Delaware Valley’s Sen. Amanda Cappelletti (D-Montgomery/Delaware) has proposed a bill to ban “book bans” in Pennsylvania libraries.
“The American Library Association documented the highest number of attempted book bans last year since it began compiling data more than 20 years ago. Pennsylvania ranks among the worst states in book-banning efforts, where there were 56 attempts to ban 302 unique titles,” Cappelletti said in a statement. “Of those titles, the vast majority were written by or about members of the LGBTQIA+ community or by and about Black, Indigenous, and people of color.”
“As libraries and librarians nationwide face unprecedented censorship of books and resources, Illinois recently became the first state to prevent publicly-funded institutions from banning books and other materials. Pennsylvania should follow closely behind.”
But many parents say Cappelletti has it wrong. They say books such as “Gender Queer” or “Push” contain pornographic images, and curating what books to keep on the shelves is a basic task of a library. Plus, the books are just a click away for purchase online.
Radnor dad, Mike Lake, said, “The senator has a law degree and is no dummy. She knows the definition of child porn and the Pennsylvania and federal laws defining the penalties. It’s disappointing, but not surprising, how she uses the books banned by her own progressive colleagues (“To Kill a Mockingbird,” “The Diary of a Young Girl” about Anne Frank) as justification for allowing minors to continuous access to taxpayer-funded child pornography. I feel like I am watching the fall of Rome play out in 4K.”
Fenecia Redman is a Malvern mom who sued the Great Valley School District over books with graphic images in the high school library and spoke to the state legislature to try to get those books removed. “I refuse to believe Sen. Cappelletti, an attorney, formerly a child advocate, has seen the graphic sexually explicit material available to minor children in public schools and deemed it educational,
“Redman said. “She’s now the minority chair on the same Senate government committee I testified before. I encourage her to watch my testimony, posted by some on her Facebook page. It’s shocking and painful to watch but necessary to inform her, a new mom, of the gravity of this emotional and psychological child abuse. Federal laws 18 USC 1470 and 1466A are unambiguous. She can make a difference in protecting all children from state-sponsored child abuse.”
Most recently, the Central Bucks School Board came under attack from the ACLU and progressive activists when it developed a policy that allowed parents to flag books for review that they believed were problematic.
“The idea of banning books is a direct contradiction to First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press, integral elements of democracy,” Cappelletti said. “Americans have a right to explore and engage with differing perspectives to form their own views. Public libraries are places where young people should be able to learn about themselves and people who are different from them, not denied access to the diverse perspectives that books and art offer us all.
“My legislation will require Pennsylvania’s State Librarian and our local libraries to adopt the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, which states that materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval, and to develop a written statement that prohibits the local library from banning books or other materials. Libraries that do not comply will be denied state funding.”
Cappelletti claimed the issue was not partisan. Instead, she said polling showed voters “across the political spectrum oppose book bans and have confidence in libraries to make good decisions about their collections.”