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Concerns linger for libraries after mixed election results

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Concerns linger for libraries after mixed election results

Nov 14 2022

As usual, EveryLibrary executive director John Chrastka was busy on Election Day, this year tracking the fate of some 55 library initiatives across 16 states. And while general support for libraries appears to remain high overall, Chrastka says, he also observed some concerning trends—especially in communities where book banners and so-called “parents' rights” groups are active.

The good news: most of the levy renewals or renewal increases for libraries on the ballot on November 8 passed, and several major cities approved municipal funding or bonds to support library operations or construction.

Among concerning developments, however, at least two libraries were "defunded" following “significant censorship and book ban campaigns,” and now face significant cuts or possible closure... Other libraries weathered ballot measures pushed by would-be book banners...

“The effort to tie library funding to censorship efforts is likely just beginning in our country,” Chrastka observed, telling PW that library supporters and freedom to read advocates will have to work hard to avoid a situation where “defund the library” campaigns become the new end game for book banners. “If they can't ban the book will they burn the whole place down?” Chrastka asks.

In another major election day takeaway, Chrastka noted that the 2022 mid-term election saw the fewest number of ballot initiatives in support of libraries in a generation.

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