Staff called ‘paedophiles’ and books torn to pieces over library stocking LGBTQ+ literature

Cork's Grand Parade city library.

A city in Ireland is standing firmly behind its decision to have LGBTQ+ books held in its libraries.

Cork City Council has confirmed that staff at its Grand Parade library have experienced intimidation and abuse from people opposed to the reading materials.

It has even had to report a number of the recent incidents to local police.

Some of the abuse includes staff being called “paedophile slurs” and one person ripping up a copy of Juno Dawson’s This Book is Gay, the Irish Examiner reported.

A council spokesperson told the outlet: “Libraries are centres of learning at the heart of communities and have no role as censors. There are no plans to remove material from the library.”

They said it was not unique to the Grand Parade library, with “campaigning from groups who object to LGBT+ reading lists which are available to young adults” targeting libraries throughout the country.

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At a city council meeting on Monday (13 March), councillor John Maher said it was important the message was given that libraries “are safe, are centres of learning, are places of inclusion and diversity”.

He added that it was important to reinforce to the staff that the had the council’s support.

Some of the people involved in intimidation had also distributed “COVID vaccine fraud” material at pharmacies, Maher alleged, and urged them to stop their “bullyboy tactics”, the Irish Examiner reported.

However, the city council has previously removed LGBTQ+ books from libraries before.

In 2020, it opted to removed Susan Kulkin’s Beyond Magenta, which consists of six interviews with trans teenagers, from its child/teen section after receiving a letter from a far-right activist.

The city libraries did re-process the book to “adult/YA lending”, but that meant young people needed adult consent to access it.

The council spokesperson’s statement also said Cork was at the “fore nationally when it comes to social inclusion and the diversity and inclusion agenda” – referencing the city joining the Rainbow Cities Network, a global LGBT+ policy group, in 2020.

National charity LGBTI Ireland have similar intentions for the country, having launched a plan earlier this year to make Ireland the friendliest nation for LGBTQ+ people in Europe.

Its five year plan is focused on research, LGBTQ+ awareness training, combatting anti-trans views, aiming to offer more help to LGBTQ+ refugees and asylum seekers and advocating for certain legislative reforms in Ireland.

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