ORANGE CITY, Iowa — The public library in this northwestern Iowa city is looking at its options after a “religious activist” burned LGBTQ library books just over a week ago.
Paul Dorr, who runs a group called Rescue the Perishing as “a crisis center and pro-life, pro-family movement,” told local media that the burning was a protest was because of his outrage at the Orange City Pride celebration. He burned the books in a Facebook Live video that was basically a half hour rant about LGBTQ people.
The Sioux City Journal reported that burning put the library in a odd position. They have policies for late, lost, stolen or accidentally damaged books. Not for ones deliberately burnt.
Orange City library director Amanda Vazquez told the newspaper that library officials will handle this situation by the book, so to speak.
“We do have policies in place for books that are not returned to the library once they are due,” Vazquez said. “That is part of our circulation policy.” She told the Journal that the library is still deciding on whether or not to replace the books Dorr burnt. The library had gotten a lot of protest from the conservative community simply for having them.
Since the books were inexpensive, Dorr could possibly be charged with fifth-degree theft, a simple misdemeanor, if he doesn’t respond to requests for the books to be returned. If convicted, he could face a fine of between $65 and $625, 30 days in jail, or both, according to the Journal.
The newspaper reported that after the video went viral, people angry at the burning have donated a few hundred dollars and some books to the library.