ULA/UELMA Joint Statement on Alpine School District Book Removals
The Utah Library Association (ULA) and the Utah Educational Library Media Association (UELMA) are aware of the removal of 52 books from Alpine School District. We are alarmed because it is clear from the school board meeting that the sub-committee tasked with evaluating these books did not fully read them. It is necessary for every challenged library material to be evaluated as a whole. This requirement was established in the Supreme Court case, Miller v. California (1973). Federal law requires that the “Miller Test” be followed to determine the serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value of an entire book and state law mirrors this requirement. Thus, the “Miller Test” was not followed when books were removed without due process. The Supreme Court also ruled in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (1969) that students' First Amendment rights must be protected while they are in school. Illegally removing these books infringes upon Utah students’ protected First Amendment rights. This dangerous move not only opens up Utah taxpayers to costly and time consuming litigation, it also harms students. Students can safely explore at their school library under the guidance of professional school librarians. School libraries were designated “places of voluntary inquiry” in the Supreme Court ruling Island Trees School District v. Pico (1982). Thus, students must have access to books that not only reflect their own experiences but also help them learn about others. Having access to books that reflect the many aspects of human thought and experience is more important than ever as our students grow to become leaders in our global environment. It is extremely troubling that 21 of the books that were removed have LGBTQIA+ characters and themes. Our LGBTQIA+ youth have the highest youth suicide rate in the nation. However, the Trevor Project reports that LGBTQIA+ youth are less likely to attempt suicide when they have access to LGBTQIA+ affirming spaces and information. Many of the books that were removed also deal with complex issues such as race, growing up, health, and addiction. These books might not be right for every reader but school librarians work with parents and caregivers every day to help them find appropriate materials for their children. We believe that parents and caregivers have the right to discuss reading and book selections with their own children. However, they do not have the right to make these crucial decisions for other families. We encourage all Utahns who are interested in learning more about the important role of libraries in supporting student success and a healthy democracy to read our jointly authored ebook, “Utah Libraries: Keystone of Healthy Democracy, Student Success, and Prosperous Communities'' available for download at ula.org/guide. We call on the Board of Alpine School District to immediately return all books to the shelf. If there are legitimate challenges to any books, the Board must follow their own policy and state and federal laws in evaluating each title as a whole to determine whether it has serious value for students and involving parents that are reflective of the school community in this process.
Support ULA Advocacy Efforts: Join Utah Cultural Alliance at a Special Library Rate
We have negotiated a substantial discount for libraries and we are asking all libraries to become an organizational member of the Utah Cultural Alliance (UCA).The Cost? Only $25/FTE, with a cap of $2000 per library. For most libraries the cost will be the equivalent to a rounding error in your budget -- but the combined impact of libraries across Utah joining as UCA members will be significant!
UCA SUPPORTS LIBRARIES IN UTAHAs you know, UCA has been providing lobbying and consulting on behalf of ULA. In 2022-2023 we expect to see anti-library and/or pro-censorship bills, which means we foresee a continuing need for a robust lobbying effort. Having individual libraries join UCA, in addition to ULA’s membership, will help to strengthen our position and provide resources to UCA to help us succeed. We also want to be proactive this year in advocating for the State Library’s budget priorities, and any additional bills that we put forth such as a bill to require school librarians, and a bill to level the playing field for libraries buying ebooks. Last year UCA provided significant support in helping to get approval for 750K for libraries/broadband as well as a new library specialist position at USBE - a key position given the book challenges and lack of certified teacher librarians in schools.
MANY MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS (downloadable flier )Your Library will also be the recipient of many benefits, including benefits and discounts -- and will be well-positioned to network and partner with arts and culture organizational leaders from across the state.
- ADVOCACY/LOBBYING BENEFITS
- UCA advocates on behalf of libraries to elected officials (a $5,000 value)
- Member-only policy updates and alerts (a $1,000 value)
- Access to economic data, including State of UT Culture report and CHMURA JobsEQ! (a $7,200value)
- UCA staff present to your key stakeholders about the legislative session and/or economic impact data once per year (a $300 value)
- TRAINING/EVENTS BENEFITS
- Free admission to convenings & networking opportunities (a $100 value per employee)
- Free admission to lobby days
- Discounted admission to the cultural industry annual conference: Culture Connect
- Individualized consulting for strategic plans, branding, fundraising, efficiency tools/audit, increased lobbying, technical assistance is available at a discounted rate
- MARKETING BENEFITS
- Events included on the Utah Office of Tourism website (a $100 value)
- 20% discount on advertising rates for NowPlayingUtah.com (NPU); NPU receives 1.3 million unique visitors annually. This is a typical savings of over $200/year.
- Member’s news, events, and more advertised to UCA/NPU followers through email and social media, 40,000 combined followers. (a $500 value)
- SEO listing on UCA website and NowPlayingUtah.com
- DISCOUNTS/TOOLS BENEFITS
- 15% discount on Creative Businesses program for your Library
- 30% off discount off your first year to Artwork Archive, a cloud-based art inventory program ideal for museums, collectors, and artists.
- 20% off discount on advertising rates for NowPlayingUtah.com (NPU) with over 1 million unique users
- GIVE BACK advertising program on NowPlayingUtah.com for 50% off select advertising
- Inclusion in industry-related campaigns such as the recent NowPlayingUtah.com campaign.
Use this link to join: https://www.utahculturalalliance.org/libraries
Questions? Email Peter Bromberg at peter.bromberg[at]gmail.com
ULA Strategic Plan 2022 – 2025