Cover of “Prince and Knight,” by Daniel Haack

Cover of “Prince and Knight,” by Daniel Haack

 

Upshur County Public Library should immediately return LGBTQ book to its shelves

CHARLESTON, W.Va. Fairness West Virginia Executive Director Andrew Schneider released the following statement concerning the Upshur County Public Library’s decision to pull an LGBTQ-inclusive children’s book off its shelves:

“Libraries should not be in the business of banning books, and that’s exactly the situation we’ll have if the Upshur County Public Library doesn’t immediately return the children’s book ‘Prince & Knight’ to its shelves. This award-winning book tells the story of two men who fall in love while slaying a dragon. It was recently pulled off of the library’s shelves and hidden away in a private office.

The American Library Association is clear: attempts to “remove materials dealing with gay, lesbian, bisexual, and/or transgender life” violate the Library Bill of Rights and constitute censorship.

At a public meeting Tuesday night, the library’s board of directors failed to return the book to its shelves in the children’s section of the library. We respect the board of directors’ desire to read all of the written comments submitted by members of the public, but the book should have never been pulled off of the shelf in the first place. Excluding books from libraries solely because they include LGBTQ-content contradicts the mission of libraries to be repositories of free information and knowledge to the public, and such actions are clearly unconstitutional.

It’s unacceptable for the library to wait until mid-January to announce its decision. I find it deeply troubling that this whole charade was spurred by one outspoken pastor who complained to the library’s director that this book is a “deliberate attempt to indoctrinate young children” into being gay.

Libraries serve all of the community, including LGBTQ people. It’s important for LGBTQ families to see themselves represented in literature, and ‘Prince & Knight’ offers a powerful and important story that the children of Upshur County should be able to freely access. Books do not indoctrinate someone to change their sexuality. I grew up reading plenty of books about men and women falling in love and yet here I am – still a gay man.”

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Fairness West Virginia is the statewide civil rights advocacy organization dedicated to fair treatment and civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender West Virginians. Our mission is to ensure LGBT people can be open, honest and safe at home, at work, and in the community. We are open to everyone who believes in fundamental fairness.

Please direct questions to Jake Jarvis, communications manager at jake@fairnesswv.org.