IDAHO LIBRARY ASSOCIATION
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ILA Response to the Sustained VETO of H314
On behalf of Idaho’s public and school librarians and staff, the Idaho Library Association would like to express our sincere gratitude to Governor Little and the Representatives in the House who voted to sustain the Governor’s veto of H314.
The freedom to read is essential to our democracy, and libraries serve as the gatekeepers of this right. Idaho’s school and public libraries take seriously their role in providing access to information while also ensuring that materials are high quality, age-appropriate, and representative of everyone in their communities. ILA encourages all Idahoans to visit their local public library and ask the dedicated staff for assistance in finding materials best suited for them and their families. ILA also encourages parents and community members to attend school board meetings and learn about the purpose and function of school libraries. Become familiar with local policies and engage with library staff, trustees, school administrators, and school boards about how materials are selected and shelved.
ILA would also like to extend our heartfelt thanks to the many library staff, trustees, partner organizations and businesses, and community members who opposed H314 and supported us with testimony at the Statehouse, petitions, social media campaigns, opinion pieces, letters, and calls to legislators and the Governor. Your voices mattered most in this effort.
Although this legislative session is over, there is still work to do. We hope that Idahoans who care about their libraries and the freedom of parents to choose what is right for their own families will continue to engage with lawmakers on this issue.
Freedoms are only as strong as the will to exercise them. Libraries are an embodiment of the quintessential American value of freedom of speech. The ILA is extremely proud to stand with other Idahoans in supporting the values of intellectual freedom and open access to information for the great state of Idaho.
Lance McGrath Mary DeWalt Huda Shaltry Erin Kennedy
President Vice President Legislative Chair Intellectual Freedom Committee
Idaho Library Association
ILA Response to Governor Little's VETO of H314
The Idaho Library Association would like to express our sincere appreciation to Governor Little for vetoing H314, a bill that would have placed unnecessary and harmful restrictions on Idaho’s school and public libraries.
The flaws in this bill, which were well articulated by the Governor, would have severely limited the ability of libraries to serve their communities and provide the resources and information people need. Idaho school and public libraries play a vital role in early literacy, reading on grade level, reading for pleasure, and lifelong learning. This bill as law would fundamentally change library services with regard to minors and would imperil our statutory obligation of providing access to information for all the people of Idaho. We are grateful that Governor Little recognized the importance of libraries and their role in promoting intellectual freedom and chose to protect them from this harmful legislation.
ILA strongly encourages all Idahoans to visit their local public library, or reach out to ILA, for assistance in finding materials best suited for their family. We invite citizens to become familiar with local policies and engage with library staff and trustees. Idaho library employees love serving everyone in their community and particularly enjoy helping parents guide their children in library use.
Once again, we extend our heartfelt thanks to Governor Little for vetoing H314 and for standing up for the values of intellectual freedom and open access to information.
Idaho Library Association
ILA Response to House Bill 314
This morning the Idaho Legislature passed House Bill 314. The bill will be transmitted to the governor's desk, where it will await his signature. We urge library supporters to contact Governor Little’s office and ask that he veto H314. Please email Governor Little at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 208-334-2100. If you call, please follow-up with a short email.
The Idaho Library Association affirms its support for the American value of freedom of speech and thought guaranteed in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the Idaho Constitution, even when that speech or idea is unpopular or different, with the exception of unprotected instances of speech. The Idaho Library Association, therefore, stands in steadfast opposition to H314. (Read H314)
The Idaho Library Association is very concerned about the adverse impact this bill, should it become law, will have on Idaho libraries and their mission to serve all members of their communities. Complying with a law that uses vague and subjective definitions of what constitutes harmful material to minors, coupled with the penalty of $2,500 per offense plus legal fees, could result in significantly limited access to information for adult patrons and would be particularly harmful for minors who rely on the library for homework, programs, computers, and meeting space. The bill is fraught with unintended consequences and collateral damage that would impact library collections, policies, practices, and most importantly, the people they serve.
H314 does not represent Idaho values of local control, individual rights, and personal responsibility. The vague language of the bill will have a chilling effect on materials included in library collections and on access. Rural communities and small libraries will be disproportionately impacted by the civil cause of action penalties in the bill.
Be brave. Be bold. Be true.
Note: The information below is provided for archival purposes.
ILA Response to House Bill 139
Idaho librarians continuously give thoughtful consideration to age-appropriate materials for our libraries. As we value an independent-thinking populace, librarians select material that reflects multiple, often contradictory, viewpoints so Idahoans may read freely and form their own opinions.
The Idaho Library Association supports the right of parents and guardians to guide their children's knowledge, and we uphold librarians' longstanding tradition of speaking openly with any concerned community member about material within our libraries. We maintain trust in the ability of librarians, library trustees, and school boards to create collections that best serve their own communities.
ILA continues to encourage librarians and library users to engage in good faith in the legislative process. We trust that we will be able to offer testimony and to meet with legislators without fear of reprisal. We look forward to working collaboratively with our legislators to discuss the value and purpose of libraries in communities throughout our state. We appreciate the opportunity to be involved in meaningful discussions with lawmakers during this legislative session and look forward to working with our elected representatives as we seek to ensure that Idahoans have access to robust and enriching libraries for years to come.
-Lance McGrath, ILA President