[Libs-Or] Display challenge
mbaiocchi at lincolncity.org
Sat Jun 12 12:20:54 PDT 2021
Just the ramblings of a reference librarian on his day off, but this might be one way to approach it:
I might start by agreeing with them that it is a community library, and since there are people who are LGBTQ in the Douglas County community, it is important to make sure they feel welcome in the community library.
I'd continue with the fact that your library (at least based on the catalog searches I did) has materials on Islam, Christianity, atheism, the Vietnam War, white supremacy, Donald Trump, and Barack Obama, just to name a few potentially controversial subjects, and just because a subject is controversial in your community does not mean it isn't worth having materials on and promoting it in the library.
I might wrap it up with the fact that the library is a place for people to feel comfortable exploring ideas, all people with many different lifestyles and beliefs, and it is especially important for the library to reach out to groups of people who have been, historically speaking, mistreated and discriminated against.
I might add a little P.S. stating that the patron who wrote the letter doesn't need to subscribe to all the different beliefs found in all the different materials in the library, but that the Douglas County community has more than one point of view on people who are LGBTQ, and while the library would never demand that the author of the letter support people who are LGBTQ in their personal life, they need to understand that the library is there for the entire community, not just people with their beliefs.
Thought that P.S. section might be a little too snarky?
If none of this is helpful, you might be able to find some help through ALA here: https://www.ala.org/advocacy/diversity/librariesrespond/Services-LGBTQ or here: https://www.ala.org/rt/rrt. To get help from a more local source, I'm sure the good folks at the State Library of Oregon: https://www.oregon.gov/library/Pages/default.aspx and OLA: https://www.olaweb.org/ would be a big help, as they usually are.
Best of luck in dealing with this prickly situation!
City of Lincoln City | Driftwood Public Library
801 SW Hwy 101 | PO Box 50 | Lincoln City, OR
P: 541.557.1116 | E: mbaiocchi at lincolncity.org<mailto:mbaiocchi at lincolncity.org>
W: Driftwoodlib.org | W: LincolnCity.org
From: Libs-Or <libs-or-bounces at omls.oregon.gov> on behalf of Rachael Grindberg via Libs-Or <libs-or at omls.oregon.gov>
Sent: Saturday, June 12, 2021 11:29 AM
To: Association of Rural and Small Libraries Listserv; LIBS-OR
Subject: [Libs-Or] Display challenge
Sorry for cross posting.
I'm in need of help. Around the library we are displaying flags for pride month. Our actual book display is for Eric Carle since he died, and we are very small so only have room for one display. I got an email from a patron complaining about the flags. I tried searching online about how to respond to someone who complains about a display, but all of the responses have to do with books. I need to respond to this email diplomatically, but also tell her we aren't taking the flags down because she asked us to. The following is the email she sent:
I was in the library today picking up a book. I hesitated to say anything because I so appreciate the hard work of all the library volunteers and I did not want to offend anyone. But as I have been thinking about how disturbing my experience was, I think that it may be helpful to you to know what caused my distress. Gay flags, transgender flags, etc. flying everywhere. It may be politically correct to celebrate gay behavior, but for many of us in Douglas county, it is no cause for celebration. It is particularly disturbing because you have such a wonderful outreach to children. It is child abuse to encourage children to destroy their health with untested hormonal treatments and to mutilate their beautiful bodies surgically. Furthermore, encouraging gay and lesbian relationships condemn the child to a life of being unable to have children of their own. I am not alone in my concerns.
This is a community library and it is not helpful to alienate a large segment of the community if you want community support.
Please reconsider your offensive advocacy of such a controversial issue.
Any suggestions for how to respond to this email would be greatly appreciated.
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