Dixon Public Library Board Considers Tougher Policy Against Censorship and Discrimination – Shaw Local


DIXON — The Dixon Public Library Board will consider policy changes Monday in response to concerns about censorship and discrimination over requests to remove LGBTQ comics that contain sexual content.

Two months ago, community members raised concerns about sexual content in young adult comics “Gender Queer: A Memoir” by Maia Kobabe, which talks about dating as non-binary and contains sexual depictions on topics such as oral sex. It was part of the library’s annual Pride Month exhibit.

A dozen households sent a letter to Library Director Antony Deter and city officials demanding the removal of the Pride Month display from the library.

This was an official letter from the conservative non-profit group CatholicVote “Hide the Pride”, in which members of the community check out all the LGBTQ content they can in a library to remove the books from display. audience.

“Flags, signs and book displays based on how adults experience sexual attraction and gender identity have no place in an open, public space for children,” the letter said.

The letter did not name specific books, but said the group would vet and hold all LGBTQ books until the library removes ‘inappropriate content from the shelves’, and refrains from purchasing ‘R-rated content’. .

Last month, more than 100 community members attended the July library board meeting with a mix of around 19 people speaking out either against the books or against censorship and LGBTQ discrimination. .

Reconsideration requests filed to remove ‘Gender Queer’ and adult comic “Patience and Esther: An Edwardian Romance”, which was still in the adult section but not on display and had never been checked.

“Gender Queer” and “Patience and Esther” are two of many LGBTQ books under attack in libraries across the country under politicized book bans.

The library board does not have the power to withdraw books; it’s up to the director of the library.

The library became “Gender Queer” almost three years ago, and it had only been checked out three times.

The library revises and removes materials every day for a variety of reasons, including damaged or moldy conditions, inaccurate or outdated information such as old medical books, or because people are not interested in the books.

The books are also often revised, and around 50 have been moved to the adult section in the past.

Deter said “Gender Queer” likely would have been moved to the adult section, but the complaints went beyond the scope of sexual content accessible to minors and constitutional violations.

The books were displayed in a special Pride Month display near the young adult section of the Dixon Library.

The demands called for the books to be taken down for “pornography,” but also for “sin,” “vulgarity,” and “lesbianism.”

Removing them on a discriminatory basis would place the library in violation of the 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clausesays Deter.

The library board is due to meet at 5:30 p.m. Monday at the Loveland Community House and Museum, and the board will consider policy changes that include toughening rules against censorship as well as setting up a process for appeal that would allow the council to decide whether to withdraw the matter.

There may also be changes to the public comments section adding the prohibition of profane language to the clause that “abusive language and/or personal attacks will not be permitted” and “comments disrupting the conduct of the meeting. will not be allowed”.

Clauses would be added to the management and use of library collections section.

“While everyone is free to reject content they disapprove of for themselves and their children, they cannot restrict others’ freedom to choose what they read, hear or watch,” the project says. of politics. “A diverse collection is important. Material will not be excluded on the basis of the author’s race, nationality, religion, gender, sexual orientation, political or social opinion, or material.

A section could be added for free access to library materials, which states:

“Selection guidelines do not guarantee that every item purchased for the library’s collection is suitable for every person who may choose to select it. Young people under the age of 18 have free access to materials in the adult collection, and parents may choose to advise their children to make an appropriate selection.

Review of requests for library materials will remain with the library director, but a community member may choose to appeal the director’s decision. The item would be placed on the agenda for a board meeting, the board would review the materials, review form and staff findings, and make a final decision. No application would be considered for two years following a council decision on the same material, according to the proposed amendment.

The amendments would also create provisions on staff commitment to screening responsibilities, including “diligently reviewing and keeping current with reviews, preprint lists, publisher catalogs and announcements, standard biographies and other sources, which serve as a basis for responsible selection” and to “develop and maintain knowledge of and regularly and systematically assess the strengths and weaknesses of the sections that fall within their respective areas of responsibility. The selection of individual securities must take place within the framework of a targeted selection management.


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