After the resounding defeat of a challenge to the LGBTQIA-themed children’s picture book This Day in June at the public library in West Chicago, Illinois this week, CBLDF and other organizational members of the National Coalition Against Censorship’s Kids’ Right to Read Project have sent a letter of appreciation to library staff for standing firm against censorship and ensuring that the book got a public hearing before the library board.
Board members voted 6-1 to retain the book written by Gayle Pitman and illustrated by Kristyna Litten, which introduces young readers to the experience of attending a Pride Parade. A West Chicago couple wanted it removed or relocated after their three-year-old daughter came across it in the children’s section of the library, but the board majority agreed that while parents and guardians have an individual responsibility to supervise their own children’s reading, they may not hinder access for other families. Over 130 community members attended Monday’s board meeting to show support for This Day in June and intellectual freedom, outnumbering those who wanted it censored by a 10:1 ratio.
The board vote is technically non-binding and the final decision is left up to library staff, but the latter have assured advocates there was never any possibility that they would be the ones to censor the book. Director Benjamin R. Weseloh and other library staff have received numerous communications from people on all sides of the issue, but have scrupulously observed the library’s challenge policy which requires a public hearing and board vote. The NCAC letter thanks the staff for standing firm:
We know how difficult it is to resist censorship pressure, especially during a time of growing political intolerance. We congratulate you for having organized a thoughtful public discussion of the danger of book censorship. The open and public debate about This Day in June is an inspiring example of democracy.
Check out the full letter below, and thanks again to the West Chicago Public Library staff and the board majority!
Contributing Editor Maren Williams is a reference librarian who enjoys free speech and rescue dogs.