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03rd Apr 2023

Libraries set to increase security after protesters try to remove LGTBQ+ books for young people

Young people must also have parental consent to join a library.

Public libraries across the country have been issued with instructions to secure buildings, alert Gardaí and avoid commenting to the media following a rise in protesters looking to remove LGBTQ+ books for young people.

Over the last number of weeks, campaigners have been going into libraries and hoping to remove books that they deem “inappropriate” for 12 to 17-year-olds, saying these books promote “gender ideology and pornography.”

Groups such as the Irish Education Alliance, Parents’ Rights Alliance and Lawyers for Justice have claimed that books under this genre violate child protection legislation.

Books they are looking to remove include ‘This Book Is Gay’ and ‘What’s the T?’ by Juno Dawson; ‘Yay! You’re Gay! Now What?’ by Riyadh Khalof; ‘Sex Ed An Inclusive Teenage Guide to Sex and Relationships’ by The School of Sexuality Education; and ‘Trans Teen Survival Guide’ by Owl and Fox Fisher.

These groups are entering libraries and asking librarians to show them these books.

They then ask their followers to take pictures of what they deem “inappropriate” and “violate” the Children First Act (2015).

A spokeswoman for the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA) told The Irish Times that they are aware of the protests happening have libraries have been provided with more support and information on how to deal with the issue.

“Library collections are curated by librarians with professional expertise, in accordance with each library service’s collection development policy.

This includes categorising books by age. Borrowing restrictions based on age category are in place to support the role of parents and guardians in supervising their children’s selections,” a spokeswoman said.

“They are responsible for their children in the library, and for their children’s selections and use of library materials and services, including access to the internet and online resources.

For this reason, parental consent is required when a child joins the library and further consent is sought before members move age category.”

Library management has recently informed staff that any child moving up in a reading age group must have signed consent from a parent recorded on their IT system.

As well as this, any teenager joining a library will placed in the child membership category if they do not have parental consent.

The LGMA has said that despite opposition from some library staff members, the case of parental consent has always been a requirement for the membership of those under 18 years of age.

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