Earlier this year, Dayton Metro Library’s Steve Moser, Teen Services Librarian at the Trotwood Branch, collaborated with Jeffrey Trzeciak, DML’s Executive Director, and Holly Richards, DML’s Technical Services Director, to create a proposal to deliver to DML’s Board of Trustees, asking that DML (and all of its Branch locations) be declared a Book Sanctuary.
Trzeciak had approached Moser and shared an article about Book Sanctuaries. “We met,” Moser said, “and discussed how we could make DML a Sanctuary. Jeffrey provided me the steps to take to present a proposal to the Board. We then met with Holly, and then I wrote it.”
Intellectual Freedom and banned books are both topics that Moser and DML are passionate about. The following is a summary of information provided to the Board.
What is a Book Sanctuary?
Book Sanctuaries aren’t just “libraries” with book spines decorating bookshelves with access to free newspapers and Internet. Book Sanctuaries collect and protect endangered books – making them assessible to patrons versus banning them. Book talks, clubs, and programs exist to welcome conversations about diverse themes and characters. Patrons can also be educated on the history of book banning and the importance of protecting their intellectual freedom.
Generally, Banned Book Week is in September every year, but the reality is that the right to intellectual freedom should be focused on year-round – and being a Book Sanctuary will help DML do just that. “Making DML a Book Sanctuary reinforces our commitment to provide our community with diverse, inclusive materials and services and to protect [our patrons’] freedom to read,” Moser’s resolution to the Board states. He then asked the Board to follow in the footsteps of the City of Chicago’s Public Library, and over 2,400 other libraries across the United States, and declare DML a Book Sanctuary.
“It’s important that we address the issue of banned books year-round and support our patrons’ right to intellectual freedom,” stated Trzeciak. “Doing so aligns with Dayton Metro Library’s strategic plan (Know, Learn, Share, Trust, and Bridge). We will continue to serve our communities by supporting the different diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and interests found within, and that begins by ensuring that everyone has access to materials that are endangered and/or may not be found elsewhere.”
On February 15, 2023, DML’s Board of Trustees declared DML a Book Sanctuary. In return, DML pledges:
- to recognize the responsibly that the Library has to protect and promote its patrons’ right to have access to materials as protected by the First Amendment;
- to continue providing support and access in various forms to its diverse communities;
- to acknowledge that its patrons make their own choices in what they choose to view, read, or listen to;
- to make its collection available to everyone, thus giving parents the right to determine what is appropriate for their child;
- to not restrict a patron’s access to its collection;
- and to continue collecting and providing access to endangered materials and protect such materials from bans and censorship.
DML also recently became a member of the American Library Association (ALA), which, according to their website, is the largest and most respected association in the world for the library industry. For more information on DML’s leadership and strategic plan, and to browse its online catalog, visit DaytonMetroLibrary.org. Questions may also be directed to the Library’s Ask Me Line at 937.463.2665.