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Reviews | To fight book bans, support librarians

For the editor:

Regarding “As parents call to ban books, librarians are seen as criminals” (front page, July 7):

As a retired school librarian, I am appalled by the growing right-wing movement to ban and burn books. While not the first anti-intellectual, anti-diversity book banning the movement in American history, it is the most vicious and vocal of my 30-year career.

No one has the right to impose their values ​​on others. Librarians are trained to evaluate books according to high standards of literary merit and to know who in their community would be served by them.

There are procedures in place for those who disagree with a librarian’s choices. Ignoring these procedures is both thoughtless and undemocratic.

All righteous and thoughtful people need to support their local school and public librarians now, not just when attacked in a heated school board meeting.

How do you do that? Make sure you know the names of your librarians. Talk to them when you go to the library. Tell them you want to show your support for all they do in our communities. Ask your local elected officials what their position is on censorship. Write a letter of support to your local library board and send a copy to your local newspaper.

Take action to support democracy and free speech – our First Amendment right.

marilyn elie
Cortlandt Mansion, NY

For the editor:

I just finished rereading “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury, published in 1953, and I was scared.

Vigilantes are taking over the books they claim pollute the minds of young children. The curious child wants to know all kinds of things that a parent doesn’t always talk about. It is often books that expand our knowledge and enable critical thinking. Schools and public libraries allow us to acquire this knowledge free of charge.

These vigilantes probably haven’t read many of the books they review. They are afraid of what they don’t know, but they believe they have the right to dictate and control. If these deniers gain power, their push will include more than pounds.

Readers, stand up! Become advocates for libraries and librarians! It is only through your efforts that a diverse range of library content will be available to everyone.

Miriam Kagan Margoshes
Hastings-on-Hudson, NY
The writer is a retired librarian.

For the editor:

Regarding “Trump Intended to Send His Mob to Disrupt Count” (front page, July 13) and “Trump Wrecked Lives on Jan. 6. I Should Know,” by Aquilino Gonell (Opinion guest essay, July 11):

It was indeed a poignant moment after the hearing on Tuesday January 6 when one of the rioters, Stephen Ayres, apologized to Mr Gonell, who was so badly injured on January 6 that he will never be able to work as a Capitol Police officer.

The two men have one thing in common. They lost their jobs because Donald Trump couldn’t bear to lose his.

Morabito wine
Scranton, Pa.

For the editor:

Liz Cheney offered an obvious reminder during Tuesday’s hearing: Donald Trump is a 76-year-old man who should tell right from wrong. He is not a child. You are right, Ms. Cheney. He just acts like one.

John Gilmore
Santee, California.

For the editor:

Re “Is a GOP-Supreme Court showdown coming?” by Noah Millman (opinion guest essay, Sunday Review, July 10):

Mr. Millman is quite right that there are two trends in recent Supreme Court jurisprudence on administrative agencies: the first would place them under tighter presidential, that is, political, control; the other often tends to neutralize them completely.

Donor money would favor the first outcome, self-proclaimed constitutional fundamentalists the second. I would bet on the big bucks every time. No more constitutional vandalism.

Charles Fried
North Hero, Vermont
The author is a professor at Harvard Law School.

For the editor:

My youngest daughter decides where to go to college. Immediately after the Dobbs decision, it struck all colleges in anti-choice states off its list. We will not continue to live in Texas after graduation.

To all companies moving to Texas, I say, beware. Top talent won’t want to work in this state. Once young families realize how difficult reproductive privacy will be in Texas (there is a bounty for outgoing women who wish to terminate their pregnancies), they will demand to be relocated.

It’s crazy that in 2022, women have to notify their human resources department of funds to travel to terminate their pregnancy. Why do they have to negotiate a maze of appointments, plane tickets, hotels, corporate policies and state laws to control the autonomy of their organs? I ask all CEOs, how exactly do you think women will feel going through a ritual that no man will ever need?

Again, we are second-class citizens, while men reign supreme. I say to all the citizens of this country, not live in states that do not support a woman’s autonomy over her body, her life. Do not pay taxes or support any business in these states. We need to boycott all anti-choice states and show them how wrong they are!

For the editor:

Regarding “California’s fight against homelessness has become desperate and dangerous”, by Jay Caspian Kang (Opinion, July 1):

As a psychiatrist with extensive experience working on homelessness issues, I agree that out of political desperation to do something for the people living on our streets, we could be doing more harm than good by implementing the Community Assistance, Recovery and Empowerment Plan, or CARE, of the California Courts, which could involuntarily control the homeless.

In the 1970s, I was the chief psychiatrist for the Napa County Community Mental Health Service in Napa, California when Napa State Hospital was downsized and patients were being discharged for live in communities.

Half of the patients were hospitalized voluntarily and we lost a necessary facility for people who could live in this supportive setting. On the other hand, there were real benefits to ending long-term involuntary commitments there and across the country. Not only did they deny civil liberties, but they also stigmatized mental health services and degraded psychiatric treatment.

We need to increase the number of psychiatric beds now, so that we can support more people who need acute psychiatric care. We also need to increase the staffing of County Conservator’s offices, which can assess people with mental illnesses so severe that they need an appointed Conservator to manage their care and finances, in accordance with applicable laws. And above all we need to expand housing at a lower cost, and with some support services, to get homeless people off the streets.

Stephen A.Fisher
Berkeley, California.

For the editor:

It’s time to stop protesting in Washington. It’s time to stop expecting the federal government to make a positive difference in the lives of Americans.

The Supreme Court has shown by its recent decisions that it is up to Washington to dismantle any semblance of federal government and leave the decisions to the states.

If the polls are correct and the majority of Americans disagree with the Supreme Court’s rulings, they should throw the fight back to their state and local governments.

If people want to see change, they have to start at home. They must vote in every election, no matter how small, no matter how local, because that is where the decisions will be made.

Republicans believe in limited government, and that’s what they delivered. Now, with the Supreme Court they installed, we are reaping the results.

Claudia Sumler