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It's not easy to speak in front of a group. We understand that. However, when the stakes are this high, we are all called to stand up for democracy and free speech. If ordinary citizens do not find the courage to stand up and defend our libraries, no one will. Attending board meetings is one of the most important ways you can stop the censorship of library books and materials in its tracks. This is where the majority of these decisions are made, and citizen input is critical.

That said, we understand being nervous about not knowing what to say! You are always welcome to reach out to us for help composing remarks or understanding proposed policy, but we've also compiled a list of helpful tips for speaking at these meetings.

  1. By law in Louisiana, agendas for public meetings must be posted at least 24 hours in advance. Most are posted online at the library or school board's website, but if you can't find a copy, don't hesitate to call the administrative office and ask. 

  2. Most public comments are limited to 3 minutes. Feel free to write out notes for what you'd like to say, or even your entire speech. Personal details are important, if possible. Tell board members how the proposed changes or restrictions would negatively affect you or your family.  

  3. Be on time, be respectful of others' voices, but do not be intimidated - you have the right to be there!

Sample Talking Points (Courtesy of Unite Against Book Bans)

  • Reading is a foundational skill, critical to future learning and to exercising our democratic freedoms.

  • We can trust individuals to make their own decisions about what they read and believe.

  • Parents have the right to guide their children's reading, but parents should not be making decisions for other parents' children. Specifically, a small group of parents should not dictate what books other people's children are allowed to read.

  • Books are tools for understanding complex issues. Limiting young people's access to books does not protect them from life's complex and challenging issues.

  • Young people deserve to see themselves reflected in a library's books.

  • Removing and banning books from public libraries is a slippery slope to government censorship and the erosion of our country's commitment to freedom of expression.

  • Please reject any efforts to ban books and allow individuals and parents to make the decision about what they can read and believe.

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