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Summerland library includes books on sexual orientation, gender identity

Some users have been raising questions about why certain titles are in the library
The Summerland branch of the Okanagan Regional Library has a display of challenged books for Freedom to Read Week. The week, from Feb. 18 to 24, is an annual event encouraging Canadians to think about and reaffirm their commitment to intellectual freedom. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)

Books that have attracted controversy are on display at the Summerland branch of the Okanagan Regional Library for Freedom to Read Week.

The books in the library’s display this year include many about sexual orientation and gender identity.

In addition to the display, the library also has a list of 63 titles about this topic.

The books on the list include Sex is a Funny Word, by Cory Silverberg, Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle, by Nina LaCour, What Are Your Words? A Book About Pronouns, by Katherine Locke, Dress Codes for Small Towns, by Courtney C. Stevens and other titles.

Caroline McKay, community librarian at the branch, said library staff are receiving questions about why certain books are on the shelves at the library.

Earlier, the library had been dealing with challenges to the books on its shelves. The first of these challenges was in 2021, and since that time, four book titles have been challenged, with one of these being a book for an adult audience.

While the library has not received book challenges this year, McKay said some library users have been signing out certain books considered controversial and then holding on to the book to keep it from being available to other library patrons.

In past years, library staff have found books moved to other sections of the library or hidden within the branch.

The week is an annual event, held each February in Canada. This year marks the 40th anniversary of Freedom to Read Week. The week runs from Feb. 18 to 24 this year.

John Arendt

About the Author: John Arendt

John Arendt has worked as a journalist for more than 30 years. He has a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Journalism degree from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute.
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