KIRO NEWSRADIO OPINION

Mayfield: Eastern Wash. city council tries yet another book ban

Dec 5, 2023, 11:57 AM

book ban eastern washington...

Hood River, Oregon. A display of banned books in a bookstore window. (Photo by: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

(Photo by: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Just stop already; stop trying to ban books. Stop trying to control what people read.

This time, it’s happening in Liberty Lake. That’s a Spokane suburb, and this time, according to KREM 2 in Spokane and RANGE Media, it’s the city council that thinks it should tell the library what books to shelve and which to trash.

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If you are scratching your head about why a city council would involve itself in what’s happening at the public library, so am I.

Especially when that library already has a board of trustees that includes members of the community and library professionals. But, apparently, some members of the Liberty Lake City Council think only they know best.

The same council voted to do this in May, but the mayor vetoed the plan. So what’s going on now?

Well, the anti-book folks lost their majority during November’s election, but the new council isn’t seated until January. So, those who think they know best still have a few weeks to run the council, and they are going to try once more.

The vote is scheduled for Tuesday night, and supporters say it has nothing to do with banning books. Instead, they say they want more local control in the hands of elected officials, i.e., themselves, instead of librarians.

How did we get to a place where librarians can’t run libraries? How did we get to a place where elected leaders think we should ban books?

Turns out the answer is simple: Some people still don’t think LGBTQ+ folks should have a voice.

In Liberty Lake, this all started last year with a resident demanding a book called “Gender Queer” be banned from the library. The library board said “no.” So, the resident went to the city council.

What I have never understood about those pushing book bans is how about just not reading the book you find offensive. There are other people who do want to read it, so why police what they read? It seems so juvenile and anti-American, but I guess that’s much of our political discourse these days.

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There are books written by a former reality show host president, for example, or any number of disgraced Fox News hosts that I don’t want to read or want my kids to read. Yet, I think they should still be in the public library.

So, just stop already. Stop trying to ban books. Stop trying to control what people read and let us decide for ourselves.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5-9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Mayfield: Eastern Wash. city council tries yet another book ban