Homer Library Advisory Board seeks public testimony on LGTBQ-themed children’s books

HOMER, Alaska (KTUU) — Homer City Hall was packed wall-to-wall Tuesday night as a tidal wave of Homer residents waited to be heard at the Library Advisory Board meeting.

The board met to discuss the fate of 55 books currently under consideration for removal from the children’s and young adult sections, and this meeting included a public session for the public to discuss their concerns about the books.

In July, Madeline Veldstra started the petition after she felt that certain books in the children’s section of the library were not appropriate for their age.

“I’m just worried about seeing books about drag queens at my daughter’s level, right at the kindergarten level, mixed in with all the other books,” Veldstra said. “So I thought, I don’t think these books are appropriate for kids, so why don’t we move them to the adult section?”

Discussions at the meeting ranged from residents describing their concerns about the sexual imagery the books had, to concerns about inclusion and debates about what is considered appropriate for young people.

Library director Dave Berry originally rejected the petition over the summer because of the library’s goal of being a place of representation for the entire community.

“Well, we represent every conceivable point of view here in the library,” Berry said. “As we have always emphasized, no one is obliged to read anything they do not like.”

“The Homer Public Library has always been about providing the easiest access to materials possible, and that goes for all of our customers, including our youngest. We want to keep books in the hands of children as much as possible.

However, Veldstra said that she does not want to take the books from the library, but that they go to a designated department.

“This is one way we can protect children from content that is not age appropriate, while also making compromises and keeping the books in the library,” Veldstra said.

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