LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — The Lafayette Chapter of the NAACP is protesting the library director’s ban on certain book displays.
The ban prohibits book displays that single out sections of the community; this includes displays about Pride Month, Cajun Heritage, Native American History, Women’s History, and Black History.
NAACP Lafayette President Ravis K. Martinez says his main issue with the ban is that it’s targeting important topics that need to be celebrated, not banned from being on display.
“Since early 2020 with the killing of George Floyd, it really started a tidal wave of protests around the country that we’ve seen to address some of the systematic issues that we’ve had since the founding of America. One of these strategies that we’re now seeing is the banning of books, is the banning of organizations or displays within public places that we know as a diverse community does more damage than it does good,” Martinez said.
He says the library must change how they address unique communities in Lafayette, as representation matters.
“By having a policy in place that forbids library staff from creating displays that actually highlight diversity and also inclusion in our view, it runs counter to the spirit and mission of the library in being a place that meets the needs of the community to be a diverse community,” he added.
Martinez says the Lafayette NAACP chapter met with Library Director Danny Gillane last week about his decision to ban certain book displays. Martinez says while he understands the decision, it was the wrong one.
After the NAACP protest Wednesday, Gillane defended his decision at the library board of control meeting by saying just the displays have been banned, not the reading material.
“I’m not saying everyone has to agree with my move, but the books are still on the shelf. My goal is to keep them on the shelf, regardless of what anyone else would like me to do,” Gillane said in the meeting.
In an interview with News Ten earlier this June, Gillane explained how he feels certain book displays are an invitation for controversy.
This comes after several library patrons challenged the board last year to ban several LGBTQ books and a film.
“Our whole population is worth celebrating, but I feel in 2022, if I miss somebody, then I’m going to upset somebody. I realize that the decision I made, I may have upset everybody,” Gillane said in the interview.
At the board meeting Wednesday, Gillane stuck with his policy to ban certain book displays, despite opposition from the NAACP.