Volume 6, Issue 1 - The Political Librarian - Spring 2023
We are thrilled to announce the return of our open-access journal, The Political Librarian, after a covid-impacted hiatus.
This is the only peer-reviewed publication dedicated to the politics of libraries and library funding in the industry.
We have undergone significant changes during this time, including transitioning to a new digital publishing platform called Janeway. Additionally, we have revamped the layout and typesetting and reconstituted our dedicated publication team.
This Spring 2023 issue of The Political Librarian focuses on the growing external political pressures and legislative actions to censor, review, or ban books in schools and public libraries. We present a diverse range of thought-provoking articles, including original pieces and selected republications, which shed light on the challenges librarians face and provide valuable insights on navigating this complex landscape.
Read the full Spring 2023 Issue of The Political Librarian at Washington University's Open Scholarship platform.
The lead article, "The Urge to Censor," by Paul T. Jaeger et al., presents eight historical tenets of censorship that provide crucial context for understanding the current movement. By analyzing the past, the authors shed light on the challenges libraries face and offer practical strategies for advocates to confront the threats of book bans.
Allison Jennings-Roche's article, "Delegitimizing Censorship," delves into the charged rhetoric employed by those who attack library collections and librarians. She argues for the importance of countering such rhetoric through alternative communication strategies that protect the integrity of library collections and disarm the arguments of censors.
Sonya M. Durney's piece, "The Library Advocacy Gap," presents a mixed-methods research study that measures the gap between library advocacy activities undertaken by professional librarians and the responsibilities of LIS professionals. Based on the study's findings, Durney emphasizes the need for librarians to bridge this gap through enhanced training and increased professional development opportunities.
In addition to the original contributions, this issue features four republications from the EveryLibrary Institute that remain highly relevant.
"Voter Perceptions of Book Bans," originally published in September 2022, shares the results of a public opinion poll that reveals most American voters oppose book bans based on race, sexuality, and other concerns.
Valarie McNutt et al.'s "Factors of Success for Libraries on the Ballot," first published in January 2021, analyzes 700 library elections between 2014 and 2018 to identify key factors for success. Given the potential movement to defund libraries, these findings are particularly timely and advantageous.
Nijma Esad's report, "Could School Librarians Be the Secret to Increasing Literacy Scores," originally published in January 2022, provides valuable data highlighting school librarians' vital role in improving student literacy. This report's republication is well-deserved, considering the recent censorship movement targeting school libraries.
Finally, Megan Blair's and John Chrastka's whitepaper, "Cannabis Tax Policy and Libraries," first published in July 2022, explores the potential revenue-sharing policies from cannabis taxes that often overlook libraries. As libraries strive to secure increased funding, the authors advocate for building coalitions and lobbying local governments to include libraries in this revenue source.
We want to thank Christopher Stewart, who served as the series editor for two years. His dedication and contributions have been invaluable to the journal's success. We would also like to extend our heartfelt thanks to John Chrastka for his unwavering support during this transitional period. Additionally, we recognize the immense efforts of Martha McGehee and Sanobar Chagani, who played essential roles in proofreading and typesetting this issue under a tight deadline.
- Andrew T. Sulavik, MLIS, ThD