The Homer Library Advisory Board supports the decision to keep LGBTQ books in the children’s section

Homer Library Advisory Board
Greater than 50 folks gathered on Tuesday, January 17, 2023 to listen to the ruling of the Homer Library Advisory Board on 55 disputed books. (Desiree Hagen/KBBI)

On Tuesday, the Homer Library Advisory Board voted unanimously to assist the choice to maintain 55 books within the kids’s part of the general public library. The choice got here after months of debate about the way forward for kids’s and youth titles that largely function LGBTQ themes.

In July, library director Dave Berry denied a petition by Homer resident Madeline Feldstra to take away three books on gender id from the kids’s part of the library. After the appliance was denied, Veldstra and a bunch of others appealed the choice to the Homer Metropolis Clerk’s workplace.

By late October, the group had added over fourteen extra titles to their roster, and their petition It collected about 600 signatures between the paper petitions and the net petitions. The Library Board initially met to debate the problem in November in entrance of a packed roomNonetheless, they postponed making a remaining determination till the brand new yr in order that they might learn and overview every determination.

At Tuesday’s assembly, greater than 50 attendees gathered to listen to the council’s ruling on 55 disputed books. Most supported Perry’s determination to maintain the titles within the kids’s division. Over 15 folks expressed assist and solely 3 of these current needed the books eliminated. After an hour of public testimony, the council met to debate and vote on every title one after the other.

A number of board members, similar to Douglas Bailey, questioned why sure books have been on the record within the first place.

“Some books are about race,” Bailey mentioned. “Among the books are in regards to the management talents of individuals of coloration. I am unable to discover something in lots of these books about LBGTQ [sic]. How did they get on the record? “

Bailey was referring to Black Is the Coloration of the Rainbow, a black historical past guide written from the angle of a kid. Board member Emily Springer mentioned that the one factor she thought may very well be thought of LGBTQ-themed within the guide was the point out of the phrase “rainbow”.

Council members famous that some books have been objected to easily due to the writer’s sexual orientation.

“The writer is homosexual,” mentioned board member Brenda Dolma. “Generally that was the one factor.”

The seven-member board of administrators continued to assist Perry’s determination to maintain all 55 books within the library. In an announcement through the assembly, Perry mentioned that folks preferring studying books with heterosexual {couples} can select from 1000’s of titles.

“There are 12,500 titles within the kids’s and youth collections mixed,” Perry mentioned. “The 55 titles on this record signify 0.4% of that group.”

As an alternative, these titles can present illustration for folks in marginalized teams who might not see themselves represented in mainstream tradition, Perry mentioned.

“Should you’re the kind of guardian who needs to sit down together with your youngster within the nursery, open a guide and say, ‘Look, that is your mother.'” And there may be your different mom. Is not it good to have a guide about us right here to learn? “Effectively, we have now a duty to retailer these addresses, too.”

Viewers members praised each Perry’s preliminary determination and the board’s dedication to studying each title on the record.

“I really feel like I simply sat in a really bizarre guide membership,” Homer Metropolis Councilwoman Rachel Lord mentioned, talking as a personal citizen. “That was a really lengthy record.”

Lord urged altering the protocol on how disputed books needs to be evaluated sooner or later.

“You, as members of the board, should not be ready to attempt to determine precisely what the issue is with every guide,” she mentioned.

Lord mentioned that by voting to take away the books, the board would set a precedent for any guide bearing the writer’s “LGBTQ” label, resulting in what she referred to as an “infinite attraction”.

Whereas many board members downplayed the significance of studying 50+ titles, or mentioned they elevated studying books they discovered endearing, others similar to Brenda Dolma praised the work of the librarians and the dedication of the viewers.

“I’ve numerous respect for our librarians. However I wish to thank all of Homer for his curiosity in our library and the laborious work everybody has completed in numerous capacities,” she mentioned.

This was the most important variety of titles ever contested at one time within the Homer Public Library, in keeping with Perry. The council plans to debate its coverage about coping with disputed content material at its subsequent assembly in February.

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