Libraries one-sided on topic of homosexuality


On the continuing thread of libraries receiving bad press the following was a story I found when I ran a Google news search for libraries. This article was in the top 5.

Excerpt from article: Parents and Friends of ExGays and Gays is campaigning to put materials on the truth about homosexuality into public libraries.

Parents and Friends of ExGays and Gays (PFOX) says most libraries stock pro-homosexual books, but when it comes to books on the truth about homosexuality and materials on how one can be freed from the homosexual lifestyle, censorship seems to be fair play. PFOX executive director Regina Griggs explains that her organization has sent these types of materials to libraries, only to have them rejected or sent back.

Full article here.


Can I put them next to the phrenology collection?

Last I checked, the library in which I work had none of the titles listed in the Essential Intelligent Design Bibliography. Wouldn't a news story that reported this fact qualify as good press?

If patrons want books on phrenology, intelligent design, ex-gays, or the wiccan bible (which my last PL had - although it was frequently stolen) should you not have them?

It would seem that a book with a differing viewpoint than those already in the collection would be added if donated unless there is a overriding reason not to add it - pornographic, in a language not used in the local area, not new, etc.

If the book does not circulate it could be weeded in a year or two.

It seems the librarians who posted above have made value judgements on the content of items in their collection, or more clearly not in their collection. We as librarians are not to do this. It is disappointing that they do. The public has a right to have the library collect what they wish to read, if they want the aforementioned books the librarains have a professional obligation to add them.

That is one of the main reasons I left the public libray, public librarians seem to think they know what people 'need' to read and fail to understand what the public they serve wishes to read.

Librarians are public servants, all too often the forget that.

Mdoneil, I do agree that we should provide things that our patrons wish, even if we don't agree with the content. We do this all the time for fiction. But nonfiction is slightly trickier. When content of a book becomes outdated, we do weed those books out of the collection. That, in my opinion, is making a "value judgment", in the sense that I am judging the value of the book's contents and what my patrons would want or need. It is different than objecting to the content in general, but I thought I'd point out that we as librarians do make judgment calls every day.

What if someone requests 20 books on one subject? Do you buy all 20 books or do you look at book reviews for each one and purchase just a few? I don't know too many librarians that choose book purchases by blindly following patron suggestions. Yet another judgment call.

If only we had the money we could collect everything we wanted.

In the first instance you are making a judgement about the currency of a work, not the content of a work. If you encyclopedia only goes up to Nixon you will probably replace it so you can spread the word about President Ford. That is different than making a value judgement on the theme of a book. Currency, authority those are less value judgement than 'measurable' characteristics.

In the second instance, something not at all uncommon in the public library when some patrons do not have access to a good research library, you can purchase what you feel - based on reviews and subject matter experts' opinions- to be the definitive work. What we can do as librarians, and which is truly a valuable service, is to assist the patron in locating and obtaining the other works he needs. ILL, document delivery, reciprocal borrowing agreements, worldcat, system union catalogs, these are among the many tools we have at our disposal to help our patrons.

I would assume that if our budgets would allow it we would buy all patron requests, and I tried to buy as many as possible. I almost always was able to buy the fiction requests, but non-fiction requests were more problematic, especially for arcane subject matter. However I cannot recall a time when I was not able to locate a title that a patron requested. I've ILL'ed books from local universities, and from as far away as Ireland and even Qatar.

That is what I liked best about being a librarian, helping the patrons find the information they need.

I didn't say it was unfit for my library. I said it was retarded.

By retarded do you mean any of the dictionary definitions of the word, or are you making a value judgment of the content of the ex-gay books?

I was making a value judgment based on the content of the ex-gay books.

Personally, there is no reason you can't decide a book is garbage.

I'm not so sure that the ex-gay books are not garbage - because I have not read them, and also because I think if someone wanted to stop being gay, or straight, or attracted to carosuel horses, one would just stop and not need a how-to manual.

It reminds me of the old (bad) joke how many psychiatrists does it take to change a lightbulb?.... one but the lightbulb has to really want to change. If someone gay decides they are not happy being gay and want to stop being gay they just stop being gay, or it is like being white or black, you can't simply stop because you are what you are. Either way a book about how people were 'healed of the gay' probably will not be of much help.

However, if patrons ask for them buy them no matter your value judgement.

I think Kevin Trudeau's book is complete and utter rubbish not fit to be burned to provide heat for the freezing. I also hold the opinion that he is a shyster, charlatan, con man who preys upon sick peoples' ignorance and last hopes.

I ordered 3 copies because I had 15 requests for it. I also made sure there were plenty of books that were not nonsense about the conditions mentioned in his book.

We should not let our values influence what we buy for the libraries in which we work, we should let the patrons decide.

I didn't say I wouldn't buy it or shelve it. I said it was bullshit.

And executing the duties of my job and having my own private thoughts are two things that I should be doing.

I should have known before I made my comment to your inital post about putting them next to the phrenology collection that you were of course going to add these to your collection.

I should have known that when you called it 'retarded' how open minded you were and that you were evaluating your patrons' needs.

Now that you have skillfully used vulgarity I am quite sure that you are the best librarian in the world.

Well, now I am sure there is now another name on the list of people to never bother responding to on LISNews.

Good grief, can't anyone play nice on this site anymore?! Seriously, Chuck, I don't blame mdoneil for thinking you wouldn't add the book when your only comment was that the book was b.s. and retarded and whatever other adjectives you threw in there. You mentioned nothing about having read it, adding it for your patrons, or anything pertaining to your library's collection; you just expressed your personal belief about the content. That was all mdoneil and the rest of us had to go on. I could care less what you, mdoneil or anyone else thinks on the content. I know no one cares what I think on the content. The main article was about the lack of these books in libraries and whether or not to add them to create a "balanced" collection.

How about those of us who define our collections by what our communities' interests and requests are?

Also...what is the "Truth about homosexuality"... Do people really want to know "how one can be freed from the homosexual lifestyle"?

It seems to me (and this from my personal experience living in a "Gay" community) that the homosexuals I have known throughout my life really have had no interest in "being freed", for if they had...I'm pretty sure they'd not have been living the lifestyle they were...

So then, is not this book that espouses the "Truth" just as biased as one that does not? Is this book something the community has asked for? Is there a need in the community for this item? If there is, then by all means add the item. If there isn't....then there is no justification in wasting staff time and taxpayers $$$$ adding materials that will not be used.

Honestly, my concern would be that young gay patrons would pick up one of these books and be horrified to find out "The *Truth* About Homosexuality" . For a kid who is struggling with issues of sexuality, some of these books would be like a stab wound to the gut. Of course, libraries can carry other books that show a more reasonable view of sexual orientation.... but how do you get a kid to any of them when the first book was so destructive?

I'm sure there would be many members of the community that would be happy to rip a gay kid apart emotionally through books or through direct physical contact, but while libraries serve all groups in our communities, I don't think we need to 'serve' as a stick for one group to club another group with.

But if we don't carry them when they are requested, aren't we adding to the titles listed as "Banned Books" with us doing the banning?

Surely, it wouldn't take that much out of the budget to purchase one or two of the titles, or catalog them when donated?

"The Director"

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