Are we at the end of the library drama?


Recently, a small but very loud minority of people in Anderson County have pushed to remove several books from the county libraries due to their inclusion of LGBTQ characters and themes. Despite their vocal opposition, a recent investigation by the county sheriff’s office found that the books in question do not violate any obscenity laws in Tennessee. This conclusion not only provides legal justification for the presence of these books in the county libraries, but also marks a win for intellectual freedom and freedom of expression.

However, the issue of LGBTQ representation in our libraries and the broader debate around censorship remain. At a recent public forum hosted by the county Library Board, some individuals used the opportunity to express their prejudices and bigotry against the LGBTQ community. That is unacceptable. Libraries should be inclusive spaces for learning and exploration, where diverse ideas and perspectives are shared and celebrated.

Libraries belong to everyone, regardless of their background, sexual orientation, or beliefs. We must resist attempts to censor and control the flow of information in our libraries, and instead, promote openness, inclusivity, and freedom of expression.

It is essential that we respect the diversity of our community and acknowledge the harmful effects of bigotry and discrimination. While the voices of those who oppose the presence of books with LGBTQ content in our libraries may be the loudest ones in the room, they do not represent the views of everyone in our community.

We must remain vigilant in our defense of freedom, and continue to foster an environment of mutual respect and understanding in our community. It is my hope that the conclusion of Sheriff Russell Barker’s investigation will lead to the end of this episode in the ongoing library drama. Nevertheless, it is imperative that we support our local libraries and the role that they play in our community.

Chase Lindsey

Oak Ridge