1,000 signatures reached
To: Rapides Parish Police Jury, Rapides Parish Board of Control
Support Library Freedom in Rapides Parish Libraries
Dear Friends and Neighbors who love the Rapides Parish Library,
We believe the library should be a place with free access to information for all members of the community. But all over the country, political groups are trying to take over libraries to pursue political agendas and drive us apart.
Our beloved Rapides Parish Library is now within the crosshairs of this oppressive movement. Please make your voice heard in support of Freedom to Read in Rapides Parish by adding your signature to this petition.
We, the undersigned, call on the Rapides Parish Library Board of Control to oppose the revisions to the Collection Development Policy proposed by James Morgan.
We support the freedom to read.
We trust our professional librarians, who work closely with library users every day, to make well-informed decisions regarding the placement of books within the collection.
We support the American Library Association Bill of Rights.
We do not believe the library collection should be restricted on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.
We believe the existing Collection Development Policy safeguards our children and protects their access to knowledge.
We do not believe a revision to the collection development policy is required.
What is happening with the Rapides Parish Library and why should I sign this petition?
A new member of the Library Board of Control wants to change long-standing policy, putting broad restrictions on the library’s collection for children and young adults. We believe this goes against the current library policy, the American Library Association Bill of Rights, and the standards of the majority of people in Rapides Parish.
The books in the library are placed there according to library guidelines called the Collection Development Policy. This policy was created by a board that oversees the business of the library, called the Library Board of Control. Each elected member of the Rapides Parish Police Jury can appoint a corresponding member of the Library Board to represent their district.
In 2022, a board member retired, leaving the board seat open for District G. The Police Juror for District G, Sean McGlothlin, then appointed James Morgan to fill the open seat. Morgan was sworn in on September 6th.
The board meets each month, and the December meeting included a motion by Morgan to enact sweeping changes to the current Collection Development Policy. Morgan’s proposed policy states: “These collections shall not include materials containing obscenity, sexual content (including content regarding sexual orientation and gender identity), or any other material that is unsuitable for the children and teen collections. Library events and displays for children and teens shall be held to the same standard.”
Thankfully, word got out about the proposed rule change, and many concerned members of the public showed up to the meeting to speak publicly, challenging Morgan and requesting debate.
However, when the public expected the opportunity to ask questions, Morgan fled the public meeting without participating in open dialog. Members of the community wanted to debate Morgan on the merits of this policy, but he refused a rational and constructive dialog.
Why is this important?
You should sign this petition if you believe any of these statements could be true: That the true intent of this policy change is to marginalize the LGBTQ+ community.
Books should be discussed on their merits. Broad categories of books should not be waived away as “obscene” without a critical look by our librarians.
That our librarians are pretty good at their job.
Library board members - public servants - have a duty to answer questions about their proposals, and should not flee public meetings.
The proposed policy revision is vague and does not define specific words that would be critical to enforcing it.
The proposed revisions contradict the rest of the library’s Collection Development Policy, which has been doing a good job serving the community for many years.
It's our job to be the parents, and these restrictive policies take away our parental rights.