Local lawmaker proposing legislation to prevent book bans
LUDLOW, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - The number of books challenged statewide has quadrupled since 2021, according to the American Libraries Association. Now, one local lawmaker is speaking up to prevent these types of policies in public libraries.
State Senator Jake Oliveira said he’s proposing new legislation that would fight against book bans, which is something he called “un-American.”
Inspired by a recent attempt to ban several titles from Ludlow schools, Oliveira filed new legislation that would prevent book bans in public libraries in the Bay State. The controversial policy failed in his hometown, but Oliveira is looking to prevent book bans statewide.
He is working with State Representative Aaron Saunders on a bill that he said will protect libraries as centers for free thoughts. He argued these policies do not align with American values.
“It opens up our communities to totalitarianism. You look at the Soviet Union, you look at communist China, you look at Nazi Germany, some of the first steps they took were eliminating free thought and free expression,” Oliveira explained. “And beginning to ban books within in our schools or public libraries is not age appropriate. but is also the first attempt to censor people’s first amendment right to free ideas.”
He said these policies disproportionately target books that represent people of color or the LGBTQ+ community. Oliveira said while this policy specifically targets public libraries, another state senator from Cape Cod also introduced legislation that would address school libraries.
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