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Sally Kern may want to stay away from the library…


The thing I really like about libraries is that they exist to serve their communities. That means the public library in one city could potentially be completely different from the public library in another city, provided that the first city required something completely different than the second. And sure, some people think that libraries are a place where you go as a kid and then never go again, but for a huge portion of the population, libraries serve a critical function as an information hub and community center.

So, you'd think that people would leave libraries alone and just let them serve the public. Unfortunately, that's not the case. A lot of people (who neither represent the will of the entire community nor possess a degree in Library and Information Studies) feel obligated to tell libraries what to do.

According to

For 10 years, the Metropolitan Library System, which serves the Oklahoma City metro area, has placed a group of children's books with sensitive subject matter into a smaller, elevated section.

The section, known as “family talk,” includes books on drug and alcohol abuse, sexual abuse, incarceration, mental illness, death and divorce.

Another theme that finds itself in this category are books dealing with LGBT issues, like “Heather Has Two Mommies” and “King and King.”

Now, a local LGBT rights advocacy group plans to ask the Metro Library Commission to revisit the policy and consider amending it to remove LGBT children's books from the family talk section and place them in general circulation.

Relegating these LGBT books to the special section creates an unnecessary and outdated stigma, they contend.

I have to say, it's kind of odd to me that this is even an issue since same sex marriage is legal in the US. Also, is it 1955? Homosexuality isn't an issue that you need to sit your kids down about. It's just a thing that exists like tables and pizza and lady bugs.

Here's more:

The discussions grew tense at times, those involved said, but in 2006 the commission approved the policy.

“I can tell you that it was that particular situation that caused me to get off the board. I'm one of the ones that wanted to pull the books altogether because of my Christian beliefs,” said Cynthia Trent, who served nine years on the commission.

Trent said she still believes books dealing with LGBT issues should be banned from the children's section.

Really? Then I believe that Bibles should be shelved in the nonfiction section under 321.9. That's a Dewey Decimal joke, and perhaps the most use I'll ever get out of my advanced library degree.

In all seriousness, I hope Metro is able to reevaluate this policy to reflect the more inclusive community we're trying to be in the Oklahoma City Metro. I also hope that those more vocal members of the community realize that their religious beliefs don't serve the entire community, because that's the library's job.

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