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Little Free Diverse Library faces scrutiny in Rochester

Updated: Oct 8, 2023


ROCHESTER - You've seen the little free libraries. In several South Coast Massachusetts towns, there are now little free diverse libraries, and the creators of one right outside the town library in Rochester say it's under attack.

"We are going to provide this resource to our community so that everyone has access to diverse books, antiracist books," said Rhonda Baptiste.

Three years ago, WBZ shared a story about a fundraiser her son Kelcey, who's biracial, started during the pandemic.

He was 10-years-old back then, and opened a vegetable stand to collect money to help stock the town's library with books featuring more characters that look like him.

Since then, Baptiste joined a group called Tri-Town Against Racism (TTAR), which created three Little Free Diverse Libraries in Marion, Mattapoisett, and Rochester, where there was a ribbon-cutting last June.

A month later, the town asked the group to remove a pride flag from it. Now, some want the whole thing removed.

"It's not political. It shouldn't be divisive. It should just be something that everyone's behind," said TTAR president Alison Noyce.

But at the most recent meeting of Rochester's Joseph Plumb Memorial Library Board of Trustees, letters with these comments were read out loud.

"I find this library…offensive," wrote one person. "Would you grant permission for a group of Christians to have a little library kiosk composed of Christian books and bibles?"

Another opponent wrote, "I am more than exhausted of having the LGBTQ + agenda and propaganda shoved in our faces."

"Anti-racism isn't an agenda," said Noyce. "I was hurt, I was hurt by it," she said.

She said the issue is up for discussion and a decision on the matter at the Rochester Library board meeting next Thursday night.

You can watch the full broadcast here.


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