For immediate release | January 31, 2012

ALA resolution opposing restriction to materials and open inquiry in Arizona ethnic and cultural studies programs

DALLAS - The Council of the American Library Association has adopted a resolution that:

1. Condemns the suppression of open inquiry and free expression caused by closure of ethnic and cultural studies programs on the basis of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.

2. Condemns the restriction of access to educational materials associated with ethnic and cultural studies programs.

3. Urges the Arizona legislature to pass HB 2654, “An Act Repealing Sections 15-111 and 15-112, Arizona Revised Statutes; Relating to School Curriculum.”

HB 2654 has been introduced in The State of Arizona House of Representatives, “An Act Repealing Sections 15-111 and 15-112, Arizona Revised Statutes; Relating to School Curriculum.”

According to the resolution, the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD), in compliance with The State of Arizona Revised Statutes Sections 15-111 and 15-112, had to eliminate its Mexican American Studies (MAS) Program, resulting in the subsequent removal of textbooks and books on the MAS Program Reading List.

Textbooks and reading list titles written by nationally and internationally renowned authors and scholars that reflect this country's rich diverse heritage can no longer be taught or assigned by teachers in the suspended MAS Program.

The resolution, which was adopted on Jan. 24 at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Dallas, states, "Students in the TUSD MAS Program develop critical thinking skills through the study of literature written by ALA award-winning authors; and students have demonstrated proven academic success, graduating from high school at the rate of 90 percent and entering college at a rate of 80 percent."

It adds, "Educators rely on the collection development expertise of school librarians and access to a diverse collection to respond effectively to the individual learning needs of their students."

In adopting the resolution, the council emphasizes that the policy of the American Library Association supports “equal access to information for all persons and recognizes the ongoing need to increase awareness of and responsiveness to the diversity of the communities we serve.”

It also reflects the Association's Freedom to Read Statement, which reads: “The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is continuously under attack. Private groups and public authorities in various parts of the country are working to remove or limit access to reading materials, to censor content in schools, to label 'controversial' views, to distribute lists of 'objectionable' books or authors, and to purge libraries.

“No society of free people can flourish that draws up lists of writers to whom it will not listen, whatever they may have to say.”


Steve Zalusky

Manager of Communications

American Library Association

Public Information Office

(312) 280-1546