On Monday, Nov. 21, in preparation for a program about the Qur’an with Northwestern’s Middle East and North African Studies (MENA) program, seven books about Islam and the Qur’an were discovered to have been defaced with graffiti and racist language and imagery. The discovery of graffiti in books about Islam is troubling. Free speech is one thing; defacing sacred texts and books about religion is quite another. Those who are caught defacing library materials will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
The Library provides a welcoming place to come together and discuss ideas and consider different points of view. The Evanston Public Library has a proven track record of fostering dialogue. Our partnership with Northwestern’s Middle East and North African Studies (MENA) program is an excellent example of bringing informative programs to our public library. One effective way to combat fear, hate and ignorance is to provide access to information, informed discourse, debate, and opportunities to listen to others. As our mission states: “Evanston Public Library aims to be the heart of the community by promoting the development of independent, self-confident, and literate citizens by providing open access to cultural, intellectual, technological, and informational resources.”
EPL has always provided citizens with access to information and opportunities for connection. All are welcome to join us at the library.