To our nation’s hardworking librarians —
You share words with the world, and as we close out National Library Week, I want to share two words with you: Thank you.
In my childhood, I struggled with undiagnosed dyslexia. Books and words weren’t just difficult to read — they felt entirely out of reach. Without them, my world was far smaller than it could have been: I avoided classrooms and libraries for reasons I couldn’t fully understand or articulate. But as I grew, my world did too. Through support, advice, and mentorship from specialists, educators, and librarians too numerous to list, I didn’t just fall in love with words… my life started revolving around them. Because people — people like you — took the time to care about me, to show me the power of words and the power of books, I was able to find my footing in business, service, and eventually, elected office. I am in your debt.
You helped get me here. And my story isn’t unique. Librarians change lives every day. Your impact goes far beyond book recommendations (although, you have recommended many great books over the years). You help us start new chapters at every stage of our lives, showing us the magic of reading as children, and teaching us new skills in our golden years. You are the heart of our communities, providing a way out and a way up for those unsure of where they’re going — including those who are unhoused, unemployed, or simply looking for a new path.
You guard the sanctity of our pasts, good and bad, as you shepherd the possibilities of our tomorrows.
And yet, despite your indispensable contributions — or perhaps because of them — you have become the target of unjust attacks across the nation. Idealogues and demagogues are attacking you for championing diversity, inclusion, and equity — for making sure our children and all people belong. You are facing censorship, battling record numbers of book bans and challenges, as you defend free access to literary works, especially those written by authors who are often targeted: LGBTQ+ writers, writers of color, and those daring to challenge the status quo.
It is more important than ever that we have your back and that we ensure and expand access to public libraries and defend your essential role in preserving freedom. We must refuse to dabble in the zealotry of whitewashing literature and banning books. And in California, we are. Together, we’ve accomplished some incredible things: investing hundreds of millions to equitably improve and modernize your workplaces; working to preserve and share our historically and culturally significant materials by investing in library digitization; renovating and enhancing the Jewish Family and Children’s Services Holocaust Center Library and Archives building; expanding and diversifying our library resources to promote health and wellness and reflect our multilingual and multicultural communities; and beyond. We’ve even worked with Dolly Parton to establish a Statewide Imagination Library.
In California, we know libraries hold more than books — so much more. Libraries, and librarians, stand at the crossroads of opportunity and information, acting as gateways to online job training and educational upskilling programs; to state parks by enabling people to check out a parks pass, regardless of income; and to food through free lunch programs. And above all else, our library walls hold the most valuable treasure: you.
So, I will continue to stand up for you — and stand up to those that get in your way. California has your back, because you’ve always had ours. You’ve always had mine.
I know from my own challenges with dyslexia that when we help people read, we help them succeed. You do that every day. The value of a librarian is inestimable — you go beyond books, and even beyond knowledge. You open the doors to possibility. To opportunity, imagination, and the pursuit of freedom. I’ve experienced it firsthand.
This National Library Week, and always, thank you.
Governor of California
Gavin Newsom is the governor of California.
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Dr. Jay Prado 4 weeks ago4 weeks ago
I can't make head or tail out of some of these comments. Just because a school library (or any library) has a book you don't agree with doesn't mean kids have to read it, does it? My library has Mein Kampf on the shelf, but I'm not interested in it so I'll read one of the ten thousand other books they have. What am I missing? Seems like some of these folks can't trust others … Read More
I can’t make head or tail out of some of these comments. Just because a school library (or any library) has a book you don’t agree with doesn’t mean kids have to read it, does it? My library has Mein Kampf on the shelf, but I’m not interested in it so I’ll read one of the ten thousand other books they have. What am I missing? Seems like some of these folks can’t trust others to choose for themselves.
Araceli Justiniani 1 month ago1 month ago
Gov Newsom, I am an immigrant from Mexico and worked in the school districts for many years. The books coming into our school libraries are unacceptable. Confusing young children about their gender saying there are many genders is an assault on our Hispanic Community. This is brainwashing and deception to immigrant parents.
