Long Island Library board bans all LBGTQ+ books from the children's section

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"Forget it, Jake. It's Smithtown."

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From their website:
Mission Statement

“The Smithtown Special Library District is dedicated to providing access to diverse information, lifelong learning and entertainment resources through outstanding service for all residents of the Library District via multiple facilities consisting of four library buildings located in Smithtown, Commack, Kings Park & Nesconset.”

6/21/22
DISCUSSION – Children’s Collection
After discussion pertaining to the Library displays celebrating Gay Pride Month in the Children’s
Departments, Trustee Marie Gergenti made the following motion:
RESOLVED, that the Board of Trustees of The Smithtown Library directs the Library Director to remove all Gay Pride month displays from all Children’s sections in all Smithtown Library buildings.
The motion was seconded by Trustee Theresa Grisafi and adopted 4-2 by the following roll call vote:
FOR—Gergenti, Grisafi, LoPresti, Maher;
AGAINST—Baker-Stines, Gregurich.

UPDATE
Statement from the Board of Trustees of The Smithtown Library, 6/23/22

Earlier this evening the Board of Trustees of The Smithtown Library rescinded our earlier decision to remove Pride displays from our Library’s Children’s Departments. The majority of the Board recognizes that our earlier decision was made without the time, care and due diligence that a decision of this type deserves and that it was the wrong decision. Moving forward we will commit our collective energies toward ensuring that we get the advice and guidance needed from our Library Administrators,
staff, outside experts, legal counsel and most importantly from Smithtown residents before we make important decisions regarding our Library.

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Somehow I suspect this is the one in that long list that really made them change their minds…

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Surprise, surprise - in addition to all the conservatives in Western and Northern NY, there are lots of conservatives in southern NY, including Long Island.

Just as some red states seem to be trending blue, thanks to the GOP redistricting of NY, the state may see a very different political landscape after the November election.

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No it is not. It is in Western Suffolk Country. Over 70 miles from Montauk, at least a 2 hour drive typically.

Long Island in general is pretty red. But Montauk is in the Hamptons, which are the little blue belt in Eastern Suffolk. Smithtown is one of the reddest bits of red on the island, practically home base for the local MAGA Chuds. A number of residents arrested for involvement in Jan 6, lots of big lie rallies, it’s not far from where Trump would fly in for campaign events and still occasionally holds fund raisers.

There’s also not much “rust belt” about anything on Long Island. It is one of the wealthiest areas of the United States. Also one of the most segregated, and has some of the deepest income inequality between communities.

Smithtown contains some of Long Island’s wealthiest communities, and it is 95% white, though it does contain some hamlets/towns that are more industrial or poorer. That’s fairly typical of Long Island, the “wrong side of the tracks” idiom is pretty literal there.

The East End is certainly not “rust belt” either. It’s considerably rural in some areas with working farms and a large greenhouse and nursery industry. Both the North and South Fork are pretty ritzy tourist areas, and insanely expensive to live in.

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Entirely too many Democrats, both politicians and rank and file party members, want to play nice with the Republicans no matter how bad the GOP gets. They are usually the ones who are the least affected by the laws and politics, at least for now, and remain convinced that things will start to go well as long as everyone remains civil. I often if they’re the same people as those in the queer community that insist we’ll get our full acceptance just as soon as we trim “certain outliers” from the community.

These started appearing around Kenosha towards the end of the Summer of 2020. Yeah, thanks, we already know how effective civility is in the face of oppression. Fuck that.

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we are your fantasy utopian representation of race relations…

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Ironically, I’m taking a course this week on Library Ethics and Public Service. I really want to forward the link for this course to the board in question, particularly the section that discusses Article 2 of the American Library Association (ALA) Code of Ethics.

1. We uphold the principles of intellectual freedom and resist all efforts to censor library resources.

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I wouldn’t. Nassau County votes Republican with disturbing regularity.

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I have no idea if this is usual. But the trustees for library boards on LI are elected officials. And very, very, very seldom have any kind of background in Libraries or Library science. Their concern for ethics with regards to libraries tends to be a very Mrs. Lovejoy grade pearl clutching. In my home town the bulk of the trustees when I was a kid were people chased out of the PTA for being too uptight.

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I think that’s less common, but there’s not really a set way across the country for library boards. It’s also rare for board members to have any sort of library background or especially a MLS. This is why it’s up to those that do to watch them like hawks and smack them upside the head with a hardbound copy of ALA tomes whenever they try to do something like this.

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:wink:

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