SAN DIEGO — A group of community members gathered at a Rancho Peñasquitos library on Saturday in a show of support for LGBTQ+ neighbors, following an incident at the branch earlier this year where two protestors checked out all the books in a Pride Month display.
While the two protestors later returned the books, community members hosted the event as a celebration of LGBTQ+ San Diegans and a reminder of how libraries can serve as a safe place for everyone.
“We are reflective of everyone in our community,” Branch manager Adrianne Peterson told FOX 5. “We have books here that should look like (representative of) everyone in our community.”
For Peterson, the library should be an inclusive resource for people of all ages to expand their base of knowledge and fuel their curiosity.
“(Libraries) are just like the encyclopedia: if there’s a word for it, we probably have something representative of it on the shelves,” she said. “Whether it’s learning about dinosaurs or tigers or social psychology or how to write a software program.”
Hosted by residents in partnership with local officials and the library branch, Saturday’s event hoped to affirm just that, with family-friendly story times, activities and a public forum about diversity.
“It’s something we all need to be concerned about and we need to support,” said Charlie Goldberg, a representative with the Library Foundation. “This event shows that this community supports that inclusive mission of a library and is against any threats to those intellectual freedoms.”
This is particularly crucial, he added, amid nationwide increase threats to libraries — such as the banning of books and calls to defund public library systems — over LGBTQ+ issues.
San Diego City Councilmember Marni von Wilpert was also in attendance at Saturday’s event. Local drag queens Ariel Fantasea and LivingLaDolceVida were also present at the event, leading a family-friendly story and song time.
After the original incident, the library says it received countless donations, both monetary and in the form of books to stock their shelves.