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A Group of Louisiana Libraries Block Cultural Displays

It was announced Tuesday that a group of Louisiana libraries will block cultural displays that highlight specific groups. The announcement comes just as Pride Month kicked off at the beginning of June. This means that Pride Month— as well as other cultural celebrations like Black History Month, Women’s History Month, Cajun heritage, and Native American History Month— will no longer be highlighted in library displays in Lafayette County in Louisiana.

Library Director Danny Gillane stated the action was taken to protect the libraries’ collection, saying “I’m doing this because everything’s a fight, and if I put these books out right now, I feel like I am inviting people to challenge these books.”

This decision, which some have regarded as self-censorship, comes amidst a myriad of book bans and censorship. Lafayette county patrons even challenged two books in late 2021.

Still, there are some who call the decision of these libraries to block displays as discrimination. Matthew Humphrey, president of Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays Lafayette, said “Denying representation to any minority community at the public library will not go unanswered. We are not afraid to sue.”

Despite the criticism, Gillane maintains the decision will help keep the library system’s collection in tact. He wants for future displays to only “focus on topics such as mystery, romance, science fiction and poetry.”

There is currently no end date for the new policy.

Find more news and stories of interest from the book world in Breaking in Books.

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