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Book about growing up queer will stay on Lafayette library's shelf

The book is being moved to the adult's nonfiction section, along with all other teen books.
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Posted at 10:10 PM, Nov 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-15 23:11:45-05

LAFAYETTE, La. —
After passionate debate from members of the LGBTQ community, allies, and the Lafayette Public Library Board of Control, a book titled “This Book is Gay” will remain in circulation.

Those who spoke in public comment said the book should stay on the shelf for a few reasons, but emphasized, if the book was removed, it would cause ripple effects in terms of censorship. Many argued the book is a resource for LGBTQ youth.

The book is being moved from the teen nonfiction section to the adult nonfiction section. The library’s director has the final say in where books are displayed, and he had already decided to incorporate all teen books with the adult books.

"I'm really glad it is staying in the collection because it was something that would've been so important to me when I was that 5th-grade kid like ‘why do I feel so weird in girls' P.E. class?’,” said Emma Menard. “It was definitely a resource that I would've loved to have had."

Aside from the book's impact on queer people, many warned the board of the danger of removing the book saying it would turn into a slippery slope.

"Censorship is not only un-American, it's unconstitutional, it's anti-American,” said Dr. Rick Swanson.

Plus, librarians within the system say they would not feel comfortable removing a book simply because a group of people doesn't agree with its content.

"Who are you to deny parents the right to guide their own children?” said Cara Chance, the manager of the North Regional Library. “Who are you to impose your morals on other people's children, and tell them what they can and can not read, and what's right and what's wrong?”

Meanwhile -- Michael Lunsford -- who started the process to get the book removed -- says he's okay with the book staying in the collection -- but be moved to another section of the library.

"I think it's a good move,” said Lunsford. “I think most of these, if not all of these books should be in the adult section, away from the kids, so it's a victory in that light. We're going to look into what other issues might be related to this, but for the most part, I'm satisfied that they did this.”

Out of six board members, four voted to have the book moved to the adult non-fiction section. Two voted to have the book removed completely from the collection.

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