Just prior to last month’s 18th Annual Pride Week in Fargo, the Fargo Public Library posted a picture on Facebook with several smiling library personnel standing next to a rainbow float, with words underneath, “Excited for the pride parade! #fmpride.”
A friend who’d noticed the post asked whether public libraries, funded by tax dollars, should be used for such an event. I shared her question.
As an author and avid reader, I’ve always loved books and libraries, and their advocacy of literacy. But while understanding library resources should, and do, cover a wide variety of perspectives, the parade involvement seemed a stretch.
Like my friend, I believe in empowering the disadvantaged and respecting the dignity of all persons. As a daughter of teachers, I can’t escape the value of education. But especially in the case of a public-funded entity, education should be widespread, and advocacy efforts carefully deliberated, not agenda-driven.
Are libraries for all, or just some? It’s an honest question, and I hope the library will provide an honest answer.
My friend took her question to Facebook, and a lively discussion ensued. One proponent said the library was simply showing support for the disadvantaged LGBT population, which is “more likely to be homeless and victims of abuse,” and needing resources.
She promised that libraries are community-minded and would gladly show up to any community event, “whether it’s a March for Life parade or a Pride parade, AS LONG AS THEY’RE INVITED.”
I realized, then, that perhaps we’d been unfair in our assumptions. And I recalled the upcoming 40 Days for Life event, an annual, community vigil that, like Pride purports to do, uplifts the disadvantaged – mothers and fathers facing unplanned pregnancies who need resources, and their unborn babies, who are essentially voiceless in the tragic matter of their planned deaths.
This annual, nondenominational vigil, open to all, highlights the most vulnerable among us – fragile, stressed parents and our littlest citizens who are discriminated against, and even killed, because of complicating factors in their parents’ lives.
The Facebook discussion made me pause, realizing that if this proponent is correct, our public library should gladly support the 40 Days for Life initiative. Maybe they just haven’t been invited? The thought gave me hope that this could be a wonderful community unifier.
With that, here, in this community forum, I extend an invitation to our public library – along with all in our area – to join this gathering any time, from Sept. 25 to Nov. 3, in front of our state’s only abortion facility, 512 1st Ave. N, just blocks from Fargo’s downtown library.
Library folks, we welcome your presence and resources to help educate the community on how we can, together, support a culture of life that respects and regards all, both in the womb and outside of the womb. We look forward to seeing you there.
[For the sake of having a repository for my newspaper columns and articles, I reprint them here, with permission, a week after their run date. The preceding ran in The Forum newspaper on Sept. 16, 2019.]