“That Librarian” Author Amanda Jones in Conversation with Mike Curtin about Banned Books!!

Monday, September 9, 2024 - 7:00pm
Bexley Public Library
2411 East Main Street
Bexley, OH 43209

Gramercy Books partners with Bexley Public Library, Worthington Libraries, and Upper Arlington Public Library to host Louisiana educator, librarian, and activist Amanda Jones who will share her inspiring memoir/manifesto That Librarian: The Fight Against Book Banning in America, in conversation with distinguished journalist and public servant Michael Curtin.

Registration for this free event is on Eventbrite. One can pre-purchase That Librarian during registration. Jones’ book will also be available at the event.

“Amanda Jones started getting death threats, all for standing up for our right to read . . . but she's not stopped fighting against book bans or stopped advocating for access to diverse stories.”--Oprah Winfrey, in a speech at the 2023 National Book Awards.

One of the things small town librarian Amanda Jones values most about books is how they can affirm a young person's sense of self. So, in 2022, when she caught wind of a local public hearing that would discuss “book content,” she knew what was at stake. Schools and libraries nationwide have been bombarded by demands for books with LGTBQ+ references, discussions of racism, and more to be purged from the shelves. Amanda would be damned if her community were to ban stories representing minority groups. She spoke out that night at the meeting. Days later, she woke up to a nightmare that is still ongoing. 

Amanda Jones has been called a groomer, a pedo, and a porn-pusher; she has faced death threats and attacks from strangers and friends alike. Her decision to support a collection of books with diverse perspectives made her a target for extremists using book banning campaigns-funded by dark money organizations and advanced by hard right politicians-in a crusade to make America more white, straight, and "Christian." But Amanda Jones wouldn't give up without a fight: she sued her harassers for defamation and urged others to join her in the resistance. Mapping the book banning crisis occurring across the nation, That Librarian draws the battle lines in the war against equity and inclusion, calling book lovers everywhere to rise in defense of our readers.

That Librarian: The Fight Against Book Banning in America is Jones's love letter to libraries, reading, and intellectual freedom, as well as a testament to her incredible resilience in the face of danger and hatred. This part-memoir, part-handbook is both an intimate look at how she and her family have endured threats and harassment and an insightful glimpse into library procedures and legislation. Jones includes numerous screenshots, photos, and e-mails that, together, present a profound and layered image of the landscape of contemporary book banning. Interspersed through the facts and advice are tender, personal anecdotes and inspiring interactions with the children she has taught over the years.

Amanda Jones has been an educator for 23 years, at the same middle school she attended as a child. She has served as President of the Louisiana Association of School Librarians and won numerous awards for her work in school libraries, including School Library Journal Librarian of the Year. A sought-after keynote speaker, Amanda is a frequent volunteer for state and national library associations, as well as a co-founder of the Livingston Parish Library Alliance and founding member of Louisiana Citizens Against Censorship. She lives in Livingston Parish, Louisiana. 

Mike Curtin is a former editor and associate publisher of The Columbus Dispatch. He also served as president, chief operating officer and vice chairman of The Dispatch Printing Company. During his journalistic career, Curtin specialized in the coverage of local and state government, public policy and electoral politics. He is co-author of the Ohio Politics Almanac, published by Kent State University Press. Following his retirement from the newspaper at the end of 2011, Curtin served for four years (2013-2016) in the Ohio House of Representatives, representing the old 17th District, serving the west and south sides of Columbus. In civic and community service, he has served for nearly 30 years on the boards of some of Ohio’s leading nonprofit organizations. A life-long resident of Columbus, Curtin and his wife, Sharon, have two children and four grandchildren.