I had a wonderful experience recently at the Billings Public Library. I am a mom of two boys, ages 4 and 7. At one of our many visits, I saw a book entitled, “Jacob’s New Dress.” It seemed to be about a gender nonconforming boy and looked interesting, so I checked it out. I read it by myself first and then with both my sons. They really enjoyed it, but naturally they had many questions. It sparked a lively and healthy conversation.
When I returned the book, I approached one of the children’s librarians whom I know well, to ask about the book. Her eyes got very wide until I told her how much we enjoyed it, and how pleasantly surprised I was to find it at the library. She let out a sigh of relief and informed me about some feedback that had been quite the opposite. The library received criticism for having books with two moms or two dads, or books on kids who are gay, transgender, etc. I offered the librarian our support and applauded their efforts at including books like “Jacob’s New Dress.”
I recently learned that the library will be unveiling an inclusion program. I for one will be eager to see the new titles as they arrive on the shelf. If it is a book that I am not interested in, or if I deem it not suited for my family, I simply will not check it out: a choice we all have.