[Libs-Or] Display challenge

dcohen at hevanet.com dcohen at hevanet.com
Sat Jun 12 15:33:00 PDT 2021

Very unfortunate, but not a total surprise, eh?


I suggest you perhaps find a person or persons in the LGBTQ+ community [maybe even in the library LGBTQ+ community] willing to sit down and have a “get-to-know-each-other” chat. It’s been shown [research not at my finger-tips but would be glad to find] that personal contact changes peoples’ attitudes toward the LBGTQ+ community more than anything else. 


It can be offered to the person who wrote the letter. If she declines then you know her mind is closed; she not only has misperceptions, she wishes to hold on to them. 


I think the gesture itself would be a lesson to her. Just knowing someone is strong enough in themselves and their LGBTQ+ identity to be willing to have a civil conversation with her may put a small dent in her self-righteous views.




Donna L Cohen, MLIS, MEd

Portland, Oregon


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From: Libs-Or <libs-or-bounces at omls.oregon.gov> On Behalf Of Rachael Grindberg via Libs-Or
Sent: Saturday, June 12, 2021 11:30 AM
To: Association of Rural and Small Libraries Listserv <members at arsl.org>; LIBS-OR <LIBS-OR at omls.oregon.gov>
Subject: [Libs-Or] Display challenge


Hi all,


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:


Dear Librarians,


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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