Jennings library considering written policy after complaint over Pride Month display

NORTH VERNON The Jennings County Public Library is facing pressure over a Pride Month display, and its board is considering whether the publicly funded library should remove a display recognizing LGBTQ+ people.

As it has done in years past, the library in North Vernon put up a display for June’s observation of the federally proclaimed LGBTQ+ Pride Month, administrator Mary Abplanalp said. She said the display includes Pride flags, a glossary and books.

“We had a complaint that went to the board, and the board asked that I write a display policy for the board meeting tonight,” Abplanalp said. She said she and the board agreed a policy was needed. “We will be discussing that at the board meeting tonight if this display is within the policy guidelines.”

The board will meet at 6 p.m. tonight in the library conference room to consider the complaint and the proposed library display policy that Abplanalp prepared.

Abplanalp, who has been the administrator at the Jennings County Public Library for the past 14 years, said the library hasn’t had a display policy in the past, but she stands by the Pride Month display.

“The library is for everybody. We do not censor or discriminate against any population,” Abplanalp said. She said that’s also what she told a person who complained to her about the display.

Abplanalp said the policy she proposed would also stress that same core library mission: “We represent everybody, we don’t censor, we want to provide a diverse collection If it passes tonight, that is what the policy will say,” she said.

She said the person who complained about the display, who did not provide a complaint in writing, objected on the basis that the display was “immoral and promoting sexuality.”

Abplanalp said in her years overseeing the library, she’s approved more than 300 displays, and only three have generated complaints. She noted that most of the emails she has received have been in favor of the display, though she has received a few opposed.