Virginia High - Schoolers Rally for Gay - Cure Books

American Libraries, November 2008 | Go to article overview

Virginia High - Schoolers Rally for Gay - Cure Books


Groups of students and parents staged rallies and presented some 85 books on homosexuality from a conservative Christian perspective for inclusion in the libraries at 11 schools in the Fairfax County (Va.) Public School District October 2. The inspiration for their actions came from a nationwide campaign organized by the Colorado Springs, Colorado--based traditional values group Focus on the Family, which believes that sexual orientation is a changeable attribute. Titles included Desires in Conflict and The Gay Gospel? How Pro-Gay Advocates Misread the Bible by Joe Dallas and 101 Frequently Asked Questions about Homosexuality by Mike Haley.

Susan Thorniley, coordinator of library information services for the district, told American Libraries that students began trying to place similar books in school library collections last year, when 13 libraries received visits from students on a single day in October. "The librarians took the books and said they would review them," Thorniley said, noting that only one of the librarians--each of whom makes book-selection decisions for a library--opted to include any of the proffered books in her library's collection last year.

"The librarians felt we had substantial information from a balanced perspective," Thorniley said. She also noted that the books failed to meet the school's selection standards, which require each book selected to have at least two positive reviews in professionally recognized journals. The selection policy explicitly states that "Librarians are under no obligation to include donations in the library collection." NBC affiliate WRC-TV reported October 2 that the school district was considering whether to stop accepting donated books altogether. …

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