Large turnout in discussion over library’s Pride Month display

Published: Aug. 9, 2021 at 10:49 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - A Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library Board meeting lasted over three hours in discussion about a display that caused division among members of the community.

In June, the library placed out a display of books that discussed topics such as sexuality, gender identity, and other topics related to the LGBTQIA+ community.

The board had a proposal to give them oversight to the library displays and guest speakers and a proposal to “govern children’s acquisitions”, which both failed in a 2-3 vote.

Board Vice President Mike Johnson said the material for each month would be too time-consuming to look over, and the board should trust the employees to make a good judgment of the material they select for the library.

The floor then opened up to people who wanted to speak for or against the Pride Month display, of which over 20 people spoke.

“These are children,” one woman said, in opposition to the Pride month display, “these are the most impressionable human beings on the planet,”.

A Jonesboro man who spoke for the display says parents can leave the books on the shelf if they don’t want their children reading them.

”One is trying to limit the books at the library and the other just wants to keep things open for all people,” he said. “Let’s keep things open for everyone shall we?”

Local and state leaders attended Monday night’s meeting, State Senator Dan Sullivan and Representative Brandt Smith.

The board made the ultimate decision to table the discussion until the next meeting in September.

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