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Some parents object to book read to kids at library in Lincolnwood, others say complaints stigmatize LGBTQ+ community

LINCOLNWOOD, Ill. (CBS) -- The focus in Lincolnwood turned Monday night to what is on display and being read to kids at the local library.

As CBS 2's Chris Tye reported, some in the northern suburb say a book with LGBTQ+ themes, which was read to kids this summer, was inappropriate. Some want similar books taken from the line of sight of children.

While some parents view it as an area they want to control for their kids, others say such a restriction stigmatizes and marginalizes the LGBTQ-plus community.

There is no policy change on the books at the library - just a debate. It is a debate that is happening more than ever before nationwide. 

The debate at a library board meeting centered on respect, decency, and values – and on the selection for kids' summer reading. That selection was the children's book, "The Hips on the Drag Queen Go Swish, Swish, Swish."

"So I went and found a copy of it," said Jen Mierisch. "I read the whole thing. It's a garden variety picture book."

Mierisch defended the book at the meeting Monday night.

"I searched it cover-to-cover for anything obscene, sexual, raunchy – you would come up with a big fat zero," he said.

But others did not agree.

"Not for one minute did I ever expect that materials showing graphic nudity would be read to my children without my consent," said Cary Godstein.

Moving the books is a signal-send by which some in the community are offended.

"Putting books on restricted shelves stigmatizes both the book and the patron," said Tara Donnelly.

In the first eight months of this year, there were 681 attempts to ban books in this country, according to the American Library Association. They included 1,651 unique titles.

That is the most ever over that timeframe.

The most challenged books were those related to LGBTQ-plus matters.

"This is part of the larger culture wars going on right now," said Emily Knox, an associate professor at the University of Illinois School of Information Science.

Knox says library boards usually are not persuaded unless the kids directly affected speak up.

"When you have a lot of adults yelling at each other about what kids think, it doesn't have as much of an impact as when kids themselves talk about why these books are important to them," Knox said.

In this case, given that the book under discussion is geared toward younger children, there were no youth speaking Monday night.

It is worth reiterating that there is no policy change up for debate in Lincolnwood, and no suggestion of any books being banned. There was just a lot of conversation about what should be read and presented to kids in Lincolnwood and elsewhere.

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