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During National Library Week, Hirono Leads Resolution Recognizing Libraries and Library Staff Across the U.S.

~ National Library Week is April 7-13, 2024 ~

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) marked National Library Week by introducing a resolution to recognize the importance of libraries and library staff in the U.S. The resolution commends the work of library staff across the country and recognizes the essential services that libraries and their staff provide to our communities.

“Libraries are essential to our communities—providing access to books, digital resources, local information, and other materials,” said Senator Hirono. “I’m proud to introduce this resolution commemorating National Library Week, in recognition of libraries across the country and their dedicated staff. As conservative groups work to ban books from our schools and libraries and silence the voices of underrepresented communities, this resolution also reaffirms the right of all Americans to free and unfettered access to books and information without obstruction.”

Specifically, the resolution:

  • Expresses support for the staff of public, school, academic, and special libraries in the United States and the services these libraries provide;
  • Recognizes the need for funding to support libraries;
  • Preserves the right of all citizens of the United States to freely access information and resources in their communities;
  • Supports a strong union voice for library workers; and
  • Defends the civil rights of library staff.  

In addition to Senator Hirono, the resolution is also cosponsored by Senators Jack Reed (D-RI), Laphonza Butler (D-CA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Angus King (I-ME), and Alex Padilla (D-CA).

The resolution has been endorsed by the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).

“Libraries are the heart of our communities. They are one of the only spaces where people of all backgrounds can freely learn a new skill, get lost in a book, use the internet or simply find time for themselves. But a steady stream of crises – from the opioid epidemic and COVID-19 to extremist book bans and staffing shortages – have put immense pressure on library workers. They are fighting back, using their voice on the job to keep these essential community centers open,” said AFSCME President Lee Saunders. “This National Library Workers Day, we honor the workers who foster safe spaces for people to learn, grow and create.”

The full text of the resolution is available here.

A staunch advocate against book bans, Senator Hirono has met with officials from the Hawaii State Public Library System to discuss their strategy to address requests to ban certain books from Hawaii’s public libraries. At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Senator Hirono also questioned a panel of experts about the rise in book banning in schools and libraries across the country. The hearing followed a report from the American Library Association stating that requests to ban books at U.S. public schools and libraries hit a 21-year high.