Thanks to the efforts of Nambe Pueblo member Debbie Reese, the American Library Association (ALA) has weighed in on the situation in Tucson by passing a resolution saying it opposes the banning of books and ethnic studies.
“The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is continuously under attack,” reads the resolution. It also states that ALA supports “equal access to information for all persons and recognizes the ongoing need to increase awareness of and responsiveness to the diversity of the communities we serve.”
At the end of the resolution, ALA makes three points, saying it condemns the “suppression of open inquiry and free expression caused by closure of ethnic and cultural studies programs,” it condemns the “restriction of access to education materials related to ethnic and cultural studies,” and it urges the Arizona legislature to pass HB 2654, “An Act Repealing Sections 15-111 and 15-112, Arizona Revised Statutes; Relating to School Curriculum.”
The ALA also points to the American Indians in Children’s Literature blog written by Reese, who is a founding member of the Native American House and American Indian Studies program at the University of Illinois.
To read the full resolution passed by ALA visit The Office for Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association website.
To view the ALA’s list of challenged and banned books visit ALA.org/advocacy. The first book listed for 2010-2011 is The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, an author who was also included in the Tucson book ban. ALA encourages people to “celebrate your freedom to read” by reading a challenged or banned book.