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Arts & Culture

Some In Campbell County Criticize Library Over Pride Month Collection

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Campbell County Libraries

Some Campbell County residents are criticizing the local library after a social media post last month.

The post read, "June is Pride Month and Rainbow Book Month. For this month's Teen Room blog, Sarah writes about few titles you can check out from your library that will connect you with the LGBTQIA+ collection at CCPL."

During the meeting, members of the public accused the library of favoring certain groups over others and pushing the topic onto children and teens. Some people in the community said it's inappropriate content for that age group and a few suggested those books shouldn't be available to minors at all.

"These people are taking advantage of every opportunity to confuse them. Here's what happens with that: they get intimidated by peer pressure by adults, in places of authority like teachers, librarians. It leads to confusion on their part [and] withdrawal." said Hugh Bennett, during the meeting.

Commissioner Del Shelstad had concerns that the post made it seem like the county was supporting Pride.

"This is exactly the type of thing that I think is harmful in our community. I'm not asking you to have a straight Pride Month, I'm just asking you not to have a gay Pride Month, I think it sends the message that people are not equal and in certain groups are getting special recognition," he added.

But the library's director said the library is not a political organization and it's there to provide educational opportunities. The director added the spotlight during Pride Month in June was to highlight diverse perspectives, the same way they would highlight books for seniors, books in Spanish or Christmas.

Some residents suggested solutions, such as removing the library's board members, setting up a parental review board, and having the books removed.

"They haven't just had an 'oops' or a lapse in judgment. They've betrayed the children in our community. My solution to this is that they all need to be removed, we can no longer trust them," said resident Susan Sisti. "I will never trust them again. There are already parents boycotting the library. They will not take their kids there. It's getting such a bad reputation. And so I encourage you to do something about it."

Commissioner Rusty Bell expressed concerns about potential censorship.

"I hope it doesn't keep us from promoting things. Also, I hope it doesn't keep us from keeping books in the library in the fiction section. I think that we can promote things. But I think we got to be really careful when we start censoring things," he said.

But all commissioners encouraged residents, if they wanted to get more involved, to attend the public library board meetings and to apply for board positions when they become available.

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