In his main segment last Sunday on Last Week Tonight, John Oliver took on the issue of book banning, and did a very good job capturing the state of play. Most notably, he talked about the issue for what it is: an organized right wing political attack. Plus, he took down Book Looks. And his conclusion was on point: our public libraries need support.

If you missed the segment, you can watch it on YouTube here. But even if you've already see the clip, check out the YouTube post anyway just to read the comments. And yes, I can't believe I'm actually suggesting that anyone read the online comments. But in this case, it's worth it.

As we reported in Publishers Weekly this week, a group of families and librarians have filed a federal lawsuit this week seeking to block the implementation of new library material policies enacted by the Autauga-Prattville Public Library Board of Trustees in Alabama.

The suit was filed by the grassroots advocacy group Read Freely Alabama, the Alabama Library Association, and a group of families, with support from Democracy Forward, a nonprofit legal organization that works with local communities around the country to challenge book bans.

"This is about who should get to decide what books our kids get to read—parents or politicians," said Angie Hayden of Read Freely Alabama, in a statement. The suit comes amid a months-long drama which saw allies of right wing group Clean Up Prattville take over the library board and abruptly fire the Autauga-Prattville Public Library director Andrew Foster. It also comes amid a statewide effort to bar librarians from associating with the American Library Association and a battle over new statewide library materials policies for public libraries.

EveryLibrary's John Chrastka has also weighed in on the suit. The post is (as always) on the mark, and it includes links to the court documents and various news coverage. "EveryLibrary affirms its commitment to supporting the plaintiffs in this critical lawsuit," it reads. "We call on the library sector, First Amendment stakeholders, and anyone concerned with anti-discrimination to pay close attention to this case. Together, we must stand vigilant against any attempts to erode our fundamental rights and ensure that our libraries continue to serve everyone without fear or favor."

Also in Alabama, WAFF 48 reports on librarian reaction to a pending bill that would expose librarians to criminal charges for making allegedly obscene books available to minors. "Cindy Hewitt, the Executive Director of the Huntsville-Madison County library, said she’s worried about what will happen to librarians across the state if House Bill 385 is passed. 'I mean, frankly, you know, every library in the state is looking at this and saying, we don’t know how we can operate under this kind of law,' said Hewitt."

In North Carolina, WUNC reports that Franklin County has proposed a budget that would would eliminate all librarian positions in the next school year, with "media assistants" proposed in the librarians' place. "The NC School Library Media Association (NCSLMA), which advocates for school librarians, called the decision 'unconscionable,'" the report notes. "Media assistants 'lack the Master's level education and specific state-mandated training essential for a licensed School Library Media Specialist. As certified instructional personnel, school librarians are specialists in information literacy, a competency increasingly recognized as critical to student success in higher education and the workforce,' the group said in a statement."

And finally this week, at Book Riot, Kelly Jensen begins her weekly censorship news roundup with a primer on how to prepare for Pride month. "For libraries, Pride has traditionally been a month for joyful displays of queer books, with periodic and predictable complaints. But several years into surging book bans, escalating violence, and rising fascism now, it is important to prepare for the upcoming month of events to anticipate all that has, does, and might arise," she writes. "If you’re not involved in libraries, let this be an opportunity to plan not only what to do when you see a Pride display in your local library, but also to take action and write your local library board about how important it is that the library offers LGBTQ+ books and centered programming."

The Week in Libraries is a weekly opinion and news column. News, tips, submissions, questions or comments are welcome, and can be submitted via email. Previous columns can be viewed here.