Archived Opinion

Use common sense with library controversy

Use common sense with library controversy

To the Editor: 

As a parent, as a teacher of elementary children and as a former member of the Macon County Library Board, I have some thoughts about the library controversy

Children should not have access to pornographic material at our schools and libraries. That is common sense. It is also common sense that we should not destroy our community libraries due to a handful of materials. 

I agree with freedom of expression and information as outlined in our First Amendment. I believe it is important to lead with values. I also believe in the spirit of compromise as it was written into our Constitution. In that reality, nobody gets 100% of what they want, but fair solutions are possible and must be pursued. That is what is needed here and now. 

That compromise could include moving sensitive materials and/or labeling those that have sexual acts graphically displayed, regardless of sexual orientation. It could be something else that achieves the same ends. What we do not need is stonewalling on the one hand, and torches and pitchforks on the other. 

I understand emotions are running high and everyone wants to stand their ground, but that isn’t what’s best for the community. 

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We do not need to get past the point of no return, where a group of partisan commissioners micromanage our community libraries and hand-pick library staff, and many dedicated and skilled library employees lose their livelihoods. 

We also don’t need Macon County taxpayers to come up with several million dollars for books and videos (currently over 80,000 in the Franklin library alone), magazines, computers, internet servers, network equipment, broadband contracts, subscriptions, IT services, shelves, tables, desks and chairs. Currently, Macon County owns the Franklin and Nantahala library buildings, but nothing inside. 

We need to be clear about what is behind the push to remove materials: a well-orchestrated fear campaign targeting our LGBTQ+ community. The point is to silence, isolate, and disappear our friends, family members, co-workers and neighbors. Unfortunately, the teen suicide rate in the LGBTQ+ community is extremely high, due to labeling, rejection, persecution, humiliation, bullying and discrimination. None of this is true Christian behavior. Jesus spent time with the outcasts of His culture, and He treated them with dignity and respect. We should all do the same. 

Time is running out for common sense solutions. The Macon County commissioners are meeting next week, and as is often the case, decisions are made before the meeting begins. The time for compromise is now. 

Dan Kowal 


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