Library attacked by community for carrying ‘harmful’ book opposing trans agenda: ‘Hate speech’

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A Maine library faced local backlash for allowing a book that criticizes the child gender transition agenda on the shelves.

The New York Times reported that the Blue Hill Public Library had carried the book “Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters,” by journalist Abigail Shrier after it was donated in 2021.

“If I’m being totally honest, my heart sank when I saw it,” library director Boulet said, though he decided to keep the book with the support of his staff. 

He explained, “I want the library to be there for everybody, not just people who share my voting record.”

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Soon afterward, however, the book received push-back from some regular patrons. One quickly filed a “reconsideration request” that asked for the book to only be available by request “under the desk.” The library’s collections committee voted unanimously to keep Shrier’s book, but the backlash continued.

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“Residents who objected to the book confronted him, library staffers and board members in the grocery store, post office and the library itself,” the article read.

It continued, “The harshest criticism was reserved for Mr. Boulet. One patron told him that if a trans youth checked out the book and died by suicide, ‘that’s on you,’ Mr. Boulet recalled. Critical Facebook posts and negative Google reviews poured in.”

Despite this, Boulet continued to defend the decision publicly. In an open letter to the local newspaper, he emphasized that carrying a controversial book “is not an endorsement of the ideas contained therein.” The letter itself also faced backlash, including from a high school teacher and friend of Boulet.

“The ‘All Lives Matter’ stance the Blue Hill library is taking is biased, harmful and manipulative hate speech,” the teacher wrote in a response on social media.

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Boulet recalled that he requested the American Library Association send out a public letter of supported but received no response.

“They ghosted me,” he said.

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Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, later acknowledged that they received his request but were delayed in responding since it “generated internal debate.”

“Our position on the book is, it should remain in the collection; it is beneath us to adopt the tools of the censors,” she said. “We need to support intellectual freedom in all its aspects, in order to claim that high ground.”

By the end of the year, the backlash died down, and Boulet confirmed that the book is still available at his library.

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“I hadn’t really given intellectual freedom as much thought as I should have,” Boulet said, adding that “intellectual freedom or the freedom of speech isn’t there just to protect ideas that we like.”

Shrier’s book had previously been restricted by two book chains in Israel.

In 2020, Target briefly pulled the book after an online complaint.

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