In the battle to privatize Tennessee’s public schools, school librarians have become “collateral damage.” The attacks have become so great that those oft-quiet librarians are standing up and taking notice.
In fact, one Tennessee librarian took to the pages of American Libraries to explain the plight of librarians as it relates to the current “culture war” being won by proponents of evangelical exceptionalism at the Tennessee General Assembly.
Here’s some of what Nashville’s Lindsey Kimery has to say about the attack on the librarians inside our public schools:
We can’t help but see school libraries and school librarians as collateral damage in the wake of midterm elections and extremism against public education. Being a school librarian is an honorable profession, but some have attempted to align it with criminality. We know we are trained professionals, and we work tirelessly to tailor our collections to our students’ needs and the needs of our school communities.
The chilling effect of this legislation will linger as we watch and wait for what’s next; though the bill is dead for the rest of the year, it could resurrect in some form next year. School librarians and administrators may feel pressure to think twice about purchasing materials for our LGBTQIA+ students and for students of the global majority who are minorities in their own communities. Their narratives have been especially targeted by supporters of this legislation. School librarians are concerned about the level of support they will receive from their school district should they face a book challenge. In January, the graphic novel Maus was removed from the curriculum by the McMinn County School Board, and Newbery winner Walk Two Moons was removed from the curriculum in Williamson County. What will be the first book to be removed at the state level?Read MORE>
What will be the first book to be removed at the state level? That is, indeed, a fair question.
Indeed, another fair question: Will the relentless attacks on our public schools by the like of Gov. Bill Lee and his acolytes pave a clear path to a fully funded school voucher scheme?
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