Mayor of Dearborn promises not to remove any books from public libraries – Press and guide

As protests and complaints against certain books have raged in Dearborn recently, the mayor has vowed not to let these complaints influence how Dearborn Public Libraries selects books.

The book banning protests has so far been limited to concerns about specific titles in the Dearborn Public School Library, not city-owned buildings.

Mayor Abdullah H. Hammoud took to social media on September 27 to offer his thoughts on the matter.

“Not a day goes by that I’m not proud to be a product of our Dearborn Public Schools and a patron of our amazing public library system. Our schools and public libraries are the sandbox of democracy, where young people learn to interact with different people and ideas, to lay the foundations for citizenship,” he wrote. “We are at our best when our institutions include all of us, regardless of our background, zip code or mother tongue. Everyone in our city has the right to gain knowledge that enhances their unique life journey, and we should refuse the false choice between parental responsibility and the freedom to learn. As a parent and as mayor, I believe we can have both. »

Crowds at the pro-book banning protest held in Dearborn on September 25. (Michael Kuentz – For MediaNews Group)

Complaints against 13 book titles, only eight of which have been made public, began earlier in September when a parent of a student at Edsel Ford High School filed a police report. This caused the Board of Education to take action against seven titles and to begin researching new procedures to handle future complaints.

The seven books that have been banned from school libraries are:

“Push” by Sapphire, “All Boys Aren’t Blue” by George M. Johnson, “And They Lived” by Steven Salvatore, “The Lovely Bones” by Alice Sebold, “Eleanor & Park” by Rainbow Rowell, “Red , White and Royal Blue” by Casey McQuiston and “This Book is Gay” by Juno Dawson off the shelves, with the promise of more book reviews.

Five of these titles were available in school libraries and the other two were available digitally.

The school board has also cut student access to OverDrive, an online library, and the Sora app has been taken down while DPS decides what to do with district libraries. The Sora app gives students access to the OverDrive book library.

Stephanie Butler, the parent who filed the original complaint, also called out Mike Curato’s “Flamer.” Butler said she complained about five other books, but did not name them publicly.

While Hammoud acknowledged he could not control the school library, he vowed not to let such complaints affect city-owned buildings.

“A healthy debate is essential to any democracy, and no debate should vilify our fellow citizens,” he said. “At our best, Dearborn is a welcoming community that invites people from all walks of life to be unabashedly themselves. Even on issues as important as our children’s education, people can disagree on ideas without letting bad faith actors tear our community apart.

“Nationally, we have witnessed attempts to restrict access to information and literary works. But make no mistake: at root, these are attempts to limit our freedoms and it won’t stop there. The same dangerous ideology that once viewed people like me as “a problem” in Dearborn is now being revived under the guise of preserving “freedom.” »

Book cover
The cover of “This Book is Gay” by Juno Dawson. (Photo courtesy of Amazon.com)

Hammoud, who has a young daughter himself, urged parents across the city to think rationally and not make instinctive decisions.
“To my fellow parents, we have a responsibility to raise our children with the values ​​we hold dear. And while attacks are launched, remember that our children are watching. We have a duty to protect the dignity of our neighbours, regardless of their opinions, and to ensure that our hometown never loses its welcoming spirit,” he said. “As mayor, it is my responsibility to ensure that our children have the tools to create their own future. Our libraries serve as a gateway to knowledge, a gateway to imagination, and a gateway to possibilities. As far as the libraries of our city are concerned, for the good of our children, no books will be removed from the shelves.

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