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From the Director: Update on the Trans 101 Program

Steve Potter

September 30, 2019

Some of you may have heard recently about the Library taking the unusual step of delaying a scheduled program. The program is titled Trans 101, and it features a transgender individual discussing his experience and some basic information about transgender life. The program was developed in response to requests from community members who felt the information would be helpful for themselves and their families, especially in light of challenges faced by the local LGBTQ community. We held one instance of the program, which was well-attended and well-reviewed by those in attendance.

However, unlike many Library programs, this program received a lot of public attention from many who did not attend the program. This attention culminated in a number of public comments at our September 17 Board of Trustees meeting. Comments at this meeting, and those expressed to staff beforehand, were both in support of and critical of Trans 101. Following these comments, the Library decided to delay the next instance of the program until Library leadership could consider the statements.

As a public institution, we deeply value customer feedback and take all comments we receive seriously, taking the time to understand them and weigh them against our core principle of Intellectual Freedom, which ensures that each and every person has the right to access information they seek.

The delay was never meant to be interpreted as a reevaluation of the program content. However, how you intend something and how people perceive something can always differ. Unfortunately, by postponing the program, we inadvertently delivered a message to some that the Library didn’t value them as members of our community. For this, I am truly sorry. This Library is here for all, and we will always work to deliver content that meets the needs of every individual by incorporating a variety of perspectives and sometimes addressing competing needs.

As of today, we are working to get Trans 101 rescheduled as quickly as possible. If this is a program that interests you, please keep your eyes on our website to register for the rescheduled event. If this is not a program that interests you, please look at our other program offerings or contact us with ideas about programming you would like to see at the Library.

The Library is here to enrich our citizens and communities through expanding access to innovation, information, ideas, and inspiration. We would love to hear how we can best do that for you.

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