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Libraries welcome everyone

To the editor:

The Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County proudly provides access of its materials to all people in the community of Jefferson County.

The public library is a public institution that sits in the seat of democracy, providing informational, educational and recreational information allowing the people to make the choice for themselves which books and materials they will select to take home. This constitutional right does not lie in the comfort of another’s decision but solely in the hands of the individual.

The library has a professional responsibility to be inclusive, not exclusive, in selecting materials for the collection and in providing access to materials through resource sharing. Materials selected present all points of view concerning problems and issues of our times.

We provide an impartial environment where materials in the collection furnish information, education, inspiration and enjoyment for persons of all ages, educational levels and viewpoints.

Book displays are created on a monthly basis to showcase new books and to reflect what is being observed and commemorated on a local, national and international level.

Children and young adult books address cultural issues in a language that is age-appropriate for them. Children and young adults who may be embarrassed to talk to an adult or a friend or are simply curious may take comfort in a book. What is inappropriate for one person may be a teaching tool for another. The public library fully endorses the parents’ right to choose what their children check out at the library. As such, we offer parents the ability to monitor access to materials on their children’s cards.

Last week a gentleman reached out to the library to thank us for the Pride Month book display. He stated that he no longer lived in the Ohio Valley, but shared that growing up there was rough as someone who is gay. We don’t always know how the written or spoken word can hurt, help or change the life of another.

The library does know and respect that not all materials in the collection will be considered acceptable and appropriate for everyone. But libraries have been and always will be welcoming for everyone.

Jennifer Cesta

Public relations coordinator

Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County

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