During Banned Books Week I always think of the path that led me to where I am today.  I came to work in a public library by accident. Having newly moved to Oregon, I was hired as an assistant in the youth services department in a Washington County library. My early childhood degree, experience as a preschool teacher, and knowledge of children’s literature were a plus as I engaged with families and presented storytimes.  I loved it! I wasn’t sure what the next step in my career would be, but as I learned more about public libraries, their mission, and their role in our society, I was hooked. On to library school I went to fill the gaps in my knowledge.

One of the reasons I chose to be a children’s librarian in a public library is because I believe in its mission. Public libraries provide EVERYONE the opportunity to get information, have access to technology, and choose what they want to read. Public libraries offer a great buffet of reading materials and points of view, where each individual can choose what suits them and leave the rest for someone else.

During Banned Books Week we celebrate that diversity and the defense of EVERYONE’s Right to Read.  I feel so fortunate to be a part of the public library world and our community library.

Jody Westerman, Youth Outreach Librarian    

Jody runs BookShare, the library’s early literacy outreach program that delivers books and storytimes to preschool children in child care sites in the Cedar Mill area.

Resources:

Cedar Mill and Bethany Community Libraries mission statement

2020 Report on Challenges to Intellectual Freedom in Oregon Libraries and Schools (State Library of Oregon)

Challenged in Oregon 2019-2020 Booklist

T0p 100 Most Banned and Challenged Books of the Past Decade (ALA)

Banned Books Week article (The Washington Post)

American Library Association’s Freedom to Read Statement