to provide essential resources and maintain an inclusive space for learning and growth. Public support is instrumental in ensuring that our library remains a hub of knowledge and inspiration for all community members.

In March, Arkansas Act 372 was signed by the Governor. This act allows for any book in a public library to be banned or removed from public shelves if its appropriateness is challenged by anyone at all. It also allows for librarians to be criminally prosecuted if they knowingly check such a book out to a minor.
Your FPL is leading the fight against Act 372 by joining with other libraries and booksellers to challenge the law. While we achieved a temporary injunction in July, the fight is far from over, and we will soon be heading back to court.

As a public institution, it is imperative that FPL allows barrier-free access to our 341,000-item collection to the community. Your First Amendment rights have enshrined your privilege to express and consume information freely Censorship laws directly challenge these protections.
Banning books limits the range of ideas and stories available to the community, undermining the intellectual freedom that is constitutionally ours. Book bans are more likely to affect our minoritized patrons, making it that much more difficult for them to find themselves, learn about themselves, and find their community.

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