East Farmingdale, NY- A Long Island library is topping headlines after their Board of Trustees voted to remove LGBTQA+ books and displays, from the children’s section. The Smithtown Library, with locations in Smithtown, Kings Park and Nesconset, announced the change in a memo Wednesday after a 4-2 Board of Trustees vote on Tuesday night. The memo notifying staff of the Pride book and display changes drew big attention online and even condemnation from some, including Governor Kathy Hochul, who tweeted, “For many LGBTQ+ kids, libraries are one of the few spaces where they can be welcomed and affirmed for who they are. Our public spaces should be accepting our young people — not rejecting them. To LGBTQ+ New Yorkers: We stand with you, we support you, & you are welcome here.”
The New York Library Association tweeted, “Libraries. Are. For. Everyone. NYLA condemns the Smithtown Library Board of Trustees resolution to remove all Pride displays & books on display of the same subject from all Children’s sections in their buildings.”
In a statement shared on twitter the NYLA said, “The Smithtown Library Board of Trustees’ June 21, 2022 resolution to remove all Pride displays, in addition to the removal of all books of the same subject on display from all Children’s sections in all Smithtown Library buildings, is a direct violation of NYLA’s commitment to intellectual freedom and the freedom to read that libraries are entrusted to uphold….This ban of any displays related to Pride sets a dangerous precedent for libraries across the state because it normalizes the victimization of LGBTQ+ youth in their schools and in their communities, which has dire consequences…” Read the full statement from the NYLA, here.
Photo: Photo of the memo Smithtown Library sent to the Building Heads on June 21, 2022 courtesy of twitter
The Smithtown Library shared on facebook Wednesday night that Pride books are still available at the library and that Pride displays can be found in the teen and adult sections, “At their June 21 monthly Board of Trustees Meeting, the Library Trustees requested that a discussion regarding Pride Displays in the Children’s Rooms be put on the agenda. After a lengthy discussion, the Board voted 4-2 to approve the following: “Motion to remove all Pride Displays, in addition to removing all books of the same subject on display, from all Children’s sections in all Smithtown Library buildings”. Please understand that all books on this subject are still part of the Library’s Children’s collection and can be checked out by anyone wishing to do so. These titles have not been removed from the collection. The Library continues to display Pride month displays in our Teen and Adult areas.”
Photo: Smithtown Library exterior display, courtesy of Facebook