Gov. Kathy Hochul is launching an investigation after reports the Smithtown Library board of trustees voted to remove LBGTQ materials from the children’s section in four branches – during Pride month.
“Public places are prohibited by law from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Everyone – and especially the youth of our country – deserves to feel welcome in the library. For many LGBTQ+ children, libraries are places of refuge and information, where they can be welcomed and validated for who they are,” the governor said.
Hochul compared the policy to a Florida law restricting discussion of LGBTQ issues with very young schoolchildren.
“We will not allow a ‘Don’t Say Gay’ philosophy to take root in our state. I look forward to the Human Rights Department taking immediate action to investigate these reports,” Hochul said in Thursday’s news release.
The move — which reportedly included the removal of LBGTQ books from the children’s section — also earned Smithtown Libraries a reprimand from the New York Library Association.
“This ban on all Pride-related exhibits sets a dangerous precedent for libraries statewide as it normalizes victimization of LGBTQ+ youth in their schools and in their communities, with dire consequences,” the association said in a statement .
A Board representative did not respond to a request for comment.
The board appeared to be considering the matter just days after approving the policy at its June 21 meeting.
According to an agenda posted on the board’s website, an emergency board meeting was scheduled for Thursday evening at 6:30 p.m. to consider reversing the policy.
Pride-related exhibits would be returned to library branches by at least July 15, with librarians having the final say on their eventual removal, according to the agenda, if the motion goes ahead.
https://nypost.com/2022/06/23/kathy-hochul-to-probe-li-libraries-that-removed-lbgtq-materials-for-kids/ Kathy Hochul investigates LI libraries that have removed LBGTQ materials for children