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Library Advocacy

The Prince George’s County Memorial Library System (PGCMLS) provides a collaborative foundation within the community for all Prince Georgians to create the world they want to see. Community members have an important role to play in championing the essential services and programs that the PGCMLS provides to enhance life in Prince George’s County. Together, the Library, Board of Library Trustees, PGCMLS Foundation, friends groups, and customers shape the future of PGCMLS by sharing stories, strengthening relationships with partners, and celebrating the transformational work the Library carries out each day.

Text PGCMLS to 50457 to receive advocacy alerts by SMS (carrier charges may apply).

Banned and Challenged Books 

 Library association reports record number book ban attempts in 2022

Unite Against BookBans logo

ALA issued a press release showing new data that sheds light on this disturbing national trend. The record spike in book bans during 2022 did not originate from individual conversations with concerned parents. Overwhelmingly, these challenges were presented by groups and individuals at library board meetings that demanded the removal of long lists of books obtained from organized censorship groups who share these lists on social media. These well-organized attempts at censorship must be stopped. 

Follow Unite Against Book Bans on social media: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram 

Check the updated Unite Against Book Bans website for more information. 

PGCMLS believes that every story deserves to be told, and each reader should be trusted to make their own decisions about what to read.

71% of voters oppose efforts to remove books from public libraries.

Full poll results and key findings available via the American Library Association.

The American Library Association (ALA) reported more than 729 attempted bans of 1,597 individual books in 2021 alone, with numbers rising in 2022. Yet, more than half of all voters in the US oppose efforts to remove banned books from public libraries. According to a 2022 survey of voters across America:

  • Nine in 10 voters (90%) and parents (92%) have a favorable opinion of librarians who work in local public and school libraries. 66% of voters and 65% of parents consider themselves very favorable toward librarians.
  • The vast majority of voters (89%) and parents (93%) say local public libraries play an important role in communities across the country, including their own.
  • Nearly eight in 10 voters (79%) across party affiliation have expressed their trust in librarians, and say libraries in their community do a good job of offering books that represent a variety of viewpoints.
  • 83% of voters and 86% of parents say that they are more likely to trust librarians when they hear that librarians are trained to not impose their own thoughts and opinions on which ideas are right, but to make knowledge and ideas available so that people have the freedom to choose what to read.

Books broaden readers' perspectives. Books reach across boundaries and build connections between readers. Censorship divides communities and creates barriers. Book bans deny readers the opportunity to expand their horizons and encounter new perspectives.

Books are tools for understanding complex issues. When books are banned from libraries and schools, students cannot access critical information to help them understand themselves and the world around them. Parents lose the opportunity to engage in teachable moments with their kids, and communities lose the opportunity to learn and build mutual understanding. Limiting young people's access to books does not protect them from life's complex and challenging issues.

Books give readers and families the freedom of choice. Reading opens doors to new ideas and experiences. Each reader should be trusted to make their own decisions about what to read. Librarians and educators are trained to make all kinds of knowledge and ideas available so that people have the freedom to choose what to read. These professionals respect the rights of parents to decide which book their children are exposed to, and work closely with parents to help them decide the best books for their children.

Most Challenged Books

National Advocacy


Tell Congress to Invest in Libraries!

The federal appropriations process began with the President’s  FY24 proposed budget, before moving on to the House and Senate. Library champions in both chambers are leading our budget request letters and working hard to make the case for increased library funding through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and the Innovative Approaches to Literacy program (IAL): 

  • In the House, Reps. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) and Don Bacon (R-NE) are leading the LSTA letter, and Reps. Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Bacon are leading the IAL letter.  
  • In the Senate, Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) is leading both letters! 

We are requesting funding of at least $232 for LSTA and $50 million for IAL. Learn more about the campaign – and find tools to share this action – at ALA’s #FundLibraries homepage

Speak Up for Library Funding!

The Prince George's County Memorial Library System was recently awarded $2.2 million in the FY23 federal budget to obtain and launch "Rover: Library 2Go," a new mobile library unit that will deliver library services, internet, borrowable technology, and career services to neighborhoods that do not have easy access to a neighborhood branch library. This opportunity was made possible by Representative Anthony Brown (MD-4) and Senator Chris Van Hollen through their FY23 community project program. Additional support from community members like you demonstrated the need for this important resource.

Library customers are encouraged to contact their federal representatives to thank them for supporting federal budget increases for libraries. Please contact your legislators today using the American Library Association’s engagement website or calling their offices (see phone numbers for the House and Senate). Prince George’s County’s federal representatives in the 118th Congress are:

State and Local Advocacy

The 2023 Session of the General Assembly of Maryland takes place from January 11-April 10, 2023. The statewide public library community engages with state lawmakers year-round to promote awareness of the work of local public libraries. Maryland Library Legislative Day (February 15) is an annual event that brings library leaders and advocates together with lawmakers in Annapolis to discuss important legislative issues. In 2023, public libraries are advocating for extending state per capital funding for public libraries, expanding early literacy programs across the state, increasing per capita funding for the Maryland State Library Resource Center, establishing the Aging Infrastructure Capital Improvement Program, and more. 

Prince George’s County Budget 

The Prince George’s County government approved the Library’s FY23 operating budget on June 1, 2022. The budget includes funding for key staffing at the newly expanded Bladensburg Branch Library, funding for critical cybersecurity infrastructure, and more. Thank County Executive Alsobrooks and the Prince George’s County Council for their support of PGCMLS. Find your county elected representatives.

Prince George’s County FY23 Budget Portal

Advocacy Resources

Advocacy and Customer Relations Guide PDF

Community Feedback

"Just wanted to thank Greenbelt Branch Library staff for the great book bundle - these picks are a hit!!"
"Big supporter/fan of my local @PGCMLS and all they are doing to keep staff safe while providing curbside service."
"Just got back from a curbside pickup. Oxon Hill staff were super helpful, as always."
"I miss hanging out at my local library so much! I hope all of you are well and I can’t wait to get books in person again!"
"Thank you for the work you do to keep resources available to patrons and the creative ways you are reaching out to encourage all to take advantage of they online programs you offer."
"I have been using the curbside pickup. I would not ask for better service. Not only that, but the efficiency and the kindness of the entire staff, from the people who put the books out to the guard, are noteworthy. Wonderful experience all around. Thank you."
"The library has been a consistent, reliable resource for me and my family to meet our academic, social and personal development needs. And the librarians are the BEST!!!!! Over the last 20 years I'm come to know many of the librarians and they've always been extremely helpful. The children's programming is amazing. And the ease of use of online services. For all these reasons I love and appreciate the services of PGCMLS."
"I love the Prince George's library system. A lot of thought went into your offerings and I, for one, and very grateful. I use your audiobook and ebook collection heavily. And while using the actual libraries is not an option right now when it is back on offer I will be there!"
"We really relied on the library curbside pickup services and digital services during this pandemic, especially this winter when outdoor activities were hard to plan for our elementary school aged kids. We appreciate the libraries and librarians stepping it up during this time of need and tirelessly serving their communities!"

PGCMLS Foundation

PGCMLS Foundation Store