Letters to the editor April 11

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Library out of line

After reading the editorial by Ms. Stockham (April 4) and the response of the ImagineIF library, Iím saddened, though not surprised, that Flathead County has sunk to such a low level.

I agree with Ms. Stockham that the book the library chose to read to 4- and 5-year olds was inappropriate. Itís quite obvious that this was just another example of a government entity forcing its political and cultural agenda on an unsuspecting public. It is the height of arrogance for the library to think it has the right or responsibility to teach others, especially young children, about sexuality. As a parent, let me state without reservation, that job is reserved for the parents. And I hope that the parents of the children who were subjected to this indoctrination express their outrage.

As a taxpayer, an inordinate percentage of my taxes goes to funding public education and the library. Unfortunately, much of what is taught conflicts with what my children are taught at home. My tax dollars are being used to hurt my children. In an age of tolerance (but only tolerance of those who have a liberal agenda), drag queen library readings, boys competing in girlsí sporting events and sharing girlsí showers, itís no wonder that kids are so confused, unhappy and morally challenged.

I intend to contact the county commissioners regarding this latest incident of parental undermining and cultural sabotage being perpetrated by the people using my tax dollars. I hope everyone else will do the same. It is my hope that the commissioners will stand up for the parents and taxpayers in Flathead County and fire the persons responsible for this egregious action.

óDoug Adams, Whitefish

Censorship is not the answer

Since 1990, the American Library Associationís Office for Intellectual Freedom has recorded more than 10,000 book challenges, including 323 in 2016. A challenge is a formal, written complaint requesting a book be removed from library shelves or school curriculum. About one in four challenges are to material in public libraries. Office for Intellectual Freedom estimates that less than one-quarter of challenges are reported and recorded.

It is thanks to the commitment of librarians, teachers, parents and students that most challenges are unsuccessful and reading materials like ďI Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,Ē the Harry Potter series, and ďThe Lord of the Rings,Ē remain available.

The most challenged and/or restricted reading materials have been books for children. Challenges are not simply an expression of a point of view; on the contrary, they are an attempt to remove materials from public use, thereby restricting the access of others. Even if the motivation to ban or challenge a book is with good intention, the outcome is detrimental. Censorship denies our freedom as individuals to choose and think for ourselves.

If parents disagree with certain aspects or facts about our society, they have the right, and the responsibility, to have a conversation with their children regarding those topics. If you live in society, you and your children will be exposed to topics that you disagree with, and that may make you uncomfortable. Itís inevitable, but, more importantly, itís an opportunity for self-reflection and discussion. Itís an opportunity to teach compassion, understanding and tolerance. Censorship is not the answer.

American libraries are the cornerstones of our freedom. Libraries are for everyone, everywhere. Because libraries provide free access to a world of information, they bring opportunity to all people, for all people, not just specific demographics or specific world views.

óMarci Olsen, Kalispell

Indoctrination of children

I believe that the indoctrination of children in school or the library should not begin at preschool. Middle school is soon enough that they are presented with the diversities of life.

óJoanne White, Kalispell

Time to invest in infrastructure

The 66th Legislative Session presents a golden opportunity to make a lasting investment in our stateís future by providing much needed infrastructure funding while the economy is strong. Two worthwhile examples of projects included in HB 562, the infrastructure funding bill, are the renovation of Romney Hall and the Montana Historical Society Building.

The renovation of Romney Hall on the Montana State University campus would transform one of the least-used academic buildings to one of the most highly utilized at a fraction of the cost of new construction. Additional classroom space at the Bozeman campus is urgently needed as enrollment has increased by 37 percent in 10 years. MSU has been incredibly fortunate that two alumni, Jake Jabs and Norm Asbjornson, have donated a combined $75 million to fund the construction of buildings for the colleges of business and engineering. These two new building have helped MSU stay narrowly ahead of a classroom crunch. However, MSU has not been successful in raising funds to renovate Romney Hall which would benefit all students.

The Montana Historical Society is a true Montana treasure perfectly located in the 70-year-old Pioneers Memorial Building in the center of the state capital complex. Like Romney Hall, the Historical Society building is structurally sound, but in need of renovation and significant expansion. Unfortunately, nearly 90 percent of the museumís nearly 50,000 historical artifacts and significant pieces of art are in storage due to a lack of exhibit space including about one-third of the 225 original Russel works owned by the people of Montana. Montana has a rich and vibrant history. It needs to be displayed and enjoyed by Montanans now and in the future.

ó Bill Sanderson, Somers

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