Port: Libraries belong to everyone, including people you don’t like

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MINOT — Earlier this year, during the legislative session, we were subjected to much Sturm und Drangfrom populist culture warriors who insisted that our state’s libraries were full of pornography curated by “groomer” librarians out to indoctrinate our children.

The truth was that some of our libraries were shelving LGBTQ+ content — some of it admittedly fairly provocative — that offended a bunch of blinkered activists who would prefer we not acknowledge that our gay and transgender communities exist.

What lawmakers ended up passing was legislation that, while aimed at placating the angry rubes, was watered down to the point where it’s pretty much unenforceable. A more egregious book-banning bill was, thankfully, unsuccessful thanks to a veto from Gov. Doug Burgum, which the state House sustained.

The whole sorry spectacle was unnecessary. North Dakota’s existing mechanisms for curating library content, which involve local librarians and library boards, were entirely sufficient and little-used before this recent moral panic. Evidence, I would argue, that our librarians were already doing a fine job.

The impetus of the book-ban bills wasn’t any real problem in our libraries but a pronounced bigotry toward the LGBTQ community.

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