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Oh The Places You’ll Go: From Librarian to Author

By Amanda Jones

If you had told me that speaking up for intellectual freedom in July of 2022 at my community’s public library would propel me down a path to signing galleys of my own book in April of 2024, I would have looked at you sideways, yet here I am. My book, That Librarian: The Fight Against Book Banning in America, will be released in August and I still cannot wrap my head around the fact that I wrote a book. What led me to this path from librarian to author? I have become one of the many librarians across the United States who speak out against censorship.

Being targeted and harassed for your love of libraries is bizarre and can be heart-wrenching, but the obstacles in our lives do not determine who we are as people. Our reactions do. Hundreds of librarians wake up every single day, determined to protect libraries no matter the cost, to serve our students and patrons with empathy, and to make sure that everyone in our communities see themselves in the books on the shelves. For that, we are sometimes called names and maligned.

I could have locked myself away into my room, but I will not allow the haters to dictate my life. How we react to these attacks is key. I have nothing for which to feel shame. Instead, I’m holding my head up high with integrity and fighting back. That fight has taken many forms from helping grassroots citizens alliances, speaking at legislative sessions, continuing to speak out in my community, and now authoring a book about my experience. We cannot stoop to their level of name-calling. As Michelle Obama once famously said, “When they go low, we go high.” I hope I’ve walked the high road in my book and it is a road I proudly walk with all of you. I hope you enjoy my journey in That Librarian. Keep up the good fight.

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