ST. MARYS, Kan. (KSNT) – The St. Marys City Commission will hold a vote to decide the fate of a local public library’s closure Tuesday, Dec. 6.
After the vote, the Pottawatomie/Wabaunsee Regional Library could possibly close permanently.
It comes after an uproar following the library’s refusal to remove a book containing LGBTQ-based content.
As a result of the library’s refusal, some city commissioners say they will reject the library’s lease renewal, and instead establish a library controlled by the city in order to prevent what they call “LGBTQ, sexual, or otherwise divisive content” on the shelves.
In a letter addressed to St. Marys commissioners, the ACLU of Kansas called on leaders to reconsider and “abandon the extreme attempt to censor the library’s materials.”
Library advocates also say although the controversy is based in one area of Kansas, the decision could set a damaging precedent regarding censorship and freedom of speech in the entire state.
“I am a big believer in speech being a part of the solution,” said Sean Bird, Associate Dean of Washburn University Libraries. “It’s important for us to recognize that it’s important for everyone to have the opportunity to speak but to also have access to the resources they need.”
The ACLU of Kansas said their next steps will depend on Tuesday’s vote.