Residents not happy after LGBTQ children's book decision postponed

Published: Nov. 21, 2019 at 12:43 AM EST
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Multiple people left Upshur County Public Library upset after the decision regarding the placement of a controversial children’s book is "dismissed" until further notice.

The issue was whether to keep an LGBTQ fairytale book in the children's section of the library or move it to the young adult section.

Multiple people crowded the Upshur County Public Library meeting room, some to fight for a book to stay where it currently sits, and others to get it moved.

The book is titled, "The Prince and the Knight".

"It's about a knight and a prince that fall in love and if it wasn't a gay couple it would be completely ordinary to any other fairytale," said LGBTQ activist, Megan Hepburn.

The book was originally published as a children's picture book by Daniel Haak, but some say they find the material questionable for young readers.

Hepburn, along with many other LGBTQ activists who were there, say taking the book down actually goes against freedom of speech.

"I think that it is incredibly important to have LGBTQ stories represented in our library, if we take them off the shelves were doing a disservice to our community because we're not all represented and we need to be. Its not fair its discrimination and it goes against our first amendment right," said activist Crystal Brown while holding back tears.

Those in attendance became more anxious after the board went into a closed door session without addressing the issue.

"We have all been here to talk about it and instead of that you cant tell me people show up like this for any other reason but this!"

"I'm sorry, we are not going to address this and right now were in executive session, going through our agenda in a proper fashion, we're sticking with the rules, your not welcome."

This is a conversation held between resident, Robert Allen and one of the library administrators after the council attempted to go into executive session.

"I felt the need to speak up before we left that nobodies opinion was heard, nobodies opinion was discussed, they didn't even address that it was an issue," explained Allen.

Allen says the book being in the children’s section of his local library is what raises his concerns.

He said, "Whenever I used to bring my kids here, we would sit down, I would grab a magazine they would grab books and look, they'd be a pile of book sitting there and we'd go home and they would act out what they saw. I don't want my kid grabbing 5 books off the shelf and that being one of them."

The director of the Upshur County Public Library says no decision was made about the book and that the library's administration will be preparing a written statement for the public once they have made their final decision for the book's placement.

The Library would also like to confirm that the book was never going to be removed from the library completely, only possibly removed from the children's section.

The board says they hope to come to a decision before January.