COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WJBF) – At a recent Columbia County Board of Commissioners’ meeting, a local woman made a request that the library move children’s picture books with LGBTQ+ content to the adult section.
At a Columbia County Library Board meeting on Tuesday, other library users spoke out against that request.
“When I first heard about someone asking the Columbia County Library and Columbia County Board of Commissioners to censor LGBTQ books by labeling them and shoving them into the adult section, I was actually appalled,” said Greta Vega.
“I wanted to point out to anyone who wants to restrict a children’s book for any reason, that there always has been and always will be children different who are different from their peers,” said Heather Carey.
They said that the books show inclusivity, and how every child’s upbringing is not the same.
“If a kid finds an LGBTQ book to read, they might say ‘oh, that person’s different than me,’ or ‘oh, I might have feelings, maybe I need to talk to my mom,'” Vega said.
None one who spoke at the meeting was in support of the proposal.
The board chair said the process to get books reconsidered starts with verbally addressing issues to library staff.
If the patron fills out a request for reconsideration, it will be up to the board to decide what happens next.
“There’s a lot of material out there that people have discovered, didn’t know was out, and some folks want to keep their children away from,” said Russell Wilder, the Columbia County Library Board Chair. “And the ladies you heard today think it’s perfect for their children and everybody’s children. So that’s where we’re at – a new day and age, we’re trying to handle this the best was possible.”
They have had to remove a children’s book in the past.
But, other board members said whether or not a child is exposed to these books, is up to the parents.
“As we have all different types of people in the community, we have all kinds of different books,” said Marlena Bergeron, a Columbia County Library Board Member. “A book is not a bully, a book is not going to follow you and harass you and your family. If you don’t like a book you can close it and put it away, and it’s not a part of your life anymore.”
We reached out to the woman who wanted the books to be moved, but haven’t heard back. The next library board meeting is September 12th at 11:30 a.m.