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Public library cancels sexual assault awareness programming, display due to ban

Enid Public Library, 2016
Enid Public Library
Enid Public Library, 2016

April is sexual assault awareness month, but an Oklahoma library has cancelled a display and programming on the subject due to a ban.

Last week the Public Library of Enid and Garfield County’s board voted 3-2 to forbid educational displays on sexuality in the library. Chairman Joseph Fletcher wrote the policy.

“We’re not restricting anyone’s access. We’re not kicking books out. We’re talking about not having displays or programs that focus on anyone’s viewpoint on sex and sexuality,” said Fletcher during the board's meeting.

Now, the library has cancelled planned programming on sexual assault awareness because of the new rules. It also cancelled a romance book club meeting.

In a statement posted to social media Friday, the library said it respects the authority of the library board to set policy. It urged people who are concerned to contact the library board, the Enid City Council, and the mayor.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma told Public Radio Tulsa it expects similar bans in public libraries around the state.

Before joining Public Radio Tulsa, Elizabeth Caldwell was a freelance reporter and a teacher. She holds a master's from Hollins University. Her audio work has appeared at KCRW, CBC's The World This Weekend, and The Missouri Review. She is a south Florida native.