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Fri, Sep 23



Forum: Freedom to Read

Join City Club of Boise for a lunch forum about the debate over access to books in Idaho and across the country

Forum: Freedom to Read
Forum: Freedom to Read

Time & Location

Sep 23, 2022, 11:45 AM – 1:00 PM MDT

Boise, 610 Julia Davis Dr, Boise, ID 83702, USA

About the Event

Freedom to Read: The debate over access to books in Idaho and across the country

Across the country books are being challenged in school and community libraries and librarians are on the front lines of protecting access to materials some people find objectionable. In Idaho, pressure to remove or restrict books from library shelves has come from activist groups as well as members of the majority party in the Idaho Legislature.

The City Club of Boise, Ada Community Library, and The Cabin Center for Readers and Writers have teamed up to bring a national expert on this controversy to Boise to sit down with a local school librarian and a local library trustee to discuss how the issue is playing out both nationally and locally. Moderator Jennifer Swindell from Idaho Ed News, which has covered these debates closely around the state, will lead the discussion about how this issue manifests itself in school and community libraries and how it affects access to books by children. The panel will explore what kind of books are being challenged and why, and ask who should and should not be deciding what books make it onto library shelves.

Join us for a lunchtime Forum on Friday, September 23, 2022 from 11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Idaho State Museum.

About the panelists:

Jonathan Friedman, Ph.D., is the director of free expression and education programs at PEN America. He oversees research, advocacy, and education related to academic freedom, educational gag orders, book bans, and general free expression in schools, colleges, and universities. Mr. Friedman is traveling from home in New York to join the panel

Gena Marker has been an educator since 1996 and is currently the teacher-librarian at Centennial High School in the West Ada School District. She holds an M.A. in Literacy from Boise State University and an M.L.S. from the University of North Texas. She is passionate about young adult literature, intellectual freedom, and going on adventures with her family.

Megan Larsen moved with her family to Meridian from Phoenix, Arizona in 2006 and became a regular at the Meridian Library District not long after that. In addition to being an active library patron, she volunteers with the Friends of the Meridian Library and joined the Board of Trustees in January 2014, becoming Chair in 2016. She also serves as Vice-Chair of the Meridian Solid Waste Advisory Committee, recently joined the board of the Idaho Diaper Bank, and is an active volunteer at her church. Megan has an undergraduate degree from Arizona State University and is a proud Boise State alumna, with a Master of Public Administration. She is Director of Operations for COMPASS, an association of local governments working together on long-range planning for the Treasure Valley. When not volunteering and working in the public sector, Megan enjoys spending time with her children and grandchildren.

Managing editor and CEO Jennifer Swindell founded Idaho Education News in 2013. She has led the online news platform as it has grown in readership and engagement ever year, reaching over one million pageviews in 2019. Jennifer has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. She also has served as a public information officer for Idaho schools and as a communication director at Boise State University.

Funding has been provided by the Idaho Humanities Council (IHC) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, and from The Cabin Center for Readers and Writers.

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