Banned in Massachusetts: Libraries on the Front Lines of the Culture Wars
Book banning in school and public libraries has surged across the country in 2021 and 2022, and with it has come harassment, threats, and punitive laws against teachers and librarians. Massachusetts Library Association’s Co-Chair of the Intellectual Freedom and Social Responsibilities Committee, Andrea Fiorillo, and Nahant Public Library’s Director, Sharon Hawkes, join Salem Athenaeum’s Executive Director, Jean Marie Procious, to discuss this disturbing trend and what it may mean for libraries across the United States.
Andrea Fiorillo is Co-Chair of the Massachusetts Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom/Social Responsibility Committee and the Head of Research and Reader Services at the Reading Public Library.
Sharon Hawkes has been involved in the public library field since 2005, after a long career in the performing arts. She received her undergrad degree from NYU in 1980 and her master’s degree in library and information science from Syracuse University in 2008, and has served as director at Nahant’s library since 2015. Her interest in the recent spate of book banning stems from a protest over a book where she worked in Lewiston-Auburn, Maine.
Jean Marie Procious is Executive Director of the Salem Athenaeum and has served as its librarian since 2005. With 25 years of library experience, Jean Marie is also an archivist specializing in preservation management. She previously worked at the Peabody Essex Museum’s Phillips Library, Harvard Business School Baker Library Historical Collections, the Julia Rogers Library at Goucher College, and the Hiram College Library. She has a master’s degree in Library and Information Science from Simmons University and a BA in History from Hiram College.