The Jan. 30 front-page article, “Struggling to keep the shelves stocked,” pointed out the very serious issues of how restrictive ordinances and oversight rules are preventing librarians from ordering books with LGBTQ characters or other issues that parents might object to, but it omitted an even bigger concern: If librarians can’t purchase these books, publishers will not publish them and authors will not write them. We might lose voices that are much needed in this time of great division in our country. Those who are marginalized will be even more unseen, and difficult topics such as racial injustice and prejudice will become even more ignored.
Edith Ching, Silver Spring
The writer, a former children’s librarian, was a member of the 2023 Coretta Scott King awards jury, the 2021 Caldecott Awards Committee and the 2007 Newbery Awards committee.
There is so very much terribly wrong with the situations being described in the Jan. 30 front-page article “Struggling to keep the shelves stocked” that I really don’t know where to begin — or, more precisely, where to stop.
It comes down to what for me is a matter of the heart. In librarian parlance, books can either be mirrors or windows; they can reflect a reader’s own life or open a view into the lives of others. Most books can serve as both mirror and window. Imagine a student of (any) color and his/her White friend who pick up the same book, or an LGBTQ student and a cisgender friend who pick up the same book; the first student because the book reflects his or her own experiences and the second student because it increases knowledge, understanding and compassion for someone who is different. A mirror for one, a window for the other.
Every student should be allowed to read books that provide a mirror. Every student should be encouraged to read books that provide windows. This is how we provide support. This is how we help build empathy in our young people.
Richard Parker, Clarksburg
The Feb. 1 Politics & the Nation article, “Florida schools advise teachers to hide their books to avoid felony charges” belonged in a fantasy/horror genre, not in the nonfiction pages of The Post.
Teacher bashing must stop. Teachers spend their own money to build classroom libraries to engage students. Teachers are competing with YouTube, texting, TikTok, Snapchat, etc., and Florida believes actual books selected by teachers are a problem.
As a teacher, I cannot express the joy I feel when a student asks to borrow a book from my classroom library to read “for fun.” I’m wondering how the prison libraries in Florida are stocked. Sadly, some teachers might find out.
Diane Bettge Norton, Fairfax