Citizens hold ‘read-in’ in protest of book-banning bills

Published: Mar. 2, 2023 at 9:20 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - More than 200 people gathered outside the Bismarck Veterans Memorial Library Thursday evening in protest of legislation aimed at keeping certain books off library shelves.

It may have been quiet outside the Bismarck Veterans Memorial Library, but the people who gathered here for a “read-in” are hoping their presence and silence speaks volumes.

“Well, I just don’t think it’s right that government, church, individual or group should be allowed to tell me what I can and cannot read or what books I have access to,” said Penny Lind of Bismarck.

This quiet but passionate crowd wants lawmakers at the capitol to know exactly how they feel about two bills aimed at taking what some consider inappropriate books off of library shelves.

The idea of a read-in to draw attention to the cause only made sense to event planners.

“So, a read-in, I mean there’s a lot of tradition you think of sit-ins you think of different ways that people can show their unhappiness with things that might be going on in their government and policies. So, a read-in just felt perfect for a library,” said Beth Schatz Kaylor, who organized the event.

Kaylor said she knows there are many people around the state who support their stance as more read-ins are planned at libraries around the region. She said she hopes this event helps representatives understand these bills would cause ripple effects they may not be aware of.

No one who supported House Bill 1205 or Senate Bill 2360 attended the read-in. However, some proponents of this legislations have been very vocal about their support of it during the legislative session.