LGBT Center of Raleigh to reopen library in a new space

RALEIGH, NC – The American Library Association says libraries in every state faced an unprecedented number of book challenges last year.


What You Need To Know

  • According to the American Library Association, the battle to ban books is surging across the US
  • The LGBT Center of Raleigh plans to reopen their library by early May
  • Librarian Smote Mote believes access to books with LGBTQ content is so important for members of the gay community

The organization found 729 book challenges, which is nearly five times more than in the year 2020. It’s the highest level since the ALA started tracking attempts to ban books 20 years ago.

The LGBT Center of Raleigh will soon reopen its library after it was shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Smote Mote, who uses the pronouns, “they,” “them,” and “their,” has been a librarian at the center for about four years.

“Having this physical collection back, it’s a little bit emotional,” Mote said. “Because it’s something we’ve worked really hard to curate, and so being able to return it to them, back. Here are the books that you’ve been missing. ‘”

Mote is proud of what they’ve built, even if it’s in a much smaller space than before. After unpacking a box, Mote goes through and decides which titles to keep in circulation, and which to put in storage or donate.

“Just less shelf space,” Mote said. “So we’re going through them and trying to figure that out.”

The LGBT center lost funding during the pandemic, which is why they had to downsize to their new location.

Mote, 32, wants the gay community to be able to access books not found on public library shelves. The LGBT Center of Raleigh has had a library for nearly 11 years.

“Having this library, having a space where people can come and find books that they can relate to on a level that they do not necessarily get, just like with any book, is really important,” Mote said.

Many of the books banned or facing challenges are written by or about Black and LGBTQ people.

“Having media whether it’s books, whether it’s film, TV, what have you, to recognize yourself, to go, ‘hey, that’s me, and I do not need to feel bad about myself,'” Mote said. some of that shame really, really can change someone’s life, especially younger kids. ”

Mote says they had access to these kinds of books as a child. And it helped them discover who they are. They want the same for everyone in the queer community.

“People who feel like something’s wrong with them, when nothing’s wrong with them, it can be terrifying and a book could be the thing that gives them hope,” Mote said.

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