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Library Association supports safety at Rainbow Storytimes

The Library Association is calling out disrupters of events in libraries all over the country during Pride Month and Rainbow Storytime events.

“It is not okay for people to aim their negative messages at library staff doing their job to ensure inclusive events for their community.

LGBTQ+ people are part of our communities,” says Ivy Guo, LIANZA president-elect.

Te Aka Mauri Rotorua Library cancelled its Rainbow Storytime events today due to security concerns.

Protestors also disrupted recent events at Christchurch’s Tūranga Library and Dunedin’s City Library during Pride Week Storytime.

“We expect tolerance and respect for all those in our library spaces and will do everything to assure the safety of library staff and those attending events.

These protests are against the intent of New Zealand’s Bill of Rights and Human Rights legislation.”

LIANZA (The Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa) say protestors calling these events ‘child abuse’, are misinformed.

“These are family-friendly events focused on book reading, song and dance, and are carefully managed by library staff,”

says Louise LaHatte, chair of the LIANZA Freedom of Information Committee.

“The only reason the events are subject to protests is because they are being delivered by Rainbow community members.”

“LIANZA is concerned for library staff and event safety because of these increasingly vocal protests.”

In New Zealand, there have been recent and increasing challenges to library content and activities on topics that include sex education and Rainbow community issues.

LIANZA has developed a toolkit and a series of professional development events to support libraries and their staff in these challenges.

Louise LaHatte said, “Access to representation, resources, and affirming experiences for Rainbow people helps the wider community to empathise with Rainbow whānau and their lived experience.”

LIANZA is asking councils, mayors, and communities to continue supporting libraries in delivering inclusive and diverse events and programmes.

“Libraries should be a dynamic part of community life for everyone, throwing a spotlight on topical issues to stimulate learning and the exchange of information,” says Ivy Guo.

 

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