.Check This Out

Sonoma County Library champions inclusivity

By Marcia Singer, MSW 

Our Sonoma County Library (SCL) is my go-to for entertainment, edification, upliftment: international films for armchair travel, favorite TV shows to revisit, books spurring spiritual growth. 

And in the wake of culture war assaults on school curriculums—laws suppressing race, sex and gender education—I’ve been reminded that libraries are vital to democracy, real free speech and community-building. 

Recently, after helping me locate The Good Wife: Season 5, my branch librarian pointed to a display table. “What do you think of our banned books—free to take home?” she asked. 

Taking a closer look, I registered with appreciation the effort to champion educational and expressive freedoms, and social justice.  Afterward, in the foyer area, I discovered the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights (LBOR) leaflet. Moved, impressed, heartened, I went back to thank the librarian.

“Come with me,” she counseled, offering me SCL’s Statement of Inclusivity (SOI) flyer. “Black Lives Matter,” she pronounced, “and there’s more,” showing me their free, kid-friendly ed booklet, “Pride Flags and Pronouns.”

I’m proud to live where we value and advocate for these kinds of freedoms. And I’m so grateful for courageous librarians nationwide, standing up and speaking out in today’s scary, adversarial climate. Many have resigned because of ugly threats from far right opposers, from fear of retaliations, in concern for their families’ safety. 

I agree with my librarian that “books are meant to be read.” That ideas are meant to be shared and discussed and argued with respect and civility. View the LBOR, adopted in 1948:    www.loc.gov/resource/rbpe.1000660d/#viewer-image-wrapper. Appreciate that our Sonoma County Library “values diversity, empowerment, community, unity, kindness, connection and equity, servicing all races, genders, sexual orientations, religions, abilities, ages, national or ethnic origins, all languages, citizenship statuses, economic statuses, political affiliations.”

May we as a nation come to realize these aspirations, and come to know our history—all of it.

In concert with the ALA, I envision that one day, with open minds and hearts, we’ll embrace our differences and celebrate our common humanity. 

Get inspired at your local branch. And take home a great weekend movie, too. 

Marcia Singer’s Love Arts Foundational programs fund well-being through mindful, heart-centered practices. lovearts.info.


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