NCAC is calling on public libraries of Washington County, Utah to reconsider a ban on LGBTQ displays. Joined by the National Council of Teachers of English and Lambda Legal, the letter warns that the ban poses a serious threat to equal rights and freedom of expression and sets a dangerous precedent by perpetuating a culture of prejudice and intolerance. “A culture of prejudice is toxic in any community forum, especially the library where everyone should be equally welcome and guaranteed freedom to read, think and explore new ideas,” the letter states. The ban, as the organizations point out, can also be seen as an impermissible act of discrimination based on sexual orientation.
“Handling complaints about library displays can be challenging but banning material just because some find it controversial is a violation of core constitutional principles,” warns Abena Hutchful, coordinator of NCAC’s youth programs. “A public library’s mission is to foster a culture of inclusion, open dialogue and tolerance.”
The letter encourages Washington County libraries to establish transparent, viewpoint neutral procedures for handling complaints about displays. The organizations offered to assist the county in developing such procedures.
The full letter can be read below; click here for a full screen view.