AN OPEN LETTER FROM AUTHORS AND CREATORS

April 13, 2022

To the Members of the Lafayette Public Library Board of Control:

We, the undersigned, would like to join with the patrons of the Lafayette Parish Public Library system in urging you to reject recent calls for censorship in your community, and to reverse your recent decision to change the composition of Reconsideration Committees in order to favor board members’ votes above those of librarians.

We believe that libraries are extremely important spaces in our communities. They not only provide access to information, but to experiences and perspectives beyond our own. This, as you must know, is an absolutely vital function. As trustees of the library, you are key to that purpose. It is for that reason we appeal to you now.

As creators of these stories, we are alarmed to hear of the rise in censorship around the country. We are even more disturbed by the fact that the majority of books and other materials challenged have featured authors or characters who are women, members of the LGBTQ+ community, or people of color.  In Lafayette, recent challenges have included a book by an LGBTQ+ author (This Book is Gay) and a book by a woman (The V Word). In addition, an upcoming reconsideration appeal concerns a documentary about LGBTQ+ individuals (Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood).

Louisiana is known around the world for the richness of its culture and its contributions to the arts. For censorship to gain a foothold there would be a tragedy not only for your community, but for the world, sending the message that intolerance and prejudice continue to fear the free exchange of ideas and new perspectives.

We know Lafayette, Louisiana is better than that.

Sincerely,

Juno Dawson, Author, This Book is Gay