Report: “Book Battles are Raging Nationwide. A Washington Library Could Be Nation’s First to Close”
UPDATE: David Gutman, the reporter who wrote the article linked below, was interviewed on KUOW Radio. You can listen to the interview here.
From The Seattle Times:
Book battles are raging across the nation, but none have carried the kind of stakes as the one here in Dayton, a one-stoplight farming community in the southeastern corner of Washington.
For the county’s only library, the battle has turned, quite literally, existential: Voters will decide in November whether to shut it down.
It would be the first library in the country to close because of a dispute over what books are on the shelves, according to the American Library Association.
“That is the end of the library as we know it,” said Jay Ball, who owns a local auto shop and chairs the library’s board of directors. “It’s insane, it’s just insane.”
Library opponents late last month submitted enough signatures to get on the November ballot with their argument that the library makes books dealing with transgender issues, sexuality, consent, race and gender stereotypes too accessible to kids.
The library director and board initially refused to move any of the books. But, more recently, the library has tried to assuage its adversaries, eliminating the entire young adult nonfiction section and intermingling those books with adult books. They moved all sex-ed books into a new “parenting” section of the library.
It has not worked.
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.