Educate Maine stands with Maine educators and librarians and affirms the responsibility to ensure and protect students’ rights to intellectual freedom. We support educators who assure the representation of all people and their identities in libraries and classrooms. In fact, it is unrestricted and easy access to literature inclusive of all identities, cultures, and religions that will promote the development of empathy and understanding by and for our young people–the future leaders of our communities.
Many school districts in Maine and across the country are seeing a rise in book challenges of library and classroom books, leaving educators and administrators to “defend” the books on the shelves.
These challenges are about more than the content of the texts; they are attempts to silence and erase the truths and humanity of the books’ characters and creators.
It is important that we remain mindful that there are Maine and federal laws and regulations that require local school boards to adopt certain written policies. In addition, there are policies which, though not specifically mandated, are essential for demonstrating compliance with laws and regulations affecting the governance or administration of schools.
The policies referenced in the "Know Your Policies" section of the infographic can be found here. It is also important to remember that “the final authority as to what materials an individual student will be exposed to rests with that student's parents or guardians.” referenced in IJJ and IJJE Instructional and Library Policy as part of Maine and federal laws and regulations required by local school boards.
In the words of Maine School Librarian /Instructional Coach, Iris Eichenlaub (2017 Knox County Teacher of the Year), “If you object to books about hunting for your own child (let’s say you’re an animal rights activist), you have every right to be in contact with the librarian and your child’s teacher to express that preference and ask for alternatives for your child. But for a kid who hunts, these books about families who hunt, and books about hunting, tracking, or butchering game, are relevant and reflect their lived experience. Readers of all ages deserve to find that in their libraries. No parent should have the right to dictate what another parent’s child can read, view or listen to.”
The Maine Learning Results, approved by the Maine Legislature, articulates goals for all Maine students to be “a responsible and informed citizen” and “an integrated and informed thinker.” Access to and choice of a wide range of reading material are vital to developing perspectives and insights that prepare students for participation in a global society. All Americans, specifically young people in our educational institutions, are guaranteed access to information and ideas from various points of view under the Freedom of Speech in the First Amendment. Censorship is a danger to the ideals of our state and our nation.
Here is a series of Intellectual Freedom Matters infographics designed to support educational stakeholders in responding to book challenges and combating censorship. Please use them! You can download from this page. See below.
It is our firm resolve that educators, librarians, and other school officials feel supported and united with Maine’s professional organizations in guaranteeing intellectual freedom is upheld. Alongside our state-wide education partner organizations, we are available for further support or resources.
Resources for your organization or personal use:
Language for your website:
[Your Organization] proudly stands with Maine educators and librarians and affirm the responsibility to ensure and protect students’ rights to intellectual freedom. We support educators who assure the representation of all people and their identities in libraries and classrooms. In fact, it is unrestricted and facile access to literature inclusive of all identities, cultures, and religions that will promote the development of empathy and understanding by and for our young people–the future leaders of our communities.
Social Media Infographics:
Downloadable Infographics available here:
School Board Members
“Books represent windows and mirrors, immersing students in various perspectives unfamiliar to them and affirming pieces of their own identity”
“Fostering empathy through reading is a critical by product of students choice in their own learning”