Long Island library reverses decision to ban LGBTQ displays from children's section

In an emergency meeting on Thursday evening, the Smithtown Library board reversed its decision to ban all LGBTQ displays and books from the library's children's section. 

The Library Board of Trustees had voted on Tuesday to remove all pride books on display in children’s sections across all town libraries.

The displays will now remain up through at least July 15.

This is an update to an earlier story. The original story is below. 

Walk into the children’s room of any library in Smithtown, and you’ll see books of the month, but missing from the collection are LGBTQ+ Pride Month displays and themed picture books on the subject. You can find them but only on the shelves after a controversial vote earlier this week.

Smithtown parent Jay Fried is disappointed after the Library Board of Trustees voted to remove all pride books on display in children’s sections across all town libraries.

"We need to do better," he said. "Whether it’s my straight son, my trans son, my bi daughter or straight daughter - I want them all to feel represented."

While books and banners are on display in the neighboring adolescent sections - the LGBTQ+ community calls it a direct act of hate especially to ban the displays during pride month.

"LGBT young people should have the freedom to read about who they are in a world where they’re told they’re not good or they shouldn’t even be around," said Robert Vitale with the LGBT Network.

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But not everyone agrees.

Kevin Smith co-founder of activist group Long Island Loud Majority stands behind the trustee who made the proposal.

"No one is talking about having the books removed from the library in total, but I don’t understand why people are so dead-set on bringing this to the smallest children possible," said Smith.

The removal of books and displays prompted New York Governor Kathy Hochul to launch a human rights investigation. The Smithtown Library Board president who identifies as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community and voted against the ban promised to fight against this injustice.

For their part, the New York Library Association condemns the Board of Trustees' resolution saying in a statement it’s a direct violation of freedoms libraries are entrusted to uphold. Over the next several days, public meetings will take place for members of the community to weigh in.