In the Connecticut hometown of Revolutionary War hero Nathan Hale, a group of mothers including a “Christian taxpayer” is up in arms over the town library’s Pride book display and are demanding the offending materials be burned.
Booth & Dimock Memorial Library Director Margaret Khan said the incident happened June 22, when one of the mothers removed the books from the display and the group carried them to the front desk to complain.
Khan said the women responded with “hateful language” and told her the books in the display should be burned.
According to Khan, the library’s collection is evaluated based on specific criteria, including relevance and representation, and materials are evaluated by respected sources, including Library Journal and The New York Times Book Review, according to the Journal Inquirer.
Khan told the group they needed to follow library procedure and file a formal “request for reconsideration,” explaining their concerns in writing.
While library privacy guidelines proscribe naming the complainants, Khan did reveal the woman who filled out the request identified herself on the form only as a “Christian taxpayer.” It was unclear if the patron is a resident of Coventry.
In a statement, Town Council Chairwoman Lisa Thomas said, “I stand by our library and their mission to serve each individual in our community.”
“The hostile incident at our public library is part of a disturbing trend across the country. If an adult does not want their child to have access to certain reading materials or other resources, it is up to that adult to guide their child’s choices. Our library is a critical resource to our community to provide information, programming, and other supports. Public libraries embrace the needs of all people in the community.”
While police were not called during the incident, Town Manager John Elsesser said if something similar happens again, library staff should do so.
The uproar in Coventry occurred a week before a similar incident in nearby Colchester, Connecticut when a resident demanded the book Who is RuPaul? be removed from the library’s collection because it contained a “sexually provocative” image. A town selectman agreed the book should be deemed inappropriate for the children’s section.
Coventry’s hometown hero Hale, who spied for the Americans and was executed by the British, was the grandson of Puritan pastor John Hale, a prominent figure in the Salem witch trials.