Editor, The Beacon:

I noted with concern the story “School Board to talk about book choices” by Eli Witek in the Jan. 26-Feb. 1 issue of The Beacon.

The current system of choice, relying on schools and their media specialists to determine the appropriateness of books for the school library, which may be challenged by parents, seems fair enough.

My concern is that personal politics and religious beliefs could easily be used to manipulate the choices so that, ultimately, school libraries will reflect only a narrow spectrum of thinking that avoids controversy altogether and diminishes the opportunity for students to be exposed to the variety of viewpoints that reflect the nature of our democratic society. The majority may rule, but the right of minorities and alternative views is sacrosanct.

Our very existence is at risk because of unprecedented challenges — widespread destruction of both the natural and built environments due to climate change, pandemics causing social and economic pandemonium, and the loss of trust in our basic institutions.

We need now and will need even more in the future, people who can think of innovative ideas who will have the flexibility of thinking and creative reasoning to collaborate with other innovators to guarantee a sustainable future. These future problem-solvers will be readers who have been challenged to become diverse thinkers. This can only come about if they have access to a diversity of books fairly and deliberately chosen to promote freedom of thought and innovation.

Kathy Hersh



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