Thanks very much for letting me know about your concern regarding the display in one of the Vernon branch cabinets, put in by a group called Vernon 9/11 Truth. Okanagan Regional Library’s policy on the selection of titles for our collections calls for a wide range of opinions to be included, some of which may be unconventional, unpopular or unacceptable.
Similarly, library guidelines on bulletin boards and displays say that we don’t accept commercial displays, or materials which contravene the Criminal Code or BC Human Rights.
However, displays may represent a range of philosophical, political and religious viewpoints. Inclusion of materials on our bulletin boards or in our display areas does not mean that the library condones, endorses or recommends the materials or opinions involved in the display.
This is why groups using library display cabinets must have their names on the display.
I do not agree that having a display in a public space gives credibility to any “crackpot theory.” Library users are free to review all of the materials available to them, and make up their own minds about what they believe.
You asked, ‘Where one draws the line?’ It’s a good question. I think the line is in a slightly different place for each person, and it is not the regional library’s role to define it.
However, if the library contains only those opinions that a majority of people think are good or true, we would be considerably out of step with the world around us, in addition to being an incredibly boring institution.
The library is for everyone, and will continue to present displays that make people laugh, or cry or think, and some of those displays will be offensive to some community residents.
Okanagan Regional Library