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Virginia library could shut down after refusing to limit kids’ access to books about gender, sexuality

by

Daily Caller News Foundation

Samuels Public Library in Virginia rejected the Warren County Board of Supervisors’ funding agreement on Thursday night over children’s access to and the removal of LGBTQ books, The Washington Post reported.

The library rejected the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), opting to jeopardize its funding from the county rather than allow county officials to govern the library and the book titles provided. The library and the Board of Supervisors plan to meet next week for face-to-face negotiations regarding the stalemate that could cause the library to close its doors in October if an agreement is not reached, according to the Post.

The county officials voted in June to withhold 75% of the library’s funding unless the library board makes revisions to its bylaws allowing the county to have more governance. The Board of Supervisors offered the MOA in August that would give governance of the public library to seven county-appointed trustees, including one by the school board, The Associated Press reported.

The library’s trustees argued county control would go against the library’s tax status as a nonprofit organization. However, most of the library’s funding comes from the county and is likely to run out of operating funds by the end of the month, according to the Post.

The controversy “was brought about by a small group of Warren County residents who are disturbed that Samuels Public Library has a small number of books that have LGBTQ+ characters representing .05% of a collection of over 90,000 items,” library trustees president Melody Hotek said during a trustees meeting.

A website called “Clean Up Samuels Library” hosted events where attendees, including members from a local Catholic church and a conservative Catholic college, filled out book removal forms. Around 700 forms were filled out by 60 people and targeted 141 books, according to the Post.

The books receiving complaints range from “Gender Queer,” a graphic novel that contains explicit illustrations, to “Bathe the Cat,” a children’s book about a family with two fathers getting mixed up while doing household chores, according to the AP.

“I do believe books that advocate for and glorify the LGBTQ doctrine are potentially harmful to young people and therefore are inappropriate in our youth collection,” Samuels Public Library treasurer Pete Walker told the Post.

“Book bans” have been the subject of controversy around the country as parents protest the sexually explicit children’s books. Republican-led states, like Florida, have removed more than 100 books that contain pornographic material from schools. But some Democrat-led states have signed legislation that prevents the removal or restriction of “partisan or doctrinal” content.

Samuels Public Library and the Warren County Board of Supervisors did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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Republished with permission from Daily Caller News Foundation

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