Following a challenge by local religious leaders, Maine’s Rumford Library Board has voted unanimously to retain its Banned Books Week display, following a call to ban several LGBTQ books, including two graphic novels.
CBLDF was among the first to respond in support for the library, alongside National Coalition Against Censorship and the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. CBLDF applauds the library board decision, and extends thanks to all Mainers who spoke out to retain these books. “The freedom to read is expanded when citizens have the right to make up their own minds,” says CBLDF Executive Director Charles Brownstein, adding “We commend the board of the Rumford library for respecting their citizens and upholding their rights.”
According to an updated Facebook post from Katrina Ray-Saulis in the Rumford community, the turn out at the library meeting was outstanding. Kudos to those that showed up and lent their voices to emails and social media posts supporting the library display. This is not only great news but an excellent example of the power of speaking up against censorship leading in to Banned Books Week, which begins on September 23rd and has the theme of “Banning Books Silences Stories – Speak up!”
The graphic novels that were part of the display were Queer: A Graphic History by Meg John-Barker and Julia Scheele and My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness by Nagata Kabi. Kabi’s manga has achieved wide acclaim in the United States and its native Japan. Publishers Weekly and Amazon named the book as one of the best comics of 2018.