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Our Statement on Banned Books

Latino Books webphoto 2023

RILA's Board of Directors, Staff, the Latino Books Award Committee issue the following statement regarding attempts to remove materials from schools and libraries that focus on LGBTQIA+ issues and books written by Latino authors or that document the Latino experience or the experiences of other communities of color:

Rhode Island Latino Arts strongly condemns any acts of censorship and intimidation, especially those aimed at Latino/Latina/Latinx authors and illustrators. We are opposed local legislation better known by many as “The Book Banning Bill” that would prohibit the teaching of what it refers to as "divisive concepts" and would mandate that any contract, grant or training program entered into by the state or any municipality include provisions prohibiting teaching material that would make any individual feel discomfort, guilty, anguish or any distress on account of their race or sex.

Additionally, we oppose a bill that would not allow books and instructional materials for use in classrooms or held in school libraries that centers any race, ethnicity, gender, religion or viewpoint. It would include a mandate requiring all schools that receive federal funding to make readily available a list of all books in their libraries as well as details of school curriculum at all grade levels. The passage of this bill follows well-orchestrated campaigns by extremist groups across the country seeking to ban books that provide an accurate historical record of our nation’s history, particularly in the areas where minority groups suffered from oppression and were denied their individual rights and freedoms.

We are committed to defending the constitutional rights of all individuals, of all ages, to use the resources and services of libraries. We champion and defend the freedom to speak, the freedom to publish, and the freedom to read, as promised by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

We stand opposed to censorship and any effort to coerce belief, suppress opinion, or punish those whose expression does not conform to what is deemed to be orthodox in history, politics, or belief. The unfettered exchange of ideas is essential to the preservation of a free and democratic society.

Libraries manifest the promises of the First Amendment by making available the widest possible range of viewpoints, opinions, and ideas, so that every person has the opportunity to freely read and consider information and ideas regardless of their content or the viewpoint of the author. This requires the professional expertise of librarians who work in partnership with their communities to curate collections that serve the information needs of all their users.

Click here to see our selection of nominees for the 2024 Latino Books Award

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