[Libs-Or] FW: Display challenge

Marci Jenkins Marci.Jenkins at mcminnvilleoregon.gov
Mon Jun 14 12:45:26 PDT 2021

Hi Rachael,

I agree with Matthew. It is important to express the library’s posture and point of view in this matter. A “thanks for your e-mail” type of reply will just dilute the message behind the flag. Sometimes people with this type of behavior and mentality are really tied to a hierarchical posture/view and by pointing out the American Library Association’s support might be beneficial to emphasize how much equity and inclusion are expected and appreciated at libraries.


Equity of Access Issues
The Library Bill of Rights<http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill> affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas and provides for access to information for all people.
Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender peoples’ access to libraries may be limited or prohibited by many issues, including:

  *   Collections which do not present LGBTQIA+ content or perspectives. LGBTQIA+ materials can often be censored under partisan or doctrinal disapproval
  *   Environments which are not welcoming or inclusive of LGBTQIA+ people and which, through actions by staff or other patrons, may be made unwelcome to LGBTQIA+ people and their families
  *   Programs which do not address the LGBTQIA+ experience
  *   Services which are not promoted to LGBTQIA+ populations or in collaborations with local LGBTQIA+ organizations

From: Libs-Or <libs-or-bounces at omls.oregon.gov<mailto: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<mailto:members at arsl.org>>; LIBS-OR <LIBS-OR at omls.oregon.gov<mailto:LIBS-OR at omls.oregon.gov>>
Subject: [Libs-Or] Display challenge

This message originated outside of the City of McMinnville.

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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