A note from the Director:
As the Director, I am humbled to work with co-workers, board members, and community volunteers who are committed to fostering library environments in which all of our community and staff feel welcomed. All library users, regardless of gender or gender identity, race, religion, age, disability, sexual preference, sexual orientation, appearance, perceived intellectual or social status are to be given the same high standard of service, and you all are welcome in the library.
Public libraries are recognized as legal public forums in the communities they serve, but what does that mean?
It means that as part of a free society, our libraries provide access to information in all fields and from all points of view.
As library workers and librarians, we recognize that many materials are controversial. We are also familiar with the AMY Regional Library Book Selection Policy which states: “The regional library system holds censorship to be a purely individual matter and declares that-while anyone is free to reject for himself books and other materials of which he does not approve-he/she cannot exercise this right of censorship to restrict the freedom of others.” Further, “[r]esponsibility for the reading, listening, and viewing of library materials, and accessing Internet resources by children rests with their parents or legal guardians. Selection will not be inhibited by the possibility that materials may inadvertently come into possession of children.”
AMY Regional Library staff may choose to highlight how our collection serves the entire population during different parts of the year i.e. women’s history, Black history, Christmas, Veterans Day, LGBTQ+ history, Asian American & Pacific Islander Month, etc. When we highlight specific aspects of the collection, it doesn’t advocate one viewpoint over another, it just shows that we have materials about that subject. As the policy above states, you are free to reject for yourself or for your children books and other materials of which you do not approve.
Our public libraries provide materials, services, and programs for FREE, and often with a shoestring budget, and our librarians and staff provide services and programming most citizens would associate with a public library, but librarians also assist patrons daily with one-on-one computer help, with job application assistance, with downloading/printing legal forms, with navigating the health system and social services, and often times assisting patrons with a listening ear or just taking time to connect, and we do this because we truly love and value ALL of our community.
The public libraries in the Toe River Valley are striving to create library spaces in which experiences, ideas, and identities are valued and human dignity is affirmed. To our avid patrons or library lovers, we want to thank you for your appreciation and for supporting us by using the library. Our programs are popping, and that shows us that you value your library!
Your librarians are busy doing good work in the libraries, so if you are frustrated with any aspect of your public library or you need assistance with interpreting library policy, I am asking you to please give me a call at 828-682-4476 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org OR if you want to make a comment at a public library board meeting, please join us, it’s a public meeting space, and we do care about your concerns.
Amber Westall Briggs