In an open letter published on his social media accounts, former President Barack Obama praised the country’s librarians for standing on the front lines as book bans spread around the nation. In the letter to the hardworking librarians of America, the former president took aim at the ongoing efforts by conservatives, especially the Florida-based Moms for Liberty, a group recently designated as a hate and extremist group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, to ban books covering issues regarding gender, human sexuality, and race. The former president said in the letter that American authors and poets significantly impacted his life growing up. A report released by the American Library Association (ALA), covering its annual assessment of books being challenged or banned in the United States showed a dramatic increase. According to the ALA, nearly 1,600 books in more than 700 libraries and library systems across the nation involving race, gender, and the LGBTQ+ community, were targeted by conservative groups. Over this past year, libraries have found themselves at the center of a culture war as conservative groups led a historic effort to ban and challenge materials that address racism, gender, politics, and sexual identity.