All are welcome at the Sonoma County Library, an institution built on free speech where people come together to discover, learn, and share. On June 10, a patron came into the Rohnert Park-Cotati Library and checked out all of the books on the children and teens side of the Pride Month display. Shortly after, an anti-LGBTQ+ effort claimed responsibility for the act as part of a national Hide the Pride action.
Intended to restrict readers from accessing books about LGBTQ+ characters or subject matter, Hide the Pride is an effort toward censorship that is against the library's values.
The incident at the Rohnert Park-Cotati branch was deeply troubling for many Sonoma County Library patrons and staff, especially in light of the numerous and ongoing public confrontations over LQBTQ+ issues making headlines. The library’s Queer Advocacy Team devotes itself to collections, programming, and outreach in support of the LGBTQ+ community, and does not hesitate to acknowledge and address homophobia; we swiftly reported the act to the American Library Association.
After an article detailing the incident came out in the Press Democrat on June 24, the library received an outpouring of support. Community members called, came into branches, posted on social media, and emailed to express their support for their library and their outrage at the incident. People also donated funds and additional LGBTQ+ books to add to the collection.
Sonoma County Library Commissioners received over 50 emails from community members expressing their support of the library’s celebration of Pride Month and collection of diverse and inclusive materials.
We thank those who stand up for all members of our community and we will continue to offer diverse and inclusive materials and serve all Sonoma County patrons. Sonoma County Library is for everyone.
“Please know that I support the collection of books on a wide variety of topics including DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion). It is vital that children have a choice of books at the library. It is sad that some individuals are barring the freedom of choosing books on topics of diversity, equity and inclusion.” —Laurie (Sonoma County Library patron)
“I want to thank each of you for your ongoing work to celebrate all people. I was deeply saddened to read of the incident at the Rohnert Park Library. Libraries have provided a foundation for liberty and justice in this nation. Please continue your fine work.”—Linda (Sonoma County Library patron)
- Sonoma County Library’s Statement of Inclusivity
- Celebrate Pride with Sonoma County Library
- The American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom
- Pen America
- Add your voice: Here + Queer, Sonoma County