Inside the conservative mom group hell-bent on injecting right-wing politics into school libraries
Moms For Liberty, founded in 2021, is the far-right group that has been pushing for MAGA curriculums in schools and trying to pressure teachers into avoiding any topics having to do with gay rights or the United States’ history of racism. In Moms for Liberty’s world, discussing the beliefs of Malcolm X or Cecil B. Moore in a classroom could be considered teaching “critical race theory” — although the academic field of study known as CRT didn’t exist until the 1980s, which was after the deaths of Malcolm X in 1965 and Moore in 1979.
Now, according to journalist Melissa Gira Grant, a Moms for Liberty offshoot is focusing specifically on book repositories: Moms for Libraries.
In an article published by The New Republic on January 11, Grant reports, “Conservatives have made libraries a target of extreme ire over the past several years, as in the moral panic over drag queen story hour events, now common from Idaho to New York. But it’s school libraries that are likely to get an extra level of right-wing scrutiny in the year ahead, thanks to a group born from Moms for Liberty. Courting a child star, former Trump officials, and a tech billionaire as their North Star and potential influencers, Moms for Libraries is hoping to entrench itself this year in libraries across the country.”
Grant describes Moms for Libraries, launched in 2022, as “part of that much larger and better-known national group Moms for Liberty, whose financial backers are largely unknown and which is organizing conservative women to influence and/or take over school boards.”
“On the surface,” Grant observes, “Moms for Libraries prompts supporters to purchase copies of books from a handful of small conservative publishers it’s chosen, such as Heroes of Liberty, which released a book in December valorizing Elon Musk…. Another Moms for Libraries partner, Brave Books, recently used a book by former ‘Growing Pains’ star Kirk Cameron to fuel a misinformation campaign that libraries are discriminating against Christians.
Grant notes that Moms for Libraries founder Catherine Rahimian “started off as the founder of the Moms for Liberty chapter in Orange County, California.”
“On one level, Moms for Libraries may seem to be not much more than a way to push a promo code for conservative publishers — one that has managed to get only about 5000 books donated to it to distribute to schools,” Grant explains. “But the group’s mission is to turn libraries into the kind of battle fronts it can command, from social media to Fox News, as it has before with school boards. School librarians witnessed the toxic environment that Moms for Liberty has stoked, and on which Moms for Libraries is now focused, using the massive, apparently well-resourced network that Moms for Liberty has built so quickly.”
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