MI Right to Read.

Views. Values. Voice. Vote.

In the fight against censorship, voting offers the ability for people to leverage their voices to elect local leaders that have their community’s best interest at heart. We are strong proponents of the belief that local government has more of an effect on your day-to-day life than the federal government. In that light, the November election is a crucial one for public library boards as well as our school board races. We cannot become complacent about voting this November. 

School and library board elections are becoming increasingly more polarizing as the culture wars rage. We know it will not come as a surprise that before the November election you will need to do even more homework than you have in the past to identify candidates who support your library and community in positive ways for years to come. 

As November looms large, we are aware that many local races have been infiltrated by extremist candidates, intent on subjecting the library, a historically nonpartisan institution, to their political agendas. Some of these candidates are backed and funded by organizations that promote censorship, and they not only present a dangerous threat to library funding, but they are also using their platforms to harass and subject librarians to mental anguish. In Jamestown Charter Township, residents voted to defund the library because it contains books by and about LGBTQ+ people. Now, some candidates for library boards on the ballot this November are writing op ed’s that suggest libraries are targeting and grooming children. We know that partisan candidates representing extremist ideologies pose a real threat to the freedom to read. We can’t let their narrow views further damage our treasured Michigan libraries. 

MI Right to Read participated in the Banned Book Weeks Twitter chat, hosted by honorary chair George M. Johnson, NY Times bestselling author of “All Boys Aren’t Blue”. One of the Twitter chat participants, Phil Bildner (a children’s book author and founder/president of The Author Village), noted that those that are pushing the agenda with extremist rhetoric “…are vocal. They are loud. They are ruthless. They are relentless. They are well-coordinated. They are well-funded. But do not be fooled, they are not well-intentioned.” We agree, and we note that their agendas and values do not match the values of those who hold librarianship to its highest standards by protecting the Constitutional rights of every community member. 

You have the ability to make a difference at the polls. There’s too much at stake to take anything, or any person, or any vote for granted. We implore you to put in the work and research, research, research. We need everyone to not only know where the individuals who are running for the top seats in government stand, we need to also know where our county commissioners, city council members, school board members and most importantly, where our library board members stand. 

We took time to develop a new graphic template that helps support our pro-library position and ask you to share on social media and begin to take action. It is easy to remember Views…Values…Voice…VOTE!

Views and Values. Get to know your candidates, learn about their views and values about libraries, know what they stand for – especially if they support First Amendment rights and will stand up to censorship challenges. What should you pay attention to when evaluating candidates? Ask yourself: Do they understand the role? Can they clearly articulate their goals? And do they share your values? Find out who is on your ballot at https://mvic.sos.state.mi.us/Voter/Index

Voice. Use your voice and be vocal. Share your opinion on social media, in op-eds and by standing up and speaking articulately, and with conviction, at school and library board meetings in support of your library. Call out Mis- Dis- and Mal-information when you see it. Make sure that your own views and values are shared and that you encourage others to vote as well.

Vote. It is your right and your obligation to vote. YOUR VOTE MATTERS! You all know what to do here – vote for candidates that prioritize and support the right to read, who will stand strong to support our libraries with diverse, inclusive collections, and will stand up to censorship challenges. Our libraries deserve your attention to this - not just now but in every election! Not registered? Register today at https://mvic.sos.state.mi.us/Home/RegisterToVote

As we head into the November elections, let’s not lose momentum. We must make sure that our school and library boards are composed of rational people who are focused on the issues our libraries actually have, not misleading and inflammatory talking points that have no relevance in protecting the right to read.

Ryan Wieber


Michigan Library Association

Dillon Geshel

Intellectual Freedom Task Force Chair

Michigan Library Association

Deborah E. Mikula

Executive Director

Michigan Library Association

The Michigan Library Association does not support or oppose any candidates or parties.

Don't forget to invite friends, family, and colleagues to join the MI Right to Read coalition and be fully prepared to defend First Amendment Rights and don't forget to follow MI Right to Read on Twitter and Facebook to share our posts and spread the word!

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