Report: “A Florida Library’s LGBTQ Pride Display Started a Yearlong Battle”
From The Tampa Bay Times:
The yearly LGBTQ Pride Month display in the Citrus County library went largely unnoticed until 2021.
But last year, the small array of LGBTQ-themed books surrounded by rainbow hearts and signs saying “love is love” became a point of contention that has expanded into a larger partisan battle, pushed by the fringes of the conservative movement, over censorship and children’s education.
Last month, the library’s advisory board was inundated with candidates trying to replace five of the nine sitting board members. It was the first time the board had seen such massive interest, with some candidates applying under the incorrect presumption that the board controls the content on the library shelves.
While none of the more than three dozen challengers were appointed, the surge of interest echoes a nationwide trend of previously uncontroversial boards becoming targets for conservative activists. They have directed focus on nonpartisan school boards, government advisory boards and other small elected offices amid concerns over “gender ideology” and the rights of parents.
This isn’t the first time Citrus’ library has become the center of controversy in this deeply Republican county. In 2019, residents cried out when the library wanted to expand digital access to The New York Times. Residents were outraged at the proposition of supporting “fake news,” and the effort failed.
Patrick Sweeney, the political director of library advocacy group EveryLibrary, said the subject matter challenged most in libraries contains LGBTQ themes.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.