Freedom to Read Georgia- Why Now?
Pennsylvania, Texas, Wyoming, Colorado, Virginia. Indiana, Tennessee, and – sadly - Georgia!
Over the past eighteen months, GLMA has worked with several other organizations to address bills in our legislature which pose serious threats to our students’ equitable access to materials. Two bills are poised to move when Session reconvenes in January. We need librarians across Georgia, and allies, to encourage students to join our efforts in the Freedom to Read Georgia campaign.
In October, Georgia students are encouraged to share their thoughts and feelings about reading and the impact reading restrictions demanded by families other than their own could have on them. Freedom to Read Georgia essay and video contests offer individual and group project options and will be rated rather than ranked to offer more students the opportunity to have their voices heard. Results will be shared with students’ schools and local public libraries.
Resources on the Freedom to Read Georgia website include promotional videos and artwork intellectual freedom source materials, and relevant recent news on book challenges to inspire and support students as well as flyers, graphics, and bookmarks for local promotions. Authors have also offered free virtual visits to be awarded to schools with high participation.
As students’ stories are shared in local communities, their voices will show the importance of not limiting access. We NEED to have these voices ring across Georgia!
“Parents and teachers have a responsibility to prepare the young to meet the diversity of experiences in life to which they will be exposed … not to be discharged simply by preventing them from reading works for which they are not yet prepared … values differ, and values cannot be legislated; nor can machinery be devised that will suit the demands of one group without limiting the freedom of others.” (ALA/AAP Freedom to Read Statement, 1953 – 2004.)
Call to Action!
Librarians, teachers, and allies, please share within your local communities the ways parents/guardians can manage their own child(ren)’s reading options. Proponents of SB 226 and HB 516 are stridently sharing misinformation on current practices and access which we need to dispel with our published district policies and assurances that these are working.
Groups supporting the restriction of resources for all children, not just their own, are organizing “gatekeeper” trainings and offering