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Arlington library launches survey on proposal to ban pride month displays from kid, teen sections

Nine people sit at a dais behind a wooden wall emblazoned with the city of Arlington logo and tag line, "The American Dream City." A computer monitor holds the same logo and bullet items that read "next steps," "feedback" and "questions."
Kailey Broussard
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KERA News
Members of Arlington Public Library's advisory Board discuss LGBTQ displays in library children and young adult sections.

The survey, which closes a day before the Library Advisory Board discusses the policy, comes after the board spent hours debating the policies and fielding public comment.

Arlington Public Library is asking the public to weigh in on proposed display policies and guidelines prohibiting staff from displaying books with LGBTQ representation in the children's and young adult sections during Pride Month.

The survey, which launched Tuesday, closes at midnight Oct. 26 — a day before the city's Library Advisory Board discusses the policy.

The board spent hours debating the policies and fielding public comment during its Oct. 6 meeting, ultimately adjourning without a vote or a clear picture of how all board members will vote.

Director of Libraries Norma Zuniga said during the meeting that library staff wanted the chance to hear from as many people as possible before making a decision.

"We've been hearing throughout the last several weeks and months a lot of opinions and perspectives and viewpoints," Zuniga said. "We want to make sure that we brought everybody to the table to hear for all of us to hear and consider what needs to be said."

Arlington's council-appointed library advisory board is the latest forum for mounting pressure against city government-funded institutions to stop acknowledging the LGBTQ community.

Anti-LGBTQ speakers since summer 2021 have asked Mayor Jim Ross to discontinue the city's proclamation declaring June Gay Pride Month. Several of the same opponents to the proclamation have asked the city to pull displays and certain books with LGBTQ representation.

Gina Woodlee, who has led both charges, requested the library not display "any controversial causes (e.g., Support of LGBTQ, Abortion, Socialism, Communism, etc.) in ANY areas of the library." She submitted the request during the Oct. 6 meeting, according to records obtained by KERA News.

"If the city library decides to include any of these displays, then they must allow a display that includes a countering display during the same time frame — (e.g., Heterosexual Pride Month, Pro-Life Celebration Month, Celebration of Conservatism, Christian Celebration Month, etc.)," Woodlee's request reads.

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Arlington Library
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For LGBTQ mental health support, call the Trevor Project’s 24/7 toll-free support line at 866-488-7386. You can also reach a trained crisis counselor through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling 800-273-8255 or texting 741741.

Got a tip? Email Kailey Broussard at kbroussard@kera.org. You can follow Kailey on Twitter @KaileyBroussard.

KERA News is made possible through the generosity of our members. If you find this reporting valuable, consider making a tax-deductible gift today. Thank you.

Kailey Broussard is a reporter for KERA and The Texas Newsroom through Report for America (RFA). Broussard covers the city of Arlington, with a focus on local and county government accountability.