MI Right to Read.

Extremist Rhetoric and Misinformation Are Harmful.

It's an election year and it's no surprise that political advertising is ramping up and lots of money is being spent to influence voters. Unfortunately, it's also no surprise that the truth is often bent if not outright broken in pursuit of that influence. 

The library is a nonpartisan institution and does not have a political agenda. Yet, a recent MIRS news release reported on a well-funded campaign by American Principles Project PAC (APP PAC) that disparages libraries and promotes misinformation. APP PAC is the political action arm of a populist conservative think tank and promised to spend $1 million to highlight “left-wing cultural extremism” in Michigan.

Last week, APP PAC released a video ad targeting Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and used screenshots of Michigan eLibrary (MeL) search results webpages to promote the ad on Twitter. The tweet included screenshots of searches for several books that appear on frequently challenged lists, including Gender Queer, Lawn Boy, and others, and intentionally misrepresented the search results listed on the pages as being Kids eResources.

The text of the tweet?

"Gender Queer" and other obscene books like it are available as "kids resources" in Michigan public libraries. Why does @gretchenwhitmer want children exposed to this? 

Stop. Grooming. Our. Kids.

The MI Right to Read coalition opposes any attempts to ban books from Michigan libraries based on content that some individuals or groups in our society may consider unconventional, unpopular, or unacceptable. One of the primary purposes of the coalition is to educate the public about how individuals and organizations that attempt to censor materials and or ban books are both politically driven and funded, and that these groups use propaganda and coordinated attempts to mislead the public with inflammatory rhetoric and false accusations. 

In the lead-up to the November elections, we expect to continue to see misinformation about libraries and library collections in political advertising. What can you do to help? Call out the lies and share the truth! MLA reported the APP PAC tweets that used MeL screenshots as misinformation and we encourage you to do the same. Report and call out misinformation and propaganda about library collections when you see them. Use your voice to clarify the issues and support intellectual freedom and the right to read. And most importantly, in the fight against censorship, VOTE. Voting offers the ability for people to leverage their voices to elect leaders that have their community’s best interest at heart. 

We can’t let narrow views damage our treasured Michigan libraries. These efforts not only present a dangerous threat to library funding, but partisan candidates representing extremist ideologies pose a real threat to the freedom to read when elected to our school and library boards. 

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.

Facebook  Twitter