A New York library system has reversed its decision to remove all Pride displays and Pride-related books from display in children's sections. The initial move generated controversy amid a nationwide wave of legislative efforts to remove LGBTQ books and content from schools and libraries.
The Smithtown Library on Long Island had said it would remove the displays and books after the library board voted 4-2 to approve the motion. The board hosted an emergency meeting late Thursday following backlash, and decided to reverse the decision and issue an apology.
"The majority of the board recognizes that our earlier decision was made without the time, care and due diligence that a decision of this type deserves and that it was the wrong decision," the board said in a statement. "Moving forward, we will commit our collective energies toward ensuring that we get the advice and guidance needed from our library administrators, staff, outside experts, legal counsel and, most importantly, from Smithtown residents before we make important decisions regarding our library."
The move came as the nation grapples with ongoing legislative efforts to remove LGBTQ books from libraries and schools or ban LGBTQ content in some classrooms.
Republicans have introduced more than 300 anti-LGBTQ bills and at least 9 states have passed one into law.
The initial decision from the board would have kept Pride month displays in teen and adult areas of the library. Books on the LGBTQ communities would still have been "part of the library's children's collection and can be checked out by anyone wishing to do so."
The board's decision was quickly condemned by the likes of New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and the New York Library Association.
"For many LGBTQ+ youth, libraries are the only safe, affirmative, and welcoming space during these formative years of their personal development," the NYLA said in a statement. "Libraries, for our LGBTQ+ youth, are the first place where they see themselves for exactly who they are without retribution."
The statement added, "The removal of Pride displays and all related materials on display further perpetuates the cycle of shame and silence of our LGBTQ+ youth."
Hochul used the news to reaffirm her support of LGBTQ residents in the state.
For many LGBTQ+ kids, libraries are one of the few spaces where they can be welcomed and affirmed for who they are.
Our public spaces should be accepting our young people — not rejecting them.
To LGBTQ+ New Yorkers: We stand with you, we support you, & you are welcome here. https://t.co/x6w1q8o3El
— Governor Kathy Hochul (@GovKathyHochul) June 22, 2022
"To LGBTQ+ New Yorkers: We stand with you, we support you, & you are welcome here," Hochul said in a post on Twitter.
Smithtown Library representatives did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.