LGBTQ+ Book Removed from West Virginia Library

November 26, 2019
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West Virginia Prince and KnightA West Virginia public library has pulled a children’s book one local website described as “promoting homosexuality” from the shelves after an elementary school child came across the age appropriate title. The book, Prince and Knight by Daniel Haack is an illustrated fairy tale about a handsome Prince whose parents want him to get married, but no one interests him until a Knight in shining armor appears. The challenge officially came from a local pastor, who complained via social media about the book indoctrinating children, especially boys into being gay. This issue has divided the small community, prompted responses from local and national LGBTQ+ groups, a statement from the author, and the Library Board President’s abrupt departure from a public meeting when people became unruly finding out they wouldn’t be given the floor to talk about the incident.

According to MetroWeekly, Calvary Chapel Mountain Highlands Pastor Josh Layfield took to Facebook to talk about the censorship, but it is obvious the post has since been removed:

I met with the Library Director and informed him of my concerns. He has removed it from the shelves waiting to meet with the board for the final decision. This is of great concern for everyone in this community. As a father of four boys, I know my boys love princes, kings, and rulers. They love knights in shining armor and they emulate these men by acting them out in play. This book is a deliberate attempt to indoctrinate young children, especially boys, into the LGBTQA lifestyle. This book is deliberately appealing to their imagination, creativity, and their innocence when they still think girls have “cooties”. Children’s books, which are promoted by the state and put into circulation by taxpayer funds, should remain innocent. Unfortunately, this is an intentional leading of children into sin and parents and citizens within this community must be mindful of what is happening.

For the offended: please know that you are radically loved by a Holy God who wants to set you free from sin. He has died for you and he longs to have an eternal relationship with you. You can have this if you simply humble your heart and repent. I am aware that there will be some offended at the actions of removing the book from the children’s section. I am also aware that you will be upset, emotionally charged by the fact that I think it necessary for parents and citizens to guard their children from such indoctrination. I know you will be tempted, and even given into such temptation to throw insults at me and those who believe like me. I want you to know, however, that you are loved by the God of the Bible who has standards and is Holy. He came in the flesh to free you from your sins. I am praying that your eyes are opened and you put off the darkness and step into the light.

According to the library website:

The mission of the Upshur County Public Library is to provide lifelong learning opportunities to this rural county by connecting people with information. All ages have access to a varied, balanced current collection of materials in formats appropriate for their level. Access to high speed internet connections and evolving technologies to meet changing informational needs in a pleasant, secure environment is provided. Residents will have access to the information needed to make informed life choice decisions. We support intellectual freedom through the Library Bill of Rights.

The ALA’s Library Bill of Rights states unequivocally

II. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.

III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.

IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.

There is a clear conflict between the Library Bill of Rights and the Library Director pulling the book after without review. Director of ALA‘s Office for Intellectual Freedom, Deborah Caldwell-Stone, released a statement urging the library to uphold its own policies, reminding them “the public library has a responsibility to represent a broad range of materials in its collection and to meet the needs of everyone in the community it serves – not just the most vocal, the most powerful, or even the majority.”

Caldwell-Stone was just one of many voices raised in opposition to this viewpoint discrimination. GLAAD and Local LGBTQ+ group, Buckhannon Pride, both released statements admonishing this biased behavior against the community in West Virginia, and the story has been picked up by multiple national news organizations.

Intellectual freedom supporters can opt to sign the petition on Change.org or submit comments to in writing by emailing upshur.info@clark.lib.wv.us.

The next library meeting where Prince and Knight’s Faye could be decoded will take place in January 2020. Stay posted to CBLDF.org for updates on this challenge, or sign up for our weekly newslettre to get updates delivered direct to your inbox.

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