LOSD responds to book banning movement

Gracie Cox, Editor-in-Chief

As the book banning epidemic spreads across the nation, all eyes are on LOSD to see if it will continue into our libraries.

Miranda Doyle, Lake Oswego’s district librarian, ensures that LO students have little to worry about the issue in our community. As the Intellectual Freedom Advocate for the Oregon Association of School Libraries and a member of the Oregon Intellectual Freedom Committee, Doyle, along with the district as a whole, takes a firm stance against book bans.

LOSD has strong policies and a process to follow in case someone wants a book removed from a library or curriculum. We never remove books because someone disagrees with their content – there is a review process,” she said.

There are larger problems with literature removal than its contested morality; there are constitutional implications. Doyle stated, “Students have First Amendment rights and removing library books because of objections, without going through the reconsideration process, is censorship. As a librarian, I’m very much opposed to censorship.”

Neighboring school districts have faced significant objections from parents in regards to library content. For example, the West Linn-Wilsonville School District had eight books challenged this year by a group of parents. In contrast to this uproar, LOSD has only experienced one legitimate challenge; this being “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie over 12 years ago. The complaint was dropped before it reached the school board.

When community members do have concerns about book content, which happens several times a year, library staff meets with them to address their worries and answer questions. “We are usually able to reassure them by explaining that no student is required to check out any library book – they can always select a different book that is right for their family,” said Doyle.

Compared to other libraries, LOSD’s are forthright in displaying books about non-white and LGBTQIA+ experiences along with other “controversial matters.” The library highlights these stories to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to see themselves in the literature most accessible to them. This is not guaranteed in the schools where such books are removed from library shelves.

With a final word of optimism, Doyle shared, “Being inclusive and having diverse books is one of the core values of our libraries.” In a time when the district as a whole is subjected to immense criticism, let’s be grateful for the branch that guarantees LO’s intellectual freedom.