Ross: A quest to save a library could be solved with compromise

Aug 14, 2023, 8:38 AM | Updated: 9:54 am

library save compromise...

In Columbia County, Washington, with a population of about 4000, the November ballot will include a referendum on whether to keep the county’s only library open or shut it down. (Photo from Dayton Library)

(Photo from Dayton Library)

In Columbia County, Wash., with a population of about 4,000, the November ballot will include a referendum on whether to keep the county’s only library open.

And based on the Seattle Times story written by David Gutman, and the Facebook posts from various concerned citizens, it looks to me like this isn’t so much about banning books as about displaying books.

More from Dave Ross: You have a right to guns, but that comes at a price

It’s 2023, you can’t ban books anyway. Banning a book just guarantees it’ll end up in a banned book display on banned book week.

In the Columbia County case, according to the Facebook posts I read, the upset parents say they only wanted the books moved to a different part of the library, not removed completely.

But the Library Board, and the librarian who has since quit, didn’t take them seriously.

These parents feel that displays having to do with sex, like the library’s Pride Month display, are undermining their efforts to protect their kids.

So to me, it sounds like this is about marketing as much as it is about the books themselves. And there’s got to be a way to solve this short of closing down the Columbia County Library.

First, I think we have to accept that parents have a right to control what their young children read. Some parents just don’t want their kids introduced to books about sex just yet, even during Pride Month.

It could be that during Agatha Christie Week, there may be parents who might not want to see murder portrayed as entertainment, who knows? Some parents just want to control what their young children read, and we have to accept that.

For some parents, an in-your-face marketing display at the library entrance is like a sugary cereal ad during a kid’s TV show, and they feel it undermines their control.

But we also have to accept that while parents have the right to shield their own kids, they do not have the right to take away choices from somebody else’s kids by forcing a book ban.

So in communities that want it, how about a display-free entrance for the library? An alternate way of entering the building without being confronted by somebody else’s book choices. Some parents want their kids to explore freely while others want more control. Why can’t libraries provide both options?

If this protest in Columbia County was not really about the outright banning of books, as the protesters seem to be saying, then there ought to be a way to keep this library open.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Dave Ross on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dave rossTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.

Dave's Commentary

KIRO Newsradio Opinion

FILE - The company logo shines off the hood of a 2021 K5 sedan on display in the Kia exhibit at the...

Micki Gamez

Gamez: What to know after recall issued for Kia, Hyundai vehicles over fires

Hyundai and Kia are recalling nearly 3.4 million vehicles in the U.S. and telling owners to park them outside due to the risk of engine compartment fires.

5 hours ago

girls phones teach...

Colleen O'Brien

Colleen: Young girls and phones and the patterns we teach

I spoke to New York Times reporter Jessica Bennett, who studied 13-year-old girls for a year, to learn more about their relationship with phones

12 hours ago


Ursula Reutin

Ursula: Does grammar still matter? Not according to UW

Jake Harper found that the University of Washington's Informatics department doesn't grade on grammar in students' applications.

13 hours ago

republican debate...

Dave Ross

Ross: The highs and lows of the second 2024 Republican debate

As you’ve heard by now, there was considerable chaos during last night’s debate, including an argument between Tim Scott and Nikki Haley over the expensive curtains in her office.

2 days ago


MyNorthwest Video

Video: Gee goes off on kids who don’t call or text their parents back

Gee goes off on kids not texting their parents back! We’ve also heard of some new phone etiquette rules, which are: 1) Text before you call 2) Don’t bother with voicemail, just send a text 3) Don’t get upset if someone doesn’t pick up your call. 4) Facts are for texts, emotions are for calls. […]

2 days ago


MyNorthwest Video

Video: Why are electric scooters being banned from Tacoma and is Seattle next?

Tacoma will be banning electric rental scooters, will this come to Seattle next? How do we feel about electric scooters?

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife...

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is a busy month on the sports calendar and also holds a very special designation: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Ziply Fiber...

Dan Miller

The truth about Gigs, Gs and other internet marketing jargon

If you’re confused by internet technologies and marketing jargon, you’re not alone. Here's how you can make an informed decision.

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

Ross: A quest to save a library could be solved with compromise