COLUMBIA, Tenn. (WTVF) — Tensions ran high at a recent Maury County Public Library Board meeting.
“I’ve never been sexually assaulted at a drag show, but I’ve been to church twice,” resident Jessee Graham said.
All the backlash is due to a book display for Pride Month in June.
“Overwhelming our young people with adult stuff about sexuality, attacking their innocence and presenting harmful propaganda is more than disturbing, it’s downright hostile,” said resident Charlsie Estes.
“There is no curriculum at this library to sexualize children,” Maury County Library Board Chairman Joel Friddell said. “It’s quite the opposite.”
Friddell said LGBT books weren’t open on the screen and represented a wide range of age-appropriate options.
“The thing is, we have a very diverse community and this collection increasingly reflects that, and we’re very proud of that,” Friddell said.
Of the more than 110,000 books in the library, 423 fall into the LGBT category. Children under 13 cannot borrow a book without a parent.
Yet some argue that the books had no place in the exhibition.
“But using my taxpayer and your taxpayers’ money to buy these books to pressure a twelve-year-old girl or boy – I have a problem with that,” resident Adam Martin said.
Others have called it a first amendment right.
“Removing books is removing representation,” said resident Lukas Banks. “Period.”
This, after library director Zac Fox quit amid calls for his resignation. The board of directors accepted his resignation “with regret”.
“Zac was under a lot of pressure from social media; there were unfortunate hashtags and baseless allegations being made,” Friddell said.
Now the library is looking for a new director and a new way forward.
“We are the repository of information. We are not a church, we are not a parent,” Friddell said. “Our library should serve everyone in the community, and that’s what we do.”
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