There was a recent column calling for banning LGBTQ+ displays in the library during Pride month. This kind of rhetoric is harmful to those who identify as LGBTQ+ including the estimated 7-9% of youth who identify as LGBTQ+. It is supportive and affirming for them to see books displayed that represent their lived experience, whether or not they are ready to come out as LGBTQ+. For those who do not identify as LGBTQ+, reading about the experiences of those who are will lead to understanding and compassion.
The librarians at the Twin Falls Public Library do a wonderful job of providing materials and resources that serve all members of the community. Any one of us who walks through the library might find something that offends or upsets us. It is our right to keep walking and choose not to check out those materials, and to decide what our children check out or don’t. We even have the right not to use the library for the month of June or ever again if something there offends us. But none of us have the right to dictate what materials are available to other people in our community or what is put on display.
The American Library Association’s Bill of Rights states, “Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.” A call to remove or forego a display of materials because it offends someone is censorship and we should stand up against the censorship threatened against our public library. I look forward to seeing the library’s LGBTQ+ displays and using them to teach my children about love for all humankind and especially for those who are marginalized and discriminated against.