Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that the U.S. is in the midst of one of the most important battles in the country’s history ― and librarians are on the “front lines.”
The 2016 Democratic presidential nominee praised libraries for being essential to a free society and encouraged Americans to fight against President Donald Trump’s “deeply disturbing” proposed cuts to their federal funding.
“The work you do is at the heart of an open, inclusive and diverse society,” Clinton told a crowd at the American Library Association’s conference in Chicago. “I believe libraries and democracy go hand-in-hand.”
“You have to be on the front lines of one of the most important fights we have ever faced in history in this country: the right to defend truth and reason, evidence and facts,” she said.
Clinton, who told the crowd she found strength from reading (as well as the “occasional glass of chardonnay”) following her loss in the 2016 presidential election, noted that librarians play a critical role in communities nationwide.
“Reading is not just a nice thing to do. It’s how we help give our children the best possible start in life.”
“Reading is not just a nice thing to do. It’s how we help give our children the best possible start in life,” Clinton said, pointing to a study that suggests children in low-income families hear 30 million fewer words by the age of 4 than their affluent counterparts.
The former first lady added that libraries are critical to the well-being of rural communities and provide invaluable resources to help immigrants and refugees learn English and “know their rights.”
“Sparking someone’s love of learning, changing the course of a life, standing up for the freedom to read, to learn ― nothing is more important than that in a free society,” Clinton said.