Library protocol

Oh here we go.

This is happening next February 1:

So of course yells of rage are rolling in. The chief librarian writes:

Dear patrons, I wanted to share some information about a private event scheduled at the Central Library this February 1, 2020 that is already generating a lot of attention, questions and concern.

A nonprofit group called the Women’s Liberation Front made a booking last month for space at the Central Library to hold a private event labeled as a women’s rights talk and presentation. It appeared to be a very simple booking request that was processed like any other. Our Event Services staff followed Library protocol, as always. Per our Intellectual Freedom and Meeting Room Booking policies, any group can book meeting spaces; and any group that books a private event at the Central Library can charge for the event.

Library leadership became aware of this booking and its controversial nature just yesterday. Similar events held at two other public libraries this year have been met with significant community protest in relation to the group’s views on transgender rights. We have been working to get up to speed on the implications of this event as they relate to our legal responsibilities, our role as a public institution, and our role as a safe, socially conscious space.

We have heard from patrons who believe we should not let this event happen in a Library space due to the group’s views. We have heard from others who say that not allowing this event to happen will endanger the Library’s founding principle of intellectual freedom. As a library valuing intellectual freedom, inclusivity, and community respect, our leadership is considering every option to ensure we respond to concerns about this event thoughtfully and in line with our values.

Controversial groups like these can test our limits as democratic centers of free speech and intellectual freedom, as well as our limits as a united community and organization. I hope you can recognize the difficult situation this has created for us. We are exploring every option we have in response to this moment, talking to other libraries who have been through it, scheduling discussions with our transgender staff and community, and consulting with the City of Seattle’s legal department on our options.

I want to thank those of you who have reached out to us to share your opinions on this event. Your comments are being taken seriously. We will communicate again as soon as we can.

I just emailed him to say please don’t be misled as to the nature of the group or the event and please don’t cancel. Probably futile.

I’m disappointed to see this from an excellent and witty local journalist and hell-raiser (in a good way):

No, not on the grounds that “they” (all trans women) would sexually assault women, but that some men who claim to be trans women could sexually assault women and there would be no way to filter them out.

I emailed the chief librarian urging him not to be misled about the nature of the group or the speakers or their subject matter. I’m not especially optimistic.

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