Lincoln Parish Library budget meeting turns into heated debate

Local News

RUSTON, LA. (KTVE/KARD) — A board meeting turned into a heated debate over books available at the Lincoln Parish Public Library.

Some parents are upset over the children’s books that contain LGBTQ+ characters and what they feel are suggestive sexual themes.

After discussing many issues like censorship and what is an age appropriate book, the Lincoln Parish Library has voted “yes” to review the unattended child policy that was already in place and “yes” on keeping all the books on the shelves.

One meeting attendee had this to say, “And we all have to learn about each other and accept each other. And all this community talks about being a Christian Community, that’s a joke. That is a living joke. Christian Communities should love people and accept people.”

Residents not holding back their opinion on how they feel about what they call being censored in a public library.

“As a gay man, as somebody who grew up with depression and anger having to deal with this, having LGBTQ books on the shelf will bring positivity to the children who are struggling,” said one resident.

At the Lincoln Parish Public Library’s Wednesday board meeting, both sides of the issue had the floor, including parents who are greatly concerned their child will come in contact with content they don’t approve of on the shelves.

One parent says, “As a parent it is my job and my responsibility to care for my children, to know what they are reading.”

Even after those words, the library board voted to review the unattended child policy already in place that requires parents to stick with their children while they are at the library.

But, some parents question that policy.

“Would you request that I as a parent stick right by my 6-year-old and go before you open this up, I need to read it first, or should I be able to have a general expectation that the books displayed front and center should be the trailer, or the G version, the suitable for all audiences,” says another parent at the meeting.

A board member did say they did not place these specific books in question front and center on the shelves.

The Director of the Lincoln Parish Library, Vivian McCain, says, “We believe at the Lincoln Parish Library it is the parent’s job to decide what a child reads, reviews, or looks at. So, we ask the parent to be totally responsible.”

Now, board members say every book inside the library was bought and selected specifically for the Lincoln Parish Community to be diverse and inclusive.

Meaning, they won’t censor any book due to race, gender, sexuality, religion, nationality, or political views.

In addition to this debate over content inside the books, the library discussed their new budget after the tax renewal was voted down by the voters in the run-off election.

Library board members agree changes will have to be made, but the board says staffing will be the last thing cut.

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