ALL RIVER — David Mello leads the children’s section of the 19th-century library in the center of the city, a longtime public servant whose ready smile turns rueful when he recalls the ugly protest on its granite steps late last year.
In Fall River and communities across the nation, libraries find themselves on the front line of the increasingly bitter culture wars. Books are being challenged and removed, events such as Drag Story Hours are being canceled because of safety concerns, and librarians are harassed and insulted in the workplace, sometimes being denounced as “pedophiles” and “groomers.”
“This is a program that teaches inclusiveness and tolerance, and Lord knows we need more of that in our lives,” Mello said. “This is alarming to see. The library should be a place of free thought and free-flowing ideas.”