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Library Board of Directors on Book Bans

Good evening. My name is Sevi Alvarez, and I’m a resident of the City of Spartanburg. I got a tip yesterday that there would be a group of book banners coming to crash this board meeting, so I felt morally obligated to come and stand in opposition to them.

The bottom line is that we do not ban books in the United States. Before even considering their content, freedom of information is a cornerstone of our democracy. Restricting access to books is not the way we do things in the United States of America.

Beyond being un-American, though, we must also address the lies and misinformation being spouted by the proponents of book bans. Here are the facts: There is absolutely nothing wrong with the content that these folks want to see banned. There is nothing wrong with being LGBTQ; people are born that way, it’s an immutable part of their character, and young LGBTQ children often know it from an early age, no matter their upbringing.

Being LGBTQ is not immoral, and it’s okay for our children to know that. That is a lesson that many of us still need to learn as adults.

I don’t understand why these radical extremists are so intent on inserting the government into the parenting decisions of the people of Spartanburg County. These books are not going to harm anyone. They are not “pornography” as some try to claim. There are a few books with more mature content, which is already categorized appropriately into the Young Adult sections.

The content that these folks really want to ban includes the picture books that teach children that it’s okay to have two moms or two dads. That it’s okay to want to wear dresses and play with dolls, even if that might not be what other people want or expect you to do. That there is nothing wrong with the feelings they’re having.

Folks, these are good, wholesome, important messages for ALL children to hear. They teach kindness and acceptance and empathy, three traits that are lacking in today’s society, and perhaps lacking among some in this very board room. And if anyone still doesn’t want their children to read those books, then they can simply decline to check them out.

Board members, I implore you NOT to be swayed by thinly veiled bigotry and NOT to change library policy to placate these fringe extremists. LGBTQ folks are human beings, just trying to live their lives in peace. They do not deserve to be dehumanized, or to be made to feel less-than.

I’ll close with a quote from one of my favorite Republicans, President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

“Don’t join the book burners. Don’t think you are going to conceal faults by concealing evidence that they ever existed. Don’t be afraid to go in your library and read every book, as long as that document does not offend your own ideas of decency. That should be the only censorship.”

Thank you.

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