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San Diego Library Flooded With New LGBTQ+ Books After Protesters Stole Every Single One

Residents helped Rancho Peñasquitos Library restock the LGBTQ+ books that were stolen after an article ran in the 'San Diego Tribune.'

The Pride display in the Rancho Peñasquitos Library in San Diego. California
Rancho Peñasquitos Library/Facebook

When Adrianne Peterson, the manager of the Rancho Peñasquitos branch of the San Diego Public Library, discovered that all the LGBTQ+ books had been deliberately checked out by protestors with the intention of keeping them hostage indefinitely, she knew she had to take action.

The determined manager decided to share her story with the media, hoping to raise awareness about the situation and garner support for the library's inclusive collection.

The San Diego Union-Tribunepublished an article highlighting the incident, and the response was overwhelming. People from all walks of life were touched by the story and stepped up to show their solidarity.

The outlet reported:

"Head librarian Misty Jones said the protest ratchets up the usual backlash San Diego library branches have come to experience when they create Pride exhibits or host events like drag queen story times."
"The protest is an example of a growing national backlash against Pride and transgender rights."

After reading about the hijacked books, dozens of Amazon boxes started arriving at the library. Inside were brand-new replacements for the LGBTQ+ titles taken by the anti-LGBTQ+ protestors.

But the outpouring of support didn't stop there.

Around 180 individuals, primarily San Diegans, rallied behind the library's cause and donated over $15,000 to the system.

The city, recognizing the significance of the situation, agreed to match the donations, resulting in a total fund of more than $30,000 specifically earmarked for acquiring additional LGBTQ-themed materials and developing programming to promote inclusivity.

This heartening response came at a time when conservative-led groups across the country have been calling for the removal of certain books from library shelves. In response to these demands, many towns and cities have been taking a stand, using legal measures, protests, and legislation to uphold the right to access diverse literature.

Many were thrilled by the news and praised both the community and the library's response.

According to the American Library Association, in 2022, there were 2,571 unique titles subjected to attempts at censorship, marking a significant 38 percent increase from the previous year.

The incident—far from the first around the country—highlights the ongoing battle for intellectual freedom and the crucial role libraries play in fostering understanding, empathy, and knowledge.

Despite the threatening email from protestors vowing not to return the checked-out books, Peterson revealed to The New York Times that the books have indeed been returned to the library.