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The Joy Of Reading Freely

Cheyenne Community shows the LCSD1 Board of Trustees what reading freely looks like at recent Board Meeting.


Cheyenne, WY- As the Laramie County School District #1 Board of Trustees considers changing Library book policy to restrict access to books for district students, a group of about 30 spent their time reading both classic and contemporary banned books at its most recent Board Meeting Monday Evening.


After listening to presentations celebrating the achievements of students and educators, defenders of the freedom to read spent the remainder of the meeting reading books like: Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur, Grown by Tiffany Jackson, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, The Black Friend by Fredrick Joseph, Harry Potter by JK Rowling and the Bible, among many others. Students of all ages also participated, with the youngest reading All's Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamison, and Seahorse: The Shyest Fish in the Sea by Chris Butterworth.




The purpose of the "Read-In" was to demonstrate the joy of reading freely for Trustees and to celebrate some of the titles that have or are being targeted.


"This was a fun form of expression and those board members who don’t seem to hear us might get the message better visually that we oppose library policy change." Said Librarian Suzan Skaar, who read the Margaret Atwood classic The Handmaid's Tale during the meeting.



The LCSD#1 Board of Trustees is accepting public comment until November 10, on a proposed change to library policy at the urging of a small but loud group who want to remove or restrict access to books in our district. Local opponents of books are working at the direction of out of state political organizations that do not understand that Wyomingites value freedom above all else, and reject government overreach.


Families in the district already have full control over materials their student can access. District educators provide easy to use opt-out forms and offer assistance to families wishing to restrict books for their students. Out of nearly 14,000 students in the district, the families of 42 students currently utilize these tools.


Instead of simply calling their student's school, or educating themselves about the books available in libraries, proponents of changing the policy rely on misinformation about books, citing out-of-context passages and declaring educators are villains trying to corrupt the minds of children.


Librarians, are highly educated and dedicated to curating age-appropriate collections to serve a diverse population of students. While a few parents may object to some titles, there is unequivocally nothing meeting the definition of pornography anywhere in LCSD#1, and those who claim otherwise are either misinformed, or spreading misinformation.


The freedom to read is foundational to the American Experience. Reading that challenges one's point of view only serves to help us understand the world around us in a more complete way. This sentiment was shared and celebrated by those who attended last night's meeting and by the overwhelming majority of Wyomingites who believe that FREE PEOPLE READ FREELY.




TO GET INVOLVED:


Tell the LCSD#1 to leave the current policy alone. Fill out this 30 second form telling the board to NOT CHANGE THE POLICY: Click here for the form


Email your thoughts to the board. Once you've filled out the above form, if you'd like to give more comprehensive thoughts on the freedom to read- write an email and send to rebecca.gill@laramie1.org. Ms. Gill will forward your thoughts on to the board.


Attend a school board meeting. Upcoming meetings are 11/6, 11/20 & 12/4 Reach out to us if you'd like info on making public comments. jensolis@outlook.com


Follow the LCSD#1 Books in Context Facebook page or on Instagram. You'll learn about the books being targeted in Laramie County .



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