Man banned from library after hiding LGBTQ DVDs - Montgomery Alabama news.

Man banned from library after hiding LGBTQ DVDs

The man said he wanted to obstruct access to the DVDs because he felt gay and lesbian lifestyles were not acceptable. (Source: KBOI/CNN) The man said he wanted to obstruct access to the DVDs because he felt gay and lesbian lifestyles were not acceptable. (Source: KBOI/CNN)

BAKER COUNTY, OR (KBOI/CNN) – A man in Oregon faced a six-month ban from the public library after he admitted to hiding DVDs that contained LGBTQ content.

Starting last October, librarians at the Baker County Public Library noticed DVDs disappearing from their proper section. Over the course of about seven months, seven DVDs were found misplaced.

"Behind the shelved materials, we'd find them behind there. We'd also find them in complete other rooms – in the reference room, in the display rack, way down deep in shelving, in boxes, in low traffic areas. Some of them we couldn't find for so long that we eventually did replace them,” library director Perry Stokes said.

Staff soon realized all of the hidden movies involved same sex couples, and after some good old-fashioned detective work, they discovered the culprit.

A regular library patron, described as a “retirement age” man, had been known to complain about materials he objected to, and in the past, he was charged for returning vandalized materials, the staff says.

When the patron was approached about hiding the DVDs, Stokes says he admitted what he had done. The man was initially unapologetic and didn’t think it was a big deal.

"He said he was just raised in an environment where a gay and lesbian lifestyle was not acceptable, and he felt like the library shouldn't have materials reflecting that and he wanted to obstruct access to them,” Stokes said.

It doesn’t appear the patron watched any of the movies and was basing his objections solely off the covers.

Of the 14,000 DVDs in the library, LGBTQ content accounts for less than 1 percent.

The films that were hidden can usually be found in the same section as any other DVD considered a drama. The library did a side by side comparison of the movies in the section and found the level of intimacy on the covers is basically the same.

Stokes reported the incident as one of the state’s 20 library book sand material challenges from July 2016 to June 2017. It came to light during Banned Books Week, which recognizes the hundreds of books removed or challenged in schools and libraries in the U.S. every year.

"We have taxpayers who are of the sexual orientation that he objects to, and they have every right to have their materials and stories reflected in the library,” Stokes said.

Stokes says he listened to the man’s feelings on the issue and explained library policy and the other patron’s constitutional rights.

Ultimately, the patron was banned from the library for six months.

The director says he was concerned based on the man’s initial response, he would do something similar if given the chance again.

Stokes says if the patron does continue hiding the DVDs, he could be banned for life. He could also face several criminal charges.

The man apologized and promised to never do it again.

Copyright 2017 KBOI via CNN. All rights reserved.

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