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Maine Libraries Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Cara Sawyer <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 3 Jun 2023 09:35:23 -0400
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Cara Sawyer <[log in to unmask]>
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Hello All!

What I am about to say may rub many people in the library world the wrong
way but I think people are missing a very BIG red flag in this whole
discussion. No one is talking about WHY Kirk Cameron is saying that
libraries are "Anti-Christian" or "Anti-American" and I think this is a
major point here.

It is my belief that libraries should be neutral territory on EVERYTHING.
We are the purveyors of information and entertainment, not the pushers of
ANY kind of agenda. We are safe spaces for ALL, not just a chosen few. It
is our job to help EVERY person who comes into our libraries no matter
their race, creed, religion, sexuality, etc. We are the ones who should not
judge no matter what is placed in front of us. Looking at what Kirk Cameron
is saying, that's not how some people are viewing us. Why?

I have noticed a HUGE increase in the Library world towards pushing an
agenda. Inclusivity and diversity are topics at every seminar, conference,
and council meeting. Why? We are librarians, we shouldn't have to be told
that we treat everyone the same, but that's not what's been happening. It's
not that we should treat EVERYONE the SAME, it's that certain people should
be put upon pedestals and certain communities should be placed in the
spotlight. Why? That is not our place in the world. It is our place to help
everyone the same way.

I would no more put up a display on white supremacy than I would a display
on the Black Panthers. Both displays would be informative. Both displays
would pertain to certain communities. However, both displays would offend
certain members of my community. It is not my place to offend the people
who enter my building. It is my place to make them feel welcome and safe.

It seems to me that the Library world has forgotten this. The Library
community has become far too politically correct and driven to stand out as
the champions of causes. When did this become our job? When did this become
who we are supposed to be? Why?

Libraries should be places where EVERY voice can be heard. Where EVERY
viewpoint can be shared. Where EVERYONE is treated the same and is provided
the same services. NO MATTER WHAT. We are neutral territory. Our own
individual politics and feelings should not enter into the running of our
buildings, ever.

I want everyone who comes into my building to feel like they have a second
home, a safe space, a place to relax and enjoy themselves. I will not push
agendas, political/religious views, or rhetoric. I will help people find
information on any topic they want. I will find books on everything. I will
never judge people on their personal views. I am a librarian because I
believe in helping everyone. I believe that everyone has the right to
believe whatever they want, read whatever they want, watch whatever they
want, and learn about whatever they want. It is not my place to try to
convince them that they should accept anyone else's opinions, lifestyles,
or political views. It is certainly not my library's place to do so either.

So, if Kurt Cameron or anyone else wants to use my library and read to
people they are welcome, because that's what I think libraries are supposed
to be. Maybe if more libraries felt that way he wouldn't feel as he does.
Just my 2 cents.

Cara E. Sawyer
Library Director
Cherryfield Free Public Library
PO Box 121
35 Main Street
Cherryfield, ME 04622
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