Joint Statement Against Censorship and Amendment 32 Bill 5150

The South Carolina Library Association (SCLA), the South Carolina Association of Public Library Administrators (SCAPLA), and the South Carolina Association of School Librarians (SCASL) jointly express our strong belief in the First Amendment rights of all South Carolinians to exercise their freedom to read and have unfettered access to information in public, academic, and school libraries.  We condemn any form of censorship and are concerned about recent attempts to censor materials in our state and across the country.

Librarians are degreed, experienced, and trained professionals who work diligently according to thoroughly vetted selection policies to build collections that address the needs of every library user. Addressing the needs of every user means acknowledging that every user is different. Each patron has the right to make their own reading choices, and each parent has the right to guide their own children's use of the library without infringing on the rights of others. Labeling material as “prurient” through legislation such as Amendment No. 32 in Bill 5150, Part 1b, Section 27, endangers patrons and library workers alike by opening them to harassment and threats based on subjective standards. 

The Supreme Court has affirmed this position in Erznoznik v. City of Jacksonville, 422 U.S. 205 (1975): “Speech that is neither obscene as to youths nor subject to some other legitimate proscription cannot be suppressed solely to protect the young from ideas or images that a legislative body thinks unsuitable for them. In most circumstances, the values protected by the First Amendment are no less applicable when government seeks to control the flow of information to minors.” See also Tinker v. Des Moines School Dist., 393 U.S.503 (1969); West Virginia Bd. of Ed. v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943); AAMA v. Kendrick, 244 F.3d 572 (7th Cir. 2001).

Again, we are strong believers in the First Amendment, and the freedom to receive information is the epitome of freedom of speech. South Carolina libraries have the democratic responsibility to ensure that this right is met. 


SCLA Statement on Censorship

The South Carolina Library Association stands behind the South Carolina Association of School Libraries. We support and adopt their statement on censorship, the Freedom to Read, and support of School Libraries. We support school librarians and their ability to select materials based on their training and professional expertise.

It is important now more than ever to stand against censorship and the removal of books or other materials from libraries. Librarians are professionals who have undergone specific training in the selection and acquisition of library materials. They follow collection development policies to aid in the selection of academic and leisure books. SCLA supports the principles of intellectual freedom and believes that all users, regardless of age, have a right to access library materials, services, and facilities. Parents of minors have the right to set restrictions for their own children, but no person or group should have the right to deny access to other children. 

  • SCLA Executive Committee


 2021 Lifetime Members

The following retirees have been approved by the Executive Board for Honorary Membership in the Association

Joyce Durant – Past President – Francis Marion University
Yvonne Davis – Past President – Francis Marion University
Quincy Pugh – Past President, Former Treasurer – Richland Library
Faith Line – Past President – Anderson County Public Library
Terrye Conroy – USC School of Law
Nonie Price – USC School of Library & Information Science
Dr. Curtis Rogers – Past President - SC State Library
Tom Gilson – Past President – College of Charleston


Statements of Solidarity from RAAC and SCLA

Statement of Solidarity
Submitted by
Gerald B. Moore, Chair, Roundtable for African-American Concerns, SCLA

June 8, 2020

The Roundtable for African-American Concerns (RAAC) of South Carolina Library Association (SCLA) stands in solidarity with the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) in condemning violence and racism towards Black people and all people of color. Like BCALA with whom we stand, RAAC seeks to dismantle oppressive systems that continue to deny equal access, equal rights, and deter the advancement and uplifting of our African-American community. The recent killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and Dominique Clayton are the latest in a long, treacherous history of violence against African-Americans in the United States.

As we reflect on this history while in the midst of peaceful protests and uprisings occurring across the nation, we are committed to using our platform to help library workers, library users, and the members of the communities we serve to eradicate racism and its offspring of injustice.

Racism is dehumanizing to everyone it touches. Beyond the actions of individuals, racism is embedded in the very fabric of our society.

We must use diversity, inclusion, and acceptance as the guiding principles in the fight to end acts of prejudice, racial bias, threats of violence, and even blatant killing based solely on a person’s race or ethnicity.

RAAC urges the Executive Board of SCLA and SCLA members to join them in condemning the systemic and systematic oppression of Black people and people of color. We stand with everyone who is actively fighting against repressive systems and we offer our support to those organizing proactive ways to combat racism.

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Statement from the SCLA Executive Committee

June 11, 2020

The SCLA Executive Committee stands in full support of the statements put forth by the Roundtable for African American Concerns and the BCALA, and unequivocally joins them in “condemning the systemic and systematic oppression of Black people and people of color.”

Additionally, our profession and association have a responsibility to not only acknowledge the prejudices and racial biases in our own institutions, but to actively work to overthrow them. Racism and racist policies imbued the very start of libraries in America, and while it is convenient to think that the mere passage of time has eliminated it, the events of the past few weeks show that to not be true. If we are being honest with ourselves, it has persisted because we simply tried to ignore it. White supremacy and anti-Black state-sanctioned violence are alive and well all around the world.

We urge you to join us in condemning systemic and systematic injustice endured by Black people and people of color, and to actively work to promote a culture of anti-racism at home, at work, and in every aspect of our lives. Moreover, we urge you to tell us what you are going to do about it, and what we can do about it together. This is only where we begin.

Statement from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association: https://www.bcala.org/statement-condemning-increased-violence-and-racism-towards-black-americans-and-people-of-color

 


 

Support for You and Your Library

Your membership supports SCLA’s aggressive and productive efforts in the state and nationally to assure that South Carolina’s libraries are well-funded and maintain their national standing as the very best. 

We are a state chapter of the American Library Association (ALA) and an affiliate of the Southeastern Library Association (SELA).  The association is made of librarians from all around our state South Carolina dedicated to providing innovative services and promoting libraries and intellectual freedom to all our citizens including the public, as well as those in higher education and in our schools.

The Benefits of Membership

  • Support for you and your library
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2021 SCLA Scholarship for Diversity Recipients

Anthony Willis

Michael Brown

Randy Heath

Ashley McCants

Elexis Thompson

Mattie Denise Thompson-Long

 

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