Protesters remove LGBTQ books for young people from Columbia SC library
Someone who opposes LGBTQ-focused children’s books appears to be protesting as they check out every book in a Pride Month display at a Columbia-area library.
“To protect our children and the community, we checked the books in the Pride display. We plan to keep these books checked out until the library agrees to remove inappropriate content from the shelves,” read a letter left Thursday on a Pride Month display table at the Richland Library branch where several books had been deleted.
A national political advocacy group says it is facilitating the protest. Similar protests from the organization have been reported across the United States
The non-profit organization called Catholic Vote launched a “Hide the Pride” campaign in early June, which is nationally recognized as LGBTQ Pride Month. The group’s goal is to “reclaim” public library spaces for children by removing LGBTQ children’s books from libraries.
“It’s June! Do you see rainbow-trans-BLM flags everywhere? Including in your taxpayer-funded public spaces? We do. And we are meeting the challenge head-on,” read a press release announcing the campaign.
The association provides parents with a form letter identical to the one left at the branch of the library in Richland. The one left at the local branch was unsigned.
A Twitter post exposing the Richland Library incident received national attention, with more than 2,000 retweets as of 1 p.m. Friday. Even some celebrities have noticed it. Actress Patricia Arquette responded to the post, writing, “I’m so sorry this is ridiculous. Love will win.
The tweet read: “My mid-level pride month display was stolen tonight and this threatening letter was left by the thief. I’m so overwhelmed,” and included photos of the form letter left on the table and a table decorated for Pride Month with empty book displays.
As of 2:50 p.m., the author of the Tweet restricted who can view their account.
Tamara King, equity and engagement manager for the Richland Library System, said the books had in fact been checked according to library policies and had not been stolen.
She added that the library will be displaying more books for Pride Month. She did not specify where in the library the incident occurred, citing staff security.
“As an organization, we support, celebrate and honor the lives of our LGBTQ+ customers and staff and will continue to amplify their voices through our inclusive materials, displays, programs and policies,” King said. “Our collections, services and programming reflect the wide range of perspectives and cultures that exist in our community. We intentionally provide safe and welcoming spaces for all of our customers.
Catholic Vote also tweeted the incident, sharing the initial post with the caption, “We are so proud of our followers! #HidethePride.
This organization provides a step-by-step plan for parents to follow to remove Pride Month postings from local libraries. This plan includes advice to “assign someone in your group to be ready to film for the duration of your time at the library, in case a staff member gives you trouble”, as well as a warning to review the library cash register. policy “to follow the letter of the law, so to speak”.
It also provides a list of 16 books in particular it says parents should remove from public libraries.
King said the library is continuing to investigate the incident.
The state has reached out to the person who posted the original Tweet, as well as Catholic Vote for comment.
This story was originally published June 17, 2022 1:44 p.m.