Columbus--In a much more subdued meeting of the Upper Arlington library board, the trustees heard from only a few citizens concerning the display of two Ohio gay publications.
In response to community members protesting the distribution of the Gay People�s Chronicle and Outlook, the board voted unanimously last month to create shelving for all free publications, refusing to ban the publications as many who spoke at the previous meeting had wanted.
Library director Ann Moore told the board the custom shelving they had ordered would be completed in two to four weeks, with one rack in the foyer and another inside the doorway. Still, some in the audience on September 20 were clearly not satisfied with the solution.
�I think shelving is attractive but it doesn�t have anything to do with the issue at hand,� said Upper Arlington resident Tim King, who suggested all free publications be moved into the adult section of the library. �That way whole thing would go away.�
King accused library staffers of being rude to his wife when she has visited the library since making public comments against the publications.
Mark Bloom, who admitted at a previous meeting that he and his children threw away the papers he has called obscene, declined to comment at the Tuesday evening meeting, though he had signed up to speak. Both papers say his admission could start legal action against Bloom for theft or destruction of property. Bloom refused to say if either paper has pursued legal action, saying only that �the issue has been well covered in the media.�
Anti-gay activist Linda Harvey and Deborah French also attended the meeting. French, of Lancaster southeast of Columbus, says she is �ex-gay.�
Harvey thanked the board for including her organization Mission America�s anti-gay newsletter in the lobby and said it was providing �a sense of balance� to having the gay publications on display.
�What I would like to talk to you about is the materials in the rest of the library,� said Harvey. She said the library only had four books opposed to homosexuality and about 150 �in favor� of it, including several targeted at teens. She offered to give the board a reading list she brought with her.
Though tempers and voices remained calm and the police officer assigned to the meeting remained in his seat, it was obvious why almost everyone was there. Few even paid attention when the board approved $15,500 in additional money for a building project, as they waited nearly 45 minutes for the public discussion period at the end of the meeting.
Retiring librarian Ellen Bigg spoke first, encouraging the board to continue its work to build a quality library system, saying she �was saddened by the lack of support to [the board] from members of the community.�
Though the last meeting drew about 130 people, most of whom were against distribution of the papers at the library�s three locations, there were only about 30 in the September 20 audience.
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