Tuesday, July 5

4 LGBTQ+ Ohio librarians weigh in on the conservative ploy to “Hide the Pride” library books

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CatholicVote — which bills itself as America’s top Catholic Advocacy Organization — has launched a new campaign called “Hide the Pride”

The initiative instructs members to go to the library, find the “Pride Month” display full of LGBTQ+ books, and check them out so that no one can have access to them.

Answering the recent cries of concerned parents throughout the country, CatholicVote is launching “Hide the Pride,” a parent-led movement to empty local taxpayer-funded libraries of progressive sex- and gender-related content aimed at children.

Because we here at The Buckeye Flame believe that librarians are some of society’s greatest superheroes, we turned to 4 different LGBTQ+ librarians to get their take on “Hide the Pride.”

Please note: None of the librarians quoted here are speaking on behalf of their libraries, but are instead speaking from their personal stance as book heroes who want everyone to have free and open access to all library materials.

Clarity Amrein, Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library

“It’s painful to see that this organization and many like it fail to realize that LGBTQ+ people are just as entitled to their ‘taxpayer funded’ public library space as anyone else. LGBTQ+ people are not only taxpayers and residents, but they are also teachers, families, parents with children who attend storytime, and parents of teens who need age appropriate resources – and they deserve to see themselves reflected in their own community libraries. Public libraries’ core tenets are that they are places of unbiased information and freedom from censorship. Do you think this group would agree with removing all religious book and holiday displays on the basis of it being a ‘private conversation?'”

Jay Mantle, Columbus Metropolitan Library

“My library and libraries across the nation are ‘open to all’ (exactly what my library has inscripted in marble on their main branch) and that is strictly enforced. No one tax payer has the right to tell any resident what they shouldn’t and should be reading. Reading is power and the attempt to erase and make LGBTQIA+ books non-existent is simply the fear of knowing one could gain power to live in pursuit of happiness. One will never take that power away from another.”

Nic Starr, Rocky River Public Library

“As a Queer nonbinary person who grew up in conservative rural Ohio, I never saw myself represented at all as a child or young adult. The only LGBTQ+ representation I saw was riddled with slurs that demonized the LGBTQ+ community and that attitude was reflected amongst my peers growing up, making me even less inclined to share how I felt. I grew up without the language to help me feel comfortable in my own body, let alone to feel comfortable around others as myself.

It took until adulthood for me to be able finally find the language and representation that allowed me to finally feel comfortable in my own body, to feel comfortable being openly me. Finding that language was in part due to being able to utilize library resources to help me find the language and representation that I needed.

As a former educator and current Children’s Librarian, it is incredibly important to me to be able to help youths avoid going through the same mental health struggle that I did. That can range from just presenting openly as myself, purchasing quality materials with a wide range of representation or creating and hosting inclusive programing. Libraries are meant for everyone and are meant to be a safe place for all. In the words of my lifelong idol Fred Rogers, ‘it’s you I like, the way you are right now, the way down deep inside you, not the things that hide you.'”

Adam Tully, Cleveland Public Library

“I am a Librarian who also happens to be gay. I’m not putting any special emphasis on particular collections – even LGBTQIA+ ones – because my job is to promote access to all materials that a patron might need. Something like this saddens me greatly, but we’ve weathered storms like this before.”

 

BONUS: The Collections Department Policy, Cleveland Public Library

“Cleveland Public Library believes that the freedoms of speech and press guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States are paramount to a free society. The Library is committed to free and open access to its collections for all patrons. The Library recognizes the right of each patron to choose the materials they prefer and to reject what they do not like or agree with. Parents and guardians are responsible for deciding what materials are suitable for minor children under their care. ” 🔥

Ignite Action:

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About Author

The Buckeye Flame amplifies the voices of LGBTQ+ Ohioans to support community and civic empowerment through the creation of engaging content that chronicles our triumphs, struggles, and lived experiences.

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