Former President Barack Obama on Monday spoke out against the rising number of book bans in American schools and libraries, calling them “contrary to what has made this country great,” appearing at an Illinois public library Tiktok video.
In a statement As he shared on social media, Obama praised “America’s dedicated and hardworking librarians” for working “on the front lines” against the book ban movement, despite attacks from those “who either don’t understand the vital — and uniquely American” problem can or want. role you play in the life of our nation.”
Books allow readers to “experience the world,” “put themselves in someone else’s shoes,” and “engage with other ideas and perspectives.” Their access is also essential to First Amendment freedoms.”
It is no coincidence that these ‘banned books’ were often written by, or feature in, people of color, Indigenous peoples and members of the LGBTQ+ community – although there have also been unfortunate instances where books by conservative authors or books containing ‘triggering ‘ Words contained’ or scenes were targets for removal,” Obama wrote. “In any case, the impulse seems to be to silence views rather than engage in, refute, learn from, or try to understand views that don’t fit our own.”
The former president also appeared in a TikTok video shared by the Kankakee Public Library southwest of Chicago on Monday.
In it, people read books, including Alice Walker’s “The colour purple‘ and Angie Thomas’ ‘The hate you give‘ before Obama emerges and reads from his own stack of books while sipping from a coffee mug at the Kankakee Public Library.
Obama also appeared in a TikTok video for the Harris County Public Library system in Texas. The Washington Post reported. According to a, Texas leads the nation in motions to ban books in schools balance sheet last year by the free speech advocacy group PEN America.
Libraries across the country are increasingly facing threats of violence and intimidation as political efforts to censor their reading materials increase.
The American Library Association reported in March that requests for censorship of books in libraries reached a record 1,269 requests last year. That’s nearly double the 729 challenges reported in 2021, the organization said.
The vast majority of the targeted books were by or about members of the LGBTQIA+ community and people of color, the ALA said.
“Reading about people whose lives were very different from mine taught me how to put myself in someone else’s shoes. And the simple act of writing helped me develop my own identity — which would prove vital as a citizen, as a community organizer, and as President,” Obama said.