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Defending our right to read

A call to protect libraries, imagination, and freedom


In a time when the freedom to explore diverse literary landscapes is under threat, it becomes clear that our community must come together to safeguard one of the fundamental pillars of democracy – the right to read.

Anderson County, like many others across the nation, finds itself at a crossroads. On one hand, there is a call to remove books from libraries and classrooms, purportedly to protect children. But beneath the surface, it’s part of a broader movement that seeks to impose a puritanical standard rooted in bigotry and fear.

We have to remember that all of this began with THREE books, one of which, was a children’s book called “Grandpa’s Camper,” which featured a gay man who lost his partner but is able to heal with the help of his granddaughter. Initially, there was an outcry, but as the community rallied to defend the right to read, those who sought to police these books retreated, and now are attempting to gain ground by falsely claiming that proponents of our libraries are sexualizing our children.

We have to protect the rights of all citizens, including the right to access diverse materials, even if we personally find that certain books are not something that we would entertain.

Our libraries have long been castles of knowledge, imagination, and inclusivity.

To remove books based on subjective standards is to rob our community of the richness of thought and the opportunity to explore new horizons.

We cannot let fear, prejudice, or discomfort dictate the literary landscape of Anderson County.

This Thursday at 5:30 p.m., the Anderson County Library Board will hold its September meeting at the Norris Public Library.

We urge the community to show up in force, wearing BLUE as a symbol of support for our libraries and the right to read.

This is not just about books; it’s about defending the principles of a democratic society – the freedom to explore, learn, and grow through literature.

Our libraries belong to everyone, and it is our responsibility to protect them from censorship and the stifling of ideas.

By standing up for the right to read, we ensure that Anderson County remains a place where imagination thrives, where diverse perspectives are celebrated, and where bigotry and fear do not dictate our literary choices.

Join us in preserving the integrity of our libraries and the future we want for Anderson County. Hopefully, we will choose not to go down the road of removing or hiding books that make a few people uncomfortable, because it is a path that leads to the shadowy depths of ignorance, and the light of knowledge fades into obscurity, leaving us trapped in a dark and unenlightened world.

Chase Lindsey

Oak Ridge

A supporter of OUR

Anderson County Public Libraries