Brenda Lebsack - Teacher 1 month ago1 month ago
Jim Smith, It's obvious you did not read my entire comment or attached links. It's not just about bathhouses, it's about insane teachings in our school library books, telling kids that their gender can change like the weather based on their feelings. And these unlimited gender choices relate to grooming as you can read the link here: https://timcast.com/news/opinion-us-taxpayers-unknowingly-fund-grooming-and-pedophilia/ I wouldn't want my child groomed by anyone or anything - church, school, library, club, or … Read More
It’s obvious you did not read my entire comment or attached links. It’s not just about bathhouses, it’s about insane teachings in our school library books, telling kids that their gender can change like the weather based on their feelings. And these unlimited gender choices relate to grooming as you can read the link here: https://timcast.com/news/opinion-us-taxpayers-unknowingly-fund-grooming-and-pedophilia/
I wouldn’t want my child groomed by anyone or anything – church, school, library, club, or scouting program.
Judi Karcher 1 month ago1 month ago
What a beautiful description of all librarians. You are all that and more. I am a tutor in a library tutoring dyslexic adults who want to learn to read. It is a privilege and a joy to share in the education and growth of those I have had the privilege to teach. Thank you all and Governor Newsom! Judi Karcher
Cecil Howell 1 month ago1 month ago
The California constitution begins, "We, the People of the State of California, grateful to Almighty God..." and continues, "The people have the right to..." the"...Free exercise and enjoyment of religion without discrimination or preference are guaranteed." As a resident of California, I am grateful to that same Almighty God and fully acknowledge, respect and recognize the Judeo-Christian values that are the foundation of this nation and state. I, as a Muslim, further submit that … Read More
The California constitution begins, “We, the People of the State of California, grateful to Almighty God…” and continues, “The people have the right to…” the”…Free exercise and enjoyment of religion without discrimination or preference are guaranteed.”
As a resident of California, I am grateful to that same Almighty God and fully acknowledge, respect and recognize the Judeo-Christian values that are the foundation of this nation and state. I, as a Muslim, further submit that this is a heavily religious state with less than 30% of the population is non-religious and the vast majority of the Christian faith (Protestant, Catholic, etc.) to the tune of 66%+.
You are the governor of the state of California (not the state of LGBTQ) where less than 10% is from the LGBTQ “community,” many of whom also do not agree with your incessant obsession with putting LGBTQ material in the hands of children. Your pushing of the LGBTQ agenda and ideology into public libraries is completely antithetical to the ability of the vast majority of citizens of this state to freely exercise and enjoy their religion within the state.
Moreover, your statement that “writers of color” are targeted is a dismissal of reality itself. I am a person of color and I raised my kids in California taking them to the library to read books by writers of color.
So, you push the agenda of less than 10% of the population to the detriment and opposition of more than 70% of the population? Make it make sense. That is nothing more than a preference. Clearly you are in “love” with something else other than the residents and laws of our state.
Reggie Lambert 4 weeks ago4 weeks ago
You say you’re a Muslim. What if a small group of people decided they didn’t want their kids exposed to books about Muslims? Censorship is a slippery slope.
DONALD SMITH 1 month ago1 month ago
Thank you. At least California recognizes the importance of professional librarians and all libraries.
Brenda Lebsack - Teacher 1 month ago1 month ago
Dear Gov. Newsom, As a public school teacher for nearly 30 years, may I ask why the School Library Journal is endorsing primary story books such as What Are Your Words? and It Feels Good To Be Yourself, that teach young impressionable children that their pronouns and gender can change like the weather based on their feelings? Local librarians are not the cause of this mayhem. They are only doing what they're told … Read More
Dear Gov. Newsom,
As a public school teacher for nearly 30 years, may I ask why the School Library Journal is endorsing primary story books such as What Are Your Words? and It Feels Good To Be Yourself, that teach young impressionable children that their pronouns and gender can change like the weather based on their feelings? Local librarians are not the cause of this mayhem. They are only doing what they’re told to do in order to keep their jobs. Here are screen shots of the books in our children’s elementary schools and public children’s libraries in Orange County, Calif. I also found them in the Waco, Texas public library children’s sections. https://interfaith4kids.com/index.php/our-media/gender-books-in-elementary-schools-cause-gender-confusion-in-children
Other books that are now coming into elementary schools, such as in my school district (SAUSD) show children mixing with nude adults. Here are screen shots and my thoughts about this as a teacher and parent. https://interfaith4kids.com/index.php/our-media/children-mix-with-nude-adults-in-elementary-school-books.
What you call inclusive, others call exploitive.
Jim Smith 1 month ago1 month ago
Much more likely that a child will be groomed by a church leader than a book about bathhouses.