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LIBRARIES: Rights apply to all

| December 31, 2021 1:00 AM

In response to Ms. Ottosen’s letter, “LIBRARIES: It’s about agendas.”

It is about an agenda. The same agenda that generations of librarians have worked so hard to uphold, the protection of First Amendment rights from being trampled by those who would silence marginalized voices, dissenting opinions, and unpopular ideas; the protection of the freedom to read for all, regardless of age; and the assurance that all members of a community are represented in their public library.

Ms. Ottosen’s stance runs counter to that mission. Contrary to Ms. Ottosen’s opinion, there is nothing in the Community Library Network’s children’s collection that sexualizes LGBTQ+ people. There are items in that collection that represent LGBTQ+ people. There’s a difference between representation and sexualization.

Lies by omission are still lies; censorship through segregation is still censorship.

Ms. Ottosen missed some things in the “Public Library Trustee Ethics Statement” which was adopted by the Idaho Commission for Libraries. First, trustees “shall not” be swayed by partisan interests. Second, “Trustees shall not engage in discrimination.” Third, and perhaps most important, “Trustees shall support the efforts of librarians in resisting censorship of library materials by groups or individuals.”

Our community shouldn’t be held hostage by Ms. Ottosen and her supporters just because she didn’t understand the job description.

Ms. Ottosen is encouraging censorship to infiltrate the institutions librarians are charged with stewarding. It is our duty, as librarians, to stand against that effort.

NATHAN A. HANSEN

Author of “Unintentional Librarian”

Community Library Network employee

Post Falls