Fort Lauderdale's Gay Library, A Positive View

miz writes "In the current print issue of ALA's American Libraries, I learned of this semi-old story: "Fort Lauderdale OKs Gay Library Despite Mayor's Discomfort." I find it interesting to see how the mayor as a public figure can go against a building facility, it is as if he's ignoring a part of the population.

I personally applaud the mission of this library, being that it has a collection for a special percentage of the population. I don't live in Ft. Lauderdale myself, so I can't see this innovative library myself. I would definitely make it a future plan of mine to visit! There are strict policies to ensure that kids won't be exposed, patrons do have to be over eighteen and sign an agreement, so I truly don't understand the narrow minds of people.

These are other web sources that mention this particular issue:

Ft. Lauderdale Metro

News Hounds

Library Journal
Stonewall Library"


Should any city allow a special intrest group to open a library in a city building? Should any city allow a special intrest group to open a library with a collection restricted to adults because of its contents on a city building?

I'd like an Irish red-headed women library, and in fact I have several books with lovely Irish red-heads featured in them (none of them involve the word slaves, or lesbian bedtime stories unfortunately) so I am willing to open a library in a city building.

This is just silly, next the neo-nazis, or the Rastafarians, or any other special intrest group will want the city to foot the bill for it's library space. Sure the Stonewall library will renovate the space at its expense, but as far as I can tell they will not be paying rent to the library, ArtSpace, the city or the county.

The library collection is inconsequential. I'd oppose the Christian Coalition Library being given a ride on tax dollars too. However if the library is on city property it should be open to everyone. What elese does the city house that requires users to produce ID and be of the age of majority.

Should the collection be assimilated into the regular county/city libraries sure if it meets collection development needs. Should tax dollars be used to support a private organization's library. No, why would anyone think otherwise.

I said it as a wonderful opportunity for learning...

I would expect everyone, even those with a different sexual orientation to actually have a library to feel comfortable in.

The government already gets involved in lucid wasteful projects on their own, so if that's the case...then I believe this is a good cause to waste tax money on. Better on this than on a stadium or the war. I still strongly support the existence of this library, as a good research site.

Nor is it your problem. The good people of Ft. Lauderdale, through their council members, can give money and land to whomever they choose.Democracy is a bitch like that.And: comparing gay history to a 7-11? Classy.

Wonderful opportunity? Giving free rent to any special library (or 7-11 or anything else that is a private organization) is not a wonderful opportunity. I'm sure there are plenty of churches, food banks, and other organizations that don't limit their services to adults nor require membership that could go in a government owned space.

What the mayor thinks of the content, what anyone thinks of the content is really immaterial. The giving of free space to a special library is not a necessary governmental service. Nor is giving free space to a church, food bank or drop in center for the homeless. Let them pay market rent.

Wow... that's a wonderful opportunity...and that's an interesting follow up for that mayor.

stonewall library and archives is a special library located in broward county. it is a membership library with a circulating collection and a research archive. it collects gay/lesbian/bisexual media with an emphasis on SE USA gay culture. i was lucky enough to be able to volunteer as a cataloger there before i earned my degree. many of their collection has first editions, author autographed books, and a majority of their collection was gained (and maintained through volunteers) through donations. (i'd like to see most public libraries be able to do that for 25+ years). sla serves a very important function, especially through the archives.naugle has been taken off certain committees because of his close-minded views and you can be certain that if he runs again for public office, he won't win. he's a little "special" as you would say.

It sounds to me like the library is going to be largely about the civil rights history of homosexuals in America. Stonewall was a pivotal moment in that history.What's to question about its worth as an area of public study?Further, given his attitude towards gay people - do you trust Mayor Neagle to determine what is obscene? He does not have good judgment.

mdoneil, get a load of this, and read the linked PDF article (and some of the cited articles):

Of course people are aware of conflicts with the morals, ideas, and ideals of those that founded the many public libraries. They have an organization called the ALA.

That sound is Andrew Carnegie spinning in his grave (of course the ALA would call him a robber baron.)

I am certain a collection of hard core p-rn in the public library goes against the enabling statutes of the library. The library may be acting outside the law. Is anyone aware of such a case in other areas, that is where a library is acting outside the boundaries of the law that granted its powers?

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with more than 65,000 members. Its mission is to promote the highest quality library and information services and public access to information. With that statement, this collection, while disturbing to some, is in essence, unique because of its value to our culture and history. We pine at the thought of concentration camps, yet if you look at American History during the Civil War, and World War II, just to name two, anyone can find issues that are just as disturbing to say the least. Let's not verbally kill each other over issues that will remain controversial until we can all sit down at the same table and debate like human beings.

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