Opinion | To Fight Book Banning, Support Librarians

To the Editor:

Re “As Parents Call to Ban Books, Librarians Are Cast as Criminals” (front page, July 7):

As a retired school librarian, I am appalled at the growing right-wing movement to ban and burn books. While this is not the first anti-intellectual, anti-diversity book banning movement in American history, it is the most vicious and vociferous in my career of 30 years.

No one has the right to force one’s values ​​on others. Librarians are trained to evaluate books according to high standards of literary merit and to know who in their community would be served by them.

There are procedures in place for those who disagree with a librarian’s choices. Running roughshod over these procedures is both thoughtless and anti-democratic.

All fair-minded, thinking people must support their local school and public librarians now, not only when they come under attack at a heated school board meeting.

How do you do this? Make sure you know the name of your librarians. Talk to them when you go to the library. Tell them you want to show support for all they bring to our communities. Ask your local elected officials about their position on censorship. Write a letter of support to your local library board and send a copy to your local paper.

Take action to support democracy and freedom of expression — our First Amendment right.

Marilyn Elie
Cortlandt Manor, NY

To the Editor:

I have just finished rereading Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451,” published in 1953, and found myself frightened.

Vigilantes are getting the upper hand on books that they think are polluting the minds of young children. The curious child wants to know about all sorts of things that a parent does not always discuss. It is often books that expand our knowledge and enable critical thinking. Schools and public libraries allow us to obtain that knowledge at no fee.

These vigilantes probably haven’t read many of the books they criticize. They are afraid of what they do not know, yet they believe they have a right to dictate and control. If these negators gain power, their thrust will include more than books.

Readers, arise! Become advocates of libraries and librarians! Only through your efforts can a diverse range of library content be available to all.

Miriam Kagan Margoshes
Hastings-on-Hudson, NY
The writer is a retired librarian.

To the Editor:

Re “Trump Intended to Send His Mob to Disrupt Count” (front page, July 13) and “Trump Wrecked Lives on Jan. 6. I Should Know,” by Aquilino Gonell (Opinion guest essay, July 11):

It was indeed a poignant moment after Tuesday’s Jan. 6 hearing when one of the rioters, Stephen Ayres, apologized to Mr. Gonell, who was so badly injured on Jan. 6 that he can never work again as a Capitol Police officer.

Both men have one thing in common. They lost their jobs because Donald Trump couldn’t handle losing his.

Vin Morabito
Scranton, Pa.

To the Editor:

Liz Cheney offered an obvious reminder in Tuesday’s hearing: Donald Trump is a 76-year-old man who should know right from wrong. He is not a child. You’re right, Ms. Cheney. He just acts like one.

John Gilmore
Santee, Calif.

To the Editor:

Re “Is a GOP-Supreme Court Showdown Coming?,” by Noah Millman (Opinion guest essay, Sunday Review, July 10):

Mr. Millman is quite right that there are two trends in the Supreme Court’s recent jurisprudence on the administrative agencies: One would put them under stricter presidential, that is political, control; the other often tends to incapacitate them altogether.

The donor money would favor the first result, the self-designated constitutional fundamentalists the second. I would bet on the big money every time. More constitutional vandalism.

Charles Fried
North Hero, Vt.
The writer is a professor at Harvard Law School.

To the Editor:

My youngest daughter is deciding where to go to college. Immediately after the Dobbs ruling, she crossed all colleges in anti-choice states off her list. We will not continue to live in Texas after she graduates.

To all corporations moving to Texas, I say, watch out. Top talent will not want to work in this state. Once young families realize how challenging reproductive privacy will be in Texas (there’s a bounty for outing women wanting to terminate their pregnancy), they will demand to be relocated.

It’s crazy that, in 2022, women have to notify their human resources department for funds to travel to terminate their pregnancy. Why must they negotiate a maze of appointments, airfares, hotels, corporate policy and state laws to control the autonomy of their bodies? I ask all CEOs, how exactly do you think women will feel going through a ritual no man will ever need?

Once again, we are second-class citizens, while men reign supreme. I say to all citizens of this country, do not live in states that do not support a woman’s autonomy over her body, her life. Do not pay taxes or support any endeavor in these states. We must boycott every anti-choice state and show them how wrong they are!

To the Editor:

Re “California’s Fight Against Homelessness Has Turned Desperate and Dangerous,” by Jay Caspian Kang (Opinion, July 1):

As a psychiatrist who has had extensive experience working with issues related to homelessness, I agree that out of political desperation to do something about people living on our streets, we may do more harm than good by implementing the plan for Community Assistance, Recovery and Empowerment , or CARE, courts in California, which could involuntarily control homeless people.

In the 1970s, I was the chief psychiatrist for Napa County Community Mental Health service, in Napa, Calif., during the time that Napa State Hospital was being downsized and patients were being discharged to live in the communities.

Half of the patients were in the state hospital voluntarily, and we lost a needed facility for those people who could live in that supportive setting. On the other hand, there were real benefits in ending the long-term involuntary commitments there and around the country. Not only did they deny civil liberties, but they also stigmatized mental health services and degraded psychiatric treatment.

We do need an increase in psychiatric beds now, so we can take care of more of those who need acute psychiatric care. We also need to expand staffing for county conservator offices, which can evaluate people who are so severely mentally disturbed that they need a conservator appointed to manage their care and finances, according to the existing laws. And we especially need to expand lower cost housing, and with some supportive services, to get homeless people off the streets.

Stephen A. Fisher
Berkeley, Calif.

To the Editor:

It is time to stop demonstrating in Washington. It is time to stop expecting the federal government to make a positive difference in Americans’ lives.

The Supreme Court has shown by its recent decisions that it is in Washington to dismantle any semblance of federal government and to leave decisions to the states.

If the polls are correct and the majority of Americans do not agree with the Supreme Court’s decisions, they need to take the battle back to their state and local governments.

If people want to see change, they need to start at home. They need to vote in every election, no matter how small, no matter how local, because that is where the decisions are going to be made.

Republicans believe in limited government, and that is what they delivered. Now with the Supreme Court that they have installed, we are reaping the results.

Claudia Sumler
Baltimore

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