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Salem-South Lyon District Library Board To address opposition to LGBTQ+ books

The Salem-South Lyon District Library Board will hold a community meeting later this month to discuss a demand by a group of residents to remove books they deem to be inappropriate.

It’s just the latest protest against libraries and the materials they offer that has taken place across the country, largely against books with LGBTQ+ characters and themes.

Similar protests have taken place recently at meetings of the Dearborn School Board and led to the defunding of the Patmos Library in West Michigan.

The Salem-South Lyon District Library Board meeting will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 29 from 6-8:30 p.m. in the Olson Meeting Room at the library.

It’s being held in reaction to a protest by a group of parents who, after seeing a Pride Month book display in June at the library, demanded the removal of 16 books they deemed inappropriate for teens.

Eight of those opposed to the books spoke at the Oct. 24 meeting of the library board, demanding the books be removed immediately after Library Director Paulina Poplawska and a material reviews committee declined a formal request to do so.

15 of the 16 books that have been cited as inappropriate have LGBTQ+ characters or themes.

HometownLife.com quoted one of the parents, Ben Luther, as saying his opposition was not about politics or sexual orientation.

“It’s about putting explicit material in an area designated for minors and displaying it to confront minors with this material,” he said, but then added, “It’s disgusting.”

The one resident who spoke at the Oct. 24th meeting in favor of the library was Cassidy Connolly, who said it was up to parents, not the library. to monitor their children.

“Let us not confuse availability with enticement,” she said. “As a queer member of this community, it’s telling that so often when this issue is brought up, it doesn’t address heterosexual material.”

Meanwhile, the group South Lyon Pride is asking its members to attend the Nov. 29th meeting and speak out in support of the library and “fight against censorship in our community.”

The books that are being challenged at the Salem-South Lyon District Library are:

  • Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall (Adult Fiction)
  • The Perks of Loving a Wallflower by Erica Ridley (Adult Fiction)
  • All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson (Teen Non-Fiction)
  • And They Lived by Steven Salvatore (Teen Fiction)
  • Baby & Solo by Lisabeth Posthuma (Teen Fiction)
  • Camp by L.C. Rosen (Teen Fiction)
  • Camp Spirit by Axelle Lenoir (Teen Fiction)
  • Coming Out: Insights and Tips for Teenagers by Kezia Endsley (Teen Non-Fiction)
  • A Far Wilder Magic by Allison Saft (Teen Fiction)
  • Here and Queer by Rowan Ellis (Teen Non-Fiction)
  • Just Your Local Bisexual Disaster by Andrea Mosqueda (Teen Fiction)
  • Kisses for Jet by Joris Bas Backer (Teen Fiction)
  • None of the Above by I. W. Gregorio (Teen Fiction)
  • The Pride Guide: A Guide to Sexual and Social Health for LGBTQ Youth by Jo Langford (Teen Non-Fiction)
  • Queerly Autistic by Erin Ekins (Teen Non-Fiction)
  • Yay! You’re Gay! Now What? A Gay Boy’s Guide to Life by Riyadh Khalaf (Teen Non-Fiction)

Library officials say the issue is about representing the entire community and ince they give in to demands from one group to remove books they don’t like, they will open the door for others to do the same.

Board Secretary Amy Randall-Ray asked where it would end.

“You could come to a library with nothing on the shelf,” she said. “It’s something we should think about.”

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