Former President Barack Obama spoke out Monday towards the rising variety of guide bans in American colleges and libraries as “opposite to what has made this nation nice” and appeared in an Illinois public library’s TikTok video.
In a press release he shared on social media, Obama lauded “the devoted and hardworking librarians of America” for working “on the entrance strains” towards the book-ban motion regardless of assaults from these “who both can not or is not going to perceive the important — and uniquely American — position you play within the lifetime of our nation.”
Books enable readers, he mentioned, to “expertise the world,” “step into another person’s footwear” and “have interaction with totally different concepts and factors of view. Their entry can also be important to First Modification freedoms.”
“It’s no coincidence that these ‘banned books’ are sometimes written by or characteristic folks of coloration, indigenous folks, and members of the LGBTQ+ neighborhood — although there have additionally been unlucky situations wherein books by conservative authors or books containing ‘triggering’ phrases or scenes have been targets for removing,” Obama wrote. “Both method, the impulse appears to be to silence, slightly than have interaction, rebut, study from or search to grasp views that don’t match our personal.”
The previous president additionally appeared in a TikTok video shared by the Kankakee Public Library, situated southwest of Chicago, on Monday.
In it, folks learn books together with Alice Walker’s “The Colour Purple” and Angie Thomas’ “The Hate U Give” earlier than Obama seems, studying from his personal stack of books whereas he sips from a Kankakee Public Library espresso mug.
Obama additionally appeared in a TikTok video for Texas’ Harris County Public Library system, The Washington Put up reported. Texas has led the nation in guide ban requests in colleges, in line with a tally final yr by the free speech advocacy group PEN America.
Libraries throughout the nation have more and more skilled threats of violence and acts of intimidation amid the rising political efforts to censor their studying supplies.
The American Library Affiliation reported in March that the variety of calls for to censor books in libraries hit a file excessive of 1,269 calls for final yr. This was almost double the 729 challenges reported in 2021, the group mentioned.
The overwhelming majority of the focused books have been by or about members of the LGBTQIA+ neighborhood and other people of coloration, the ALA mentioned.
“Studying about folks whose lives have been very totally different from mine confirmed me tips on how to step into another person’s footwear. And the straightforward act of writing helped me develop my very own identification — all of which might show important as a citizen, as a neighborhood organizer, and as president,” Obama mentioned.