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Author Topic: Gay books regularly stolen from public libraries  (Read 3783 times)


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Gay books regularly stolen from public libraries
« on: October 04, 2007, 11:24:42 PM »

Paul Varnell brings a silent combat against Gay literature to our attention:
Yet other books are simply listed as “missing”—meaning the library has no idea where they are. Maybe some of those books are merely lost in the library’s circulation system, but not all. What does it mean that the same titles are “missing” at several different branches of the library system? Or that both copies of a book at a particular branch library are “missing”?

There is ample reason to believe that some of these challenges are part of a coordinated effort. Several right-wing Internet sites list books they deem objectionable, books that mention homosexuality prominent among them. They thus save the potential challenger or five-fingered vigilante the trouble of actually reading the books. How else could someone erroneously think that “And Tango Makes Three” is about homosexuality?

What can any of us do to counter the efforts to ban gay-themed and other books? For one thing, simply be alert to news reports of book challenges and be prepared to speak up and offer support to the library and its mission of providing books for readers with a variety of interests.

Second, we can check out and read (and then return) a gay-themed book. Libraries live by circulation: It is proof that they are doing their job. Caldwell-Stone points out that one of the ways librarians can justify retaining a book is that the book is popular—that there is a clear patron constituency for the book. Don’t be reluctant to check out young adult books. Many are well written and have intriguing plots. And the children’s picture books are usually clever and, well, cute.

Third, we can issue our own challenges—not to ban a book we might not like (that would make us as bad as the homophobes) but a “challenge” or request for the library to acquire a gay book or two that it does not currently have. Or challenge it to replace a book that has been missing for a long time. Libraries—at least in Chicago—don’t seem to keep a list of the books that are missing or were taken out and never returned. So if you notice one, ask for it to be replaced.

I can think of no better response to homophobic vigilantes than to assure them that the library will replace each and every book they steal or check out and never return—thus frustrating their efforts. If a book was good enough to buy in the first place, it should be good enough to replace.

I should add that Gay public libraries owned by Gay community centers are in my opinion the ultimate answer to such challenges, at least in cities with larger Gay communities.
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of liberty must undergo the fatigues of supporting it." Thomas Paine
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