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Portsmouth Public Library Board hears public comments on controversial pride display

Portsmouth Public Library Board of Trustees hear public comments on controversial "pride" display
Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 6:04 PM EDT
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PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) - A “pride” display that was featured inside the Portsmouth Public Library earlier this month has caused quite a controversy. The display, which was was in the children’s department, included books catered to children about the LGBTQ+ community. The display no longer exists after a patron checked out all of the books that made up the display.

On Tuesday, the library’s Board of Trustees invited the community to their monthly meeting and allowed for each person to have three minutes to express whatever concerns they might have. Board members hoped to gain a better understanding of how the community feels to help them potentially establish policies for similar displays in the future.

One by one, folks stood before board members and expressed their thoughts and feelings. Those who were critical of the display shared feelings about the sexual nature of the books.

“On page 36, there’s a discussion of (sexual activity),” said one community member.

“The books on display in question were designed not to inform, but to indoctrinate young minds on a topic that is quite controversial,” said another.

Others in favor of the display shared fears of censorship and felt as though the library was doing the right thing by providing resources for children who may be curious about who they are.

“The beauty of a public library is that there is a place for everyone. If you don’t like it, don’t read it. If you want to police what your children read, that is your job. Not the job of the library,” said one man.

“Should the library board decide to withdraw the display, I feel it would open up the withdrawal of other displays and materials,” said another person in the audience.

Members of the board listened intently and took notes. They will now seek legal counsel about how to move forward.

“We do not have a policy regarding this and that is obviously something that we are going to look into. Our library is held high in integrity and we do not want to lose that at all. We hear you and we want to get to a resolution on this,” said Board President Tamela Morton.

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