Fight Censorship: Keeping PRIDE Books on Display

Censorship, Displays, LGBTQIA+

Updated June 6, 2023

The Office for Intellectual Freedom has received multiple reports over the last two days about individuals checking out all the books from a library’s PRIDE Month display to prevent other readers viewing or reading the books.  

This censorship tactic is being promoted by a fringe Catholic political advocacy group, CatholicVote, via social media and their blog.  Their handout includes a list of targeted books that range from books intended for families and children to materials for young adults.

The language used by this organization is couched in terms of “child protection,” but it should be clear that this group is promoting an unethical and hateful censorship tactic that has long been used by censors to circumvent a library’s reconsideration processes and to stigmatize and erase the voices of the LGBTQIA+ community.  

Screenshot of CatholicVote Hide the Pride website promotion graphics.

Our recommendation to libraries in the short term is to place books displayed for PRIDE Month or Rainbow Book Month on reserve and under limited loan periods, and to enforce consequences for failure to return library property on time.  We also recommend that libraries experiencing these actions reach out to their local Catholic faith leaders and interfaith organizations to alert them to the campaign and ensure that longstanding lines of communication remain open and constructive.  Libraries may also wish to encourage their users to reach out to their faith leaders to express concern about the campaign. 

Libraries experiencing this censorship tactic should report “Hide the Pride” and similar censorship efforts to the Office for Intellectual Freedom. 

Some talking points that may be helpful for libraries addressing this censorship tactic:

  • Libraries are committed to meeting the information needs of all the diverse individuals and families in our community. We are both proud and grateful that we are able to provide access to a wide variety of books that appeal to a breadth of interests and offer a collection that ensures that there is something of interest available to everyone of every background, belief, and identity.
  • Libraries support each person’s freedom to choose what they want to read without anyone – including the library staff or the library board – censoring books or restricting the user’s right to select the books they want to read.
  • Hide the Pride is simply censorship in another form that imposes one group’s viewpoint on the entire community.
  • Hide the Pride is a campaign designed to deny other library users’ right to choose what they want to read.
  • Hide the Pride discriminates against those library users, residents, and families that are part of the LGBTQIA+ community, who have an equal right to find the books they want and need on the public library’s shelves and highlighted in the public library’s displays.
  • And a reminder that Catholic Vote and Hide the Pride are not part of the Catholic church, as noted by a spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Chicago in this Chicago Sun-Times article:
    • “Not everything that calls itself ‘Catholic’ is in fact part of our church,” said Paula Waters chief communications officer for the archdiocese. “CatholicVote is not a Catholic organization, It’s not a part of the church, or sanctioned by the church or has any relationship to the church. It has no standing. It’s a PAC that appears to be well-funded.”

In the meantime, visit the 2023 Rainbow Book List and the online resources from the Rainbow Round Table to celebrate PRIDE and Rainbow Book Month.

One thought on “Fight Censorship: Keeping PRIDE Books on Display

  • We have to be prepared to be pressured by those who believe
    that their way is the only way and do not consider anyone else’s freedom

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.