Banned Books Display Remains Intact Despite Rumford Pastors’ Complaints
If ever there were a time for an exasperated facepalm, it's now.
A public hearing was held this week regarding a letter sent by three local church leaders to the Rumford Public Library. The church leaders complained that the library's banned book display was inappropriate and should have all books relating to homosexuality removed.
“I had ‘Two Boys Kissing’ and ‘My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness’ on that [Pride Month] display,” Librarian Mary Ann Fournier told the Sun Journal. “My question is why didn’t anyone come to me and complain in June?"
Fournier also highlighted the importance of displaying banned books despite their content.
"You want me to hide the LGBTQ books that are like bibles to some of these children. Some of these books are stolen by some of these LGBTQ teens because they don’t want their parents to know they’re checking them out.”
Opposers and supporters of the display made their case on removing or keeping the display to the Rumford Public Library's board of trustees on Monday.
According to @KatjeFae's live tweet of the hearing, the church leaders regretted their wording of the letter after realizing it was published for the public to read.
“I think it was unfortunate it was posted publicly, before we had a chance to have a discussion with this small group or to revise some things in it that created some of the hoopla,” Pastor Dan Pearson of the Rumford Baptist Church said. "There was concern because a few of the books on the banned book display, front and center, were displaying sexual themes that we thought were not appropriate for children, especially. Displayed prominently up front, when they’re coming in there.”
In the end, the library voted unanimously to keep the banned books display intact, gay books and all. Chairwoman Carolyn Kennard said, “By moving that, it would be a form of censorship that we cannot do, under any circumstance.”