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About FTLA

Freedom to Learn Advocates was founded to promote universal access to books and educational resources for all communities regardless of race, economic status, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or political affiliation.

Our mission is to resist initiatives that aim to limit access to books and information, often in the form of book banning policies, which in recent years have been on a troubling rise across our country.

We work to support organizations and public policy that share our ideals, strive for equitable education, and believe that individuals and families should be trusted to decide for themselves what to read and learn.

The Problem

In 2021 alone, the American Library Association tracked an unprecedented 1,597 individual book challenges, up significantly from previous years. Attempts to ban books in the United States aren’t new, but such a dramatic rise is alarming and should sound a warning to citizens who champion our Constitution.

The freedom to learn should not be politically divisive. Unfortunately, book banning has become a politically advantageous issue. An organized and aggressive push to expand the scope of dangerous laws and regulations is already underway, so we must act now.

Recent challenges primarily target books that deal with race and LGBTQ issues. We believe that everyone, but especially vulnerable and historically marginalized members of society, should have access to books that address diverse points of view. Intellectual freedom and free speech are the bedrock of American society that makes positive change possible.

That is why Freedom to Learn Advocates and its allies are dedicated to ensuring that books and quality education are available to every member of society.

Book bans harm communities. In fact, a recent poll shows that the overwhelming majority of respondents across the political spectrum oppose book bans. It’s clear that parents support the right to decide for themselves what their children should read. However, certain well-funded organizations have ramped up their efforts to get books removed from schools and school libraries. But the threat doesn’t stop there. With recent surges in book challenges even our public libraries are at risk. As frightening as it may sound, librarians could be charged with crimes for stocking shelves with books unpopular with some. Thankfully the Supreme Court’s rulings have so far been clear: books are not crimes.

Some argue that banning books protects children. At Freedom to Learn Advocates, we believe that restricting access to information does more harm than good and, rather than protect children, sets them up for failure. Students themselves have courageously resisted book banning and testified that books, more than simply entertainment, can save lives. Books are not the problem, censorship is.

Freedom to Learn Advocates believes that more access is needed, not less. Books provide opportunities for quiet reflection and insight into other peoples’ experiences, enabling parents and teachers to engage in meaningful discussions with young people. Books help our children become better adults and our communities become more engaged, empathetic, and equitable.