A Long Island library board reversed a decision taken earlier this week to remove Pride Month displays from the system’s children’s wards shortly after Governor Kathy Hochul ordered a state human rights inquiry.
Smithtown Library’s board of trustees has been under fire since Tuesday for removing the displays, which include picture books like “Pink is for Boys” and “Pride Puppy.” Every LGBTQ+ book was also banned from children’s rooms and had to be placed elsewhere.
The board voted 4-2 in an emergency meeting on Thursday evening to withdraw the removal order for children’s wards. Trustees also passed a statement, read by President Brianna Baker-Stines, saying that the board “recognizes that our earlier decision was made without the time, care and diligence such a decision deserves and that it was the wrong decision.”
The board went on to say that they will “put collective effort into getting the necessary advice and guidance” before making similar decisions regarding the library.
“We recognize that we have our differences, but we believe that what we have in common is greater than those differences,” the board said in a statement. “We know that a good library will contain things that may bother us all, but we understand that our primary role is to represent many different points of view and opposing ideas. We do this by giving each one a voice – and space.”
A huge celebration of pride and diversity of the LGBT community was held in the Bronx today. Checkey Beckford reports that.
Hochul earlier Thursday ordered the state’s human rights division to immediately launch an investigation into the initial move.
“It is prohibited by law to discriminate in public places on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity,” Hochul said in a prepared statement. “Everyone — and especially the youth of our state — deserves to feel welcome at the library.”
Tuesday’s vote (which was also 4-2) was condemned by LGBTQ supporters, as well as the New York Library Association. In a prepared statement, the library group called it “a direct violation of NYLA’s commitment to intellectual freedom and the freedom to read entrusted to libraries.”