NEWCASTLE — The Lincoln County Democratic Committee will hold its next meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 27 as a hybrid meeting. The n-person meeting will be at the Newcastle Fire Station, 86 River Road or people can attend via Zoom.
The agenda includes a discussion of the recent increase in book challenges and censorship efforts in Maine and across the country. School boards across the state – including in Lincoln County – have faced an increasing number of book challenges over the past year, which have largely centered around books written by and about LGBTQ+ people and people of color. More than 2,500 book titles were targeted for censorship in the US last year, a 38% increase over the year before, according to the American Library Association.
Now, a bill before the Legislature would escalate these book bans statewide by expanding Maine’s obscenity law to include schools. Under the current version of the bill, librarians and educators could be charged with a Class C felony if they violate the law.
Wynter Giddings and Savannah Sessions from the Maine Library Association and Karen Silverman from the Maine Association of School Libraries will talk about these censorship efforts and how to address them locally and statewide.
This is the third in LCDC’s series on legislative advocacy, and all Lincoln County Democrats and unenrolled progressives are welcome to attend.
“Efforts to censor books and other materials in our schools is cause for great concern in any situation, but especially when these efforts seem to be so clearly targeted at books about people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals,” said Kelli Whitlock Burton, LCDC chair. “We look forward to learning what we can do to support librarians, educators, students and our communities.”
Giddings, current president of the Maine Library Association and also serving her first term on the Maine Library Commission, is the manager of technology and training at Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick and has worked in public libraries for 11 years.
Sessions, in her second term as the chair of the Maine Library Association Legislative Advocacy Committee, also serves on the board of the Charlotte Hobbs Memorial Library in Lovell. She has been a school librarian for nine years, in education for 11 years, and works at a public school in western Maine.
Silverman is chair of the Maine Association of School Libraries Intellectual Freedom Committee and is a member of the MASL board and the Maine Student Book Award board. She has been a librarian for years, the last 10 as a school librarian.
LCDC committee business will include an update on the special election for Maine House District 45, with comments from Democratic candidate Wendy Pieh of Bremen. LCDC members will also elect people for state and county offices, hear updates from Democratic town committees and conduct other business.
Voting members of the LCDC will automatically receive the log on information and reminders by email. Those interested in becoming a voting member must be a registered Democrat in Lincoln County and may make their interest known by indicating such on the meeting registration form, https://lincolncountydemocrats.com/meet, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pre-registration is required for non-voting members to receive Zoom log on and/or phone-in details. Register at https://lincolncountydemocrats.com/meet before Noon the day of the meeting to ensure access. They will also do their best to accommodate last-minute registrations.
Information about the committee, its meetings and other activities may be found at https://lincolncountydemocrats.com or https://www.facebook.com/lincolncountydems/.
The Lincoln County Democratic Committee promotes the ideals, principles, and philosophy we share as Democrats. The nomination and election of candidates who advocate these ideals and principles ensure an effective, democratic government of and for all the people.