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Library Link: Pride brings challenges

Airdrie Public Library says Pride materials often vandalized, hidden behind shelves or other areas, or checked out in large numbers to limit access.
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Keeping Pride materials available and accessible to all often a challenge, says APL.

Public libraries have many different displays on their shelves, covering a vast range of topics and interests to their patrons.

Here at Airdrie Public Library (APL), we have more than one hundred different displays on our pony wall over the course of a year.

These displays bring awareness to national and international themes, and celebrate various groups within our community, including Women’s History Month, Black History Month, and Indigenous History Month.

They also cover religious and cultural events such as Christmas, Easter, Ramadan, Passover, Thanksgiving, Eid, Alberta Day, and many, many others.

And yet, no display brings more challenges than materials by and for the LGBTQ community.

June is Pride Month, and as an inclusive public space that fosters literacy, knowledge, and cultural connections, APL celebrates this segment of the Airdrie community as much as any other.

However, unlike our other collections, our LGBTQ literature is often vandalized, materials hidden behind shelves or in other areas, including in the children’s area, and checked out in large numbers as a way to limit access.

This kind of gorilla censorship is growing and is a concern for libraries who represent the right of all Canadians to intellectual freedom.

The Canadian Federation of Library Associations statement on Intellectual Freedom and Libraries has this to say about censorship:

“Libraries have a core responsibility to safeguard and facilitate access to constitutionally protected expressions of knowledge, imagination, ideas, and opinion, including those which some individuals and groups consider unconventional, unpopular or unacceptable.”

Whatever your beliefs or opinions are on Pride Month and the LGBTQ community, the issue that should be of concern for all Airdronians, is the attempt to censor materials that all citizens have a right to access through their public library.

For more information on the Canadian Federation of Library Associations statement on Intellectual Freedom and Libraries, visit:

https://cfla-fcab.ca/en/guidelines-and-position-papers/statement-on-intellectual-freedom-and-libraries/

 

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