The Smithtown library trustees’ removal from its children’s rooms all Pride-related decor and books was an egregious abuse of power underwritten by political pandering and targeting the very minds they are empowered to enrich [“Library pulls some of its Pride displays,” News, June 23].
A library has all the power and promise to expand the experiences and minds of a community. Designed to be rooms of collections to house various forms of media, the average library is so much more. It is the very place that so many of our children find themselves through words and experiences. It is sometimes the place where they learn the most and find their way to understand things about themselves.
A rainbow flag can be innocuous, or it can indicate a place where someone who is just discovering their true selves can feel comfortable. The presence of such items likely provides much more good than harm. And isn’t that a better role for a library than the role adopted by Smithtown?
Banning books for any reason is arguably the most offensive and damaging act. If we all oppose this act and others like it, hopefully these trustees will not be in power for too long.
— Suzanne Wittenberg, Commack
I fail to understand how the Smithtown library board’s decision to remove Pride Month displays from the children’s section is “an act of hate” or “despicable” or an “erasure of LGBTQ people and their families,” particularly when the article mentions that the 29 books taken from display are still in circulation. Nowhere in the article does it say that trustee Marie Gergenti or the Long Island Loud Majority has called for violence or discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community, which would truly be hateful and despicable. Instead, all the trustee asks for is that the display, which promotes to little kids the possibly confusing claims that a boy can become a girl and a girl can actually become a boy, etc., be removed from the children’s section. No one in the library is prevented from checking out books that suit the needs of his or her child. The Smithtown library trustees are simply not foisting the LGBTQ+ agenda on all the other young and impressionable patrons of the library. Pride Month is not morally equivalent to other “holidays and cultural events.”
— Amanda Bonagura, Floral Park
Shame on me. I failed to follow the new rules of vetting every election no matter how small and routine. The result is the shameful Pride ban enacted by the Smithtown Library this past week, as engineered by Long Island Loud Majority board members, including Marie Gergenti.
As a Christian, proud mom, lifelong town resident and human, I cannot begin to express my disgust and shame with the library. They are supposed to be a bastion of expression and free thought. I have spent years bringing children to the library and praising its resources. In fact, when my church created a community profile while searching for a new rector, we proudly mentioned our library system. I can no longer point to the library as a shining star in our town.
This ban has rightfully been condemned by many, including the New York Library Association, other local libraries and residents. Ultimately, this has brought great shame to our community, and I can only conclude this: Smithtown literally has no pride.
— Patricia Reynolds, Hauppauge
They shouldn’t place displays so controversial in public libraries. It’s a divisive topic, and the public libraries should try to remain neutral and not pit neighbor against neighbor.
Even more questionable is the idea to put LGBTQ displays in the children’s section.
— James Di Maio, Mineola
As a lifelong Smithtown resident, I was disgusted and angered but ultimately saddened by the trustees’ decision to pull Pride displays from the children’s section.
In just the past few years, groups who claim to be the “majority” (but in actuality are just “loud”) have polluted our streets, our schools and, apparently, now our libraries with their divisiveness and intolerance.
Ultimately, though, perhaps the library board has it right in pulling those displays from the children’s rooms but allowing them to remain in the adult sections. The children of the community are already the ones who readily accept people of all sexual orientations and sexual identifications. It’s the adults, sadly, who still have some learning to do.
— Brian Rooney, Nesconset
As a former children’s librarian who worked in elementary schools and public libraries for almost 30 years, I read with shock and sadness about the decision to remove Pride displays in the children’s rooms of the Smithtown public libraries.
The library board does not, nor should it, determine what professionally trained librarians make available to all people. The library stands as a bastion of welcome to all and a safe haven.
This is a reaction filled with fear and anger and does not show Smithtown in a welcoming light.
— Pat Stein, Kings Park
Thank you, Smithtown library trustees, for removing the LGBTQ propaganda from the libraries’ children’s sections. Children should not have to be exposed to this at such a young age. If parents choose to educate their children on the Pride alphabet, it should be their choice.
— Ilene Curtis, St. James
I’m a Smithtown resident and until today did not know there was an Anti-Bias Task Force in the town. That’s great. The task force should go to the Smithtown Library today and do whatever can be done to address and remedy the anti-gay bias that is going on.
I read in horror that our town could come to be known as the anti-gay capital of New York State. At least one Smithtown Library trustee pulled an anti-gay stunt by leading the removal of Pride displays from part of the library, which is contrary to the library’s mission statement.
This is nothing short of the kind of bias the task force is, or at least should be, here to prevent and remedy. Silence means the bigots win.
To recall a quote from the 1960s, as protesters were beaten and shot, “The whole world is watching.”
— Robert A. Cohen, Hauppauge
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