A pile of books, engulfed in flames.

Conservatives in WA Force Vote To Dissolve Local Library Over LGBTQ Books

Conservatives’ book-banning quest has taken another disturbing turn as a local library in Washington is in danger of being shut down over refusing to remove LGBTQ+ books. Since 2021, the United States has experienced a sharp rise in book-banning attempts. In 2022, the America Library Association (ALA) recorded the most challenges to books since the organization first started tracking this information 20 years ago. Meanwhile, 2023 is likely to set a new all-time high for book-banning attempts.

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Conservative parents and politicians have been at the helm of this push for censorship. Republican political organizations like “Moms for Liberty” have been popping up across the country to try to control what schools are allowed to teach and what books school libraries can offer. In several states, like Iowa and Florida, legislation has passed barring school libraries from offering any titles containing “sexual content.” With sexual content being so vaguely defined, these laws are allowing nearly any title that parents disagree with to be challenged and removed.

Book banners largely operate under the guise of “protecting children.” They seek to create hysteria by claiming that their kids are being exposed to pornography or indoctrinated by the left. However, in reality, these people are just looking for a way to get rid of anything they don’t like, primarily topics related to the LGBTQ+ community, race, history, and sex education. While they’ve largely started with schools, they’ve made it clear that they’re going after public libraries, too. The situation regarding one public library in Washington is a terrifying glimpse of the actual goals of book-banning advocates.

Conservative book banners seek to shut down public library

While the state of Washington typically votes Democratic, Columbia County is a largely conservative community, with 70.3% of its residents voting for Donald Trump in the 2020 election. Now, the Republican majority in this community is trying to shut down the district’s sole public library and dissolve Columbia County Rural Library District. The reason? One individual couldn’t handle seeing a single transgender title, What’s The T?: The Guide to All Things Trans and/or Nonbinary. Soon, conservative community members managed to dig up a number of titles they objected to and began filling up library board meetings to advocate for their removal.

The library considered their complaints and even moved a lot of the disputed books from the YA sections to the adult sections to appease parents. However, after evaluating all of the books that the parents asked to remove, the library opted to keep 11 of the titles to meet the needs of the whole community. According to Fox News, Resident Jessica Ruffcorn responded by making a petition to completely dissolve the library, racking up 163 signatures. The mother and business owner claimed that the library wasn’t serving the interests of the “majority” of the community and wasn’t making good use of residents’ tax dollars. Meanwhile, the list of books that residents are disgruntled with has only continued to grow and includes anything with a mention of sex, race, or gender.

Due to the petition, the dissolution of the library will be decided by a district vote in November. If the vote favors the dissolution, this will be the first library in the nation to be shut down over book challenges. Even if the vote doesn’t go through, this situation could set a dangerous precedent in which communities with a Republican majority seek to shut down libraries in an effort to cut people off from information that doesn’t align with their worldview.

It also shows how dangerous these book banners really are. They’re not just trying to ban a few controversial books or keep sexual books away from kids; they want to prevent anyone of any age from accessing books that they personally dislike, with no regard for how others might be helped by these books. Additionally, they are so desperate to do this that they will gladly deprive an entire community of its local library and countless educational resources to get what they want.

(featured image: Videologia/Getty Images)


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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.