By: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer
CHICAGO, IL — A mother and her 3 year-old child were visiting the West Chicago Public Library when the little girl went over to the children’s section and noticed a book entitled “This Day in June” by Gayle E. Pitman, which is about gay pride parades and festivals.
The little girl asked her mother about the book which lead to the mother reacting negatively about the matter and who felt it necessary to complain about it to the librarian.
The mother identified as Michaela Jaros, claims that she was taken back at the content of the book and felt it was not appropriate too be in a children’s book section.
After Jaros filed a complaint with the library, her husband, Kurt Jaros took it a step further and contacted the library board to find out if the material could be removed or at least relocated outside of the children’s book section.
If that wasn’t enough of drama, someone leaked the story to the conservative Illinois Family Institute which immediately posted the incident on their site which then went viral. Even the Jaros admitted…”The whole thing blew up,” said Jaros.
In fact the drama continued this past Monday on August 28 at the library board meeting where an unprecedented crowd of 150 people were in attendance to discuss the matter. What the conservative group didn’t count on was the fact that the vast majority of people in attendance were in favor of keeping the gay pride book in the children’s section despite the uproar by religious conservatives.
After hearing from the 150 participants who had signed up to speak on the matter, the library board voted 6-1 to keep the book in the library’s collection. The only opposing vote came from Trustee David Reynolds.
West Chicago resident and advocate for keeping the book in the children’s section said…”This shows tolerance and diversity! This was a very hot topic,” said Maria Dalianis. “Our position is you can’t address just one segment of the population. It’s a book about the gay pride parade. It’s pretty darn innocuous. Whatever is in the library, it’s the parents’ responsibility to monitor their children and decide what’s right for them,” said Dalianis.
Kurt Jaros said after the vote that he and his wife would prefer to let his daughter and other children discover books available in the library on their own without parental oversight.
“My wife doesn’t perceive that she should have to be a helicopter parent,” said Jaros. “She feels like the library is not providing a safe place for children to explore children’s books.” said Jaros.
You may also like to know that Kurt Jaros is the executive director of Defenders Media which is a well known alliance of evangelical ministries that advocates for a Christian worldview. Jaros is also the host of a podcast show for conservative Christians.
Though “This Day in June” by Gayle E. Pitman (pictured right), includes drawings of LGBT couples embracing and holding hands, Jaros seems to take the notion that the book is based on sex.
Library Director Benjamin Weseloh said at the libary board meeting that Gayle E. Pitmanj’s book is mainly made up of colorful drawings of a gay pride parade. In fact on the back of the book there is a parent’s guide that explains terminology and ways parents can discuss the topic of sexuality with their children.
“This is not sexual in any way,” said Benjamin Weseloh. “In my opinion, that’s being read into it.” said Weseloh.
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