Homer library board to decide if LBGTQ+ books will stay

The Pink Times
The Pink Times November 16, 2022
Updated 2022/11/16 at 2:01 PM

HOMER, Alaska (AP) — An advisory board for the Homer Public Library is expected to hear arguments Tuesday on whether more than 40 books aimed at children and juveniles with LGBTQ+ themes should be removed or moved to the adult section of the library.

Homer Public Library Director Dave Berry denied a request by Melissa Martin to move three titles, the Homer News reported. A later petition added over three dozen additional books to the list. The board is slated to consider her appeal.

The appeal is the latest targeted effort to remove LGBTQ+ books or programs from libraries across the nation. In the southeast community of Ketchikan this year, voters declined to cut the budget for the library after some residents complained about drag queens leading story time for children, the Ketchikan Daily News reported. A funding dispute was settled in Mississippi.

However, a Michigan library lost a majority of its funding, and the accounts of books being banned or attempted banishments have soared in the last year, the American Library Association said in April.

In Homer, the petitions ask that books “promoting transgender ideology, drag queens, homosexuality, and all other books which are intended to indoctrinate children in LGBQT+ ideologies” either be removed or not be available to children “to stumble upon these confusing ideas” in the children’s library or in the juvenile section.

Berry consulted with staff after receiving Martin’s original request. He declined to move “Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress,” by Christine Baldacchino; “Julian is a Mermaid,” by Jessica Love, and “Two Grooms on a Cake: The Story of America’s First Gay Wedding,” by Rob Sanders and illustrated by Robbie Cathro.

“Historically, the policy has always been we try to be as broad as possible in adding materials to the collection. We don’t censor materials. We are very open to input from the community. Our general policy has been to add rather than subtract from the collection,” Berry told the newspaper.

Martin appealed to the advisory board, which will have final say. An immediate decision was not expected.

Homer children’s book author Madeline Veldstra, who writes under the name Madeline A. Hawthorne, also has been collecting signatures online and with a printed version of Martin’s petition.

She will also address the board on her proposal to remove or move the additional titles beyond the original three.

A counter petition to support the library director’s decision and to support the inclusion of LGBTB+ books in the children’s section is also collecting signatures.

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