Before an overflow crowd of community members, the public library board in West Chicago, Illinois voted 6-1 last night to retain the LGBTQIA-themed children’s picture book This Day in June by Gayle Pitman in the children’s section. A West Chicago couple had challenged the book, implying that it promoted “GLBT and sex bondage” to young readers.
According to one person who was at the meeting, the 13 attendees who opposed the book were vastly outnumbered by more than 132 supporters. Library staff were especially gratified since they had never seen a board meeting attract more than four members of the public before.
Both sides had their chance to speak during the public comment period. Michaela Jaros, who challenged the book along with her husband Kurt, alleged that by having This Day in June in the children’s section, the West Chicago Public Library failed “to respect my personal discretion in choosing when and how I introduce these controversial topics to my children.”
Many attendees were especially moved by a speech from Daniel Lopez, who is transgender and said in part:
This book is showing acceptance. This book is not anything having to do with sexual content. If you’re seeing that, you’re seeing it through your own eyes.…Our LGBT ‘agenda’ is to be treated as equally as everybody else.
After the 6-1 vote to retain the book, board member Patricia Weninger observed that “it’s clear…that there are many people here tonight who would like to have the opportunity to check that book out, and I don’t want to start taking that from parents that would like to have that opportunity.”
Kudos to the board majority for observing the library’s collection development policy, and especially to all the community members who organized and turned out last night to defend this book and the freedom to read!
Contributing Editor Maren Williams is a reference librarian who enjoys free speech and rescue dogs.