The wave of book-banning initiated by Republicans eager to gain electoral advantage by creating a culture war is going to have effects for years to come, because not only are they yanking books off of library shelves, they’re driving experienced librarians out of the profession.

The American Library Association has been tracking book-banning for two decades, and 2021 set a record for the number of books challenged. The challenges are often to books in school libraries, or books for children and teens in public libraries, and with the censorship efforts of the past year focused largely on eradicating books with LGBTQ content or content about people of color, the damage to kids is concrete: Only straight white kids are to see themselves reflected on library bookshelves, and other kids are not only being deprived of representation, their identities are being explicitly attacked as dirty and inappropriate.