Christian-Rights Group Sues Colorado Library over Meeting Space. It really does not help libraries or librarians when people believe we are taking sides in the culture wars and not playing fair. We can all have our own beliefs and comment on them just like everyone else. However, libraries and library organizations should make every effort to appear even-handed. We should be reaching out and serving all our patrons (not just politically correct ones). Here is Part VII of the ALA Bill of Rights - "Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use." I think the Rampart Library District is violating the ALA Bill fo Rights in this situation.
From the site:
Liberty Counsel, a legal defense organization based in Orlando, Florida, that takes on religious-rights cases, filed a lawsuit June 16 in U.S. District Court against the Rampart Library District near Colorado Springs over its meeting-room policy.
Members of the group had twice applied to use the community room of the Woodland Park Library in late May and early June in order to “present a biblical perspective on marriage and homosexuality” that would include prayer and scripture reading. However, the library denied the requests because its policy stipulates that religious or political meetings “must provide a balanced view.”
Liberty Counsel President Mathew D. Staver called the policy “shamefully ridiculous” and commented, “This library policy would require the NAACP to invite the KKK to present its view on civil rights.” In the past several years, Staver has successfully argued cases against libraries in Texas, Florida, and Wisconsin for refusing to allow religious groups to meet.
Tom James, counsel for the library district, said in the June 17 Denver Rocky Mountain News that the library stood by its policy. “The district believes it has a reasonable and lawful policy to the use of its meeting rooms,” he said.