One of Michelle Krewson’s fondest memories of the library is walking with her children just a couple blocks from home to the old Coeur d’Alene Public Library on Harrison Avenue.

She wasn’t able to learn typing in high school due to a broken arm, so she learned her way around a keyboard at the library. She taught herself how to type on the Mickey Mouse computer in the kids section while her kids played and pored over books.

“We’ve been frequenting the library forever and ever,” she said. “We love it.”

Krewson stood Monday afternoon by the Coeur d’Alene Public Library at Seventh and Front streets holding a sign that read, “Ban hate, not books” and “We love librarians” during the Library Day of Action, an event organized by the Idaho Democratic Party that called for demonstrations in support of local libraries and librarians across the state as House Bill 710 took effect.

The new law requires Idaho’s public and school libraries to move materials deemed harmful to children or incur $250 in statutory damages that will be awarded to any minor, parent or legal guardian who prevails if the materials are not moved in 30 days. The libraries could face further damages and any other relief available by law.

“It’s my first rally,” Krewson said. “We’re rallying for books.”

Krewson’s daughter, Devin Krewson, stood next to her with a “We love our libraries” sign.

She said the new law itself doesn’t sound like the worst thing, but it could easily become a slippery slope that leads to more controlling laws that don’t need to exist.

“And also, librarians are so important to overall education, and the library is such an important safe space for kids,” Devin Krewson said. “We don’t have enough third places other than work and home, and the library I think is a really important one.”

“Third places” are spaces where people can make friends and build community in casual settings, such as malls, coffee shops, parks and libraries.

“They’re becoming less of a thing,” she said. “The library is a very important third place, a safe place for people to be and somewhere for people to go and get information. With the way this law will affect librarians, I think it will affect libraries as a whole.”

Community members also rallied at the Hayden, Post Falls and Spirit Lake libraries to show their support.

“I just wanted to support our library systems,” said Mike Cooper of Post Falls, who rallied at the Coeur d’Alene library. “The kids need to be able to have access to reading material and I believe it’s up to the parents to regulate that, not a bureaucrat. We’re losing too many of our freedoms.”

Coeur d’Alene mom of four Carissa Hober said she is definitely concerned about the impacts of the new law and feels it’s time for everyone to stand up for what is right.

She said libraries stand for public education and knowledge.

“Everyone deserves to have access to knowledge, and I don’t think that should be limited by government bills,” she said.

Megan Dardis-Kunz, who organized the Coeur d’Alene event and is a social worker, said selfdetermination is a core value of social work. She said this new law impacts everyone, but especially those who live in poverty and those who are marginalized.

“We support people making the decisions that they need to make for their lives,” she said. “I also think about our oppressed and marginalized community, those living in poverty. I come from a place of privilege where if there’s a book I want to read and I can’t get it in the library, I can go buy it. Not everyone in our community has that access.”

Events held across Kootenai County as House Bill 710 becomes law

By DEVIN WEEKS Staff Writer for the CDA Press

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