Floyd County Library Board To Discuss Children’s Book About Gay Characters Tonight

Jan 9, 2023 at 4:53 pm
Floyd County Library-Galena.
Floyd County Library-Galena. Photo from Galena Facebook page.

The Floyd County Library Board of Trustees will discuss controversies surrounding a children’s book about a fictional gay couple during its monthly meeting tonight at 6 p.m. at the New Albany Central library branch (180 W. Spring St., New Albany.)

A librarian at Galena Digital Library reportedly read the book “Prince & Knight” at a themed event last Tuesday, Jan. 3, a “Princess and Knights Party” celebrating the 20th anniversary of the book “Ella Enchanted.” According to the event description, the party featured “a story time, snacks and an enchanting craft.”

Prince & Knight” is a children’s story about “a noble prince and a brave knight” who “come together to defeat a terrible monster and in the process find true love in a most unexpected place,” according to its publisher listing. The American Library Association listed the book on its Top 10 Most Challenged Books and Rainbow Book List Top Ten lists in 2019.

Groups call on members to attend meeting

Southern Indiana Patriots, which calls itself a “Christian constitutional conservative patriot group,” wrote on Facebook this morning that its members should attend tonight’s Library Board meeting (“all hands on deck”) to “show our displeasure with the gay book being read to 2-4 year olds at the Galena library last week.”

The Floyd County Democratic Women's Caucus likewise encouraged members on Facebook to attend the meeting to “stand against hate and bigotry” and “stand up for inclusive environments within our community.” Local activist Laura Wallace also encouraged people to donate copies of the book to the library in another Facebook post, in which she wrote, “Enough is enough. Every child should have access to books that reflect their identity.”

In a statement published online on Thursday, Jan. 5, Floyd County Library director Melissa Merida said:

“The Floyd County Library recognizes that we serve a community of over 78,000+ individuals representing diverse backgrounds. In creating our Storytimes, we strive to be inclusive to all of our community members. In response to recent Storytime content concerns, the Library will adjust our process to empower parents/guardians to opt out of material that they feel is not suitable for their child. To allow for this parent empowerment, the books for our Storytime will be put on display ten minutes before each Storytime for parents to see the titles included. As always, attendees may quietly come and go at any time during programs. We just ask that everyone is respectful of all participants.

“The Library Leadership and staff appreciate and take seriously the concerns of our Library users and work to find a balance in serving all individuals and do not discriminate in our services.”

As of this writing, Merida has not yet responded to a request for comment.

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