Our little town has more library drama than it should. I have written before about a meeting that was held, where people were just aloud to voice their opinions about lgbtq+ books in the public library. Two spoke in support of the right to choose what you read, and four spoke for censorship of books in the library. It was suppose to be 3 and 3, but one of the censorship people lied so that she could have a spot to speak, which was unfortunate. To finish the meeting, one of our new County Commissioners called for the resignation of the library director, and threatened his private business, a small local brewery.
Several weeks have passed, and the library had to reschedule that meeting in order to accommodate all of the people who want to speak on the issue. During this time, the library director decided to go ahead and resign, believing that the County Commissioner would try to block any funding requests that the library might make for future projects, or sabotage his private business. The library director wanted to get ahead of it. Our meeting is set for this Wednesday. I am planning on breaking out of my comfort zone, and speaking. I am going to attempt to write my speech here, and hope that it communicates what I want it to.
Good evening library board, and Maury County neighbors and friends. My name is __________. I have lived, worked, and raised my family in Maury County for nearly 30 years. I have passionately taught in the field of special education in our public schools for the last 21 years. There are members of my friends and family inner circles who are members of the lgbtq+ community, and whom I care for very much. My heart has hurt listening to the hate toward this community, calling them “people with dark hearts”….my child heard you say that. You were talking about her and people she loves. I just want you to know that if you mean to hurt people with your words, you are successful. I mean, do you seriously say to kids’ faces that they have dark hearts? Do you think that helps them? That’s for another time…..
Regarding books, which is, from my understanding, the reason for this entire uprising, I want us to be clear on what is happening. This is not new to libraries, and should not disrupt as many lives as this obviously has disrupted.
First, a book display was curated for PRIDE month. It consisted of books for every age group on the topic. Similarly, when we have other focused months or events in focus, for example, the Holocaust; there would be a variety of books on display for all ages. It is assumed that parents will guide their children to books on their level, even though other levels are displayed. If a child picks up an adult level book, once they open it and see mostly words, they would most likely put it back, but parents can certainly ask to have a look and see if it might be too scary or too violent or have too much sex.
Second, books are shelved in the library according to universal library standards. The Dewey decimal system is used, and rating criteria developed by people who study these things for a living.
Third, if a library patron believes that there is a book that does not belong in the library, there is a standard process for requesting that the book be removed. This starts with reading the entire book, and sending a letter or email to the library, stating what, specifically, it is that is objectionable. The library then collaborated with others, holding the objection up to library standards, and determine if the objection is significant enough to warrant removal of the book.
Process done. No one had to post nude drawings on Facebook. No one was threatened. No anger. No one has to change jobs due to threats. Use the process that is in place.
(Haha- the only picture I found was BTS )
Does my little speech hit the spot? Too personal? Too passive aggressive? Too much of a smart ass? I’m pretty angry about this whole thing, so it is really hard to keep emotions out of this, and I need to try to keep my kids and friends privacy.