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Banning Books in the Mat-Su School District: Time to Act

Updated: May 23, 2023

Info on MatSu School Board Book Ban
From Alaska Library Association

Come to the MSB School Board meeting on May 24 (this Wednesday) at 6 pm and voice your opposition to the attempt to ban books.

The Mat-Su School Board will discuss and vote on the development of the Library Citizens Advisory Council to review a list of books that echo lists by national conservative movements. The creation of the review committee was first proposed in early April by the MSBSD and requested applications for membership. They got more than 300 applications and decided to have a lottery to select the members of the Council. Well, now they have, once again, changed their mind and propose that each School District board member select a person from their district without providing any details on what qualifications will be used to select members.

Agenda Items for May 24

Really? We are going to trust a School Board who previously banned transgender students from using bathrooms that match their gender identity and banned transgender girls from competing on girls teams?

It's time to push back on this School Board.

Here's what you can do.

It is crucial to convey that the current policy has indeed served the district well, and therefore, there is no need for a new policy. It is essential to assert that parents must have the freedom to choose what books their children read, and it should not be the decision of a small group of parents to impose their choices on the entire district.

There is an excellent fact sheet put out by the Alaska Library Association. Some of their points are:

  • There is no clarity on how the committee will review books. The new policy is unclear. Will a book be removed based on one word, phrase, or section? Will the entirety of the book be examined?

  • What happens after the initial 56 books are reviewed? A list of 56 books has been provided by the district. What happens after these 56 titles are reviewed? Will the new committee review all future challenges and if so, who may issue a challenge and what is the process for doing so? The existing policy spelled all this out clearly. The new procedures are not transparent.

  • A book’s literary or educational value cannot be determined based solely on whether it contains materials that are “indecent” per Alaska Statute 11.61.128. However, the district has listed this as the only criteria that will be considered.

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