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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Chapel Hill library to hold public forum on gay children's book

Posted by on Wed, Jul 1, 2015 at 11:33 AM

Former Orange County teacher Omar Currie resigned last month after reading a gay childrens book in class.
  • Photo by Alex Boerner
  • Former Orange County teacher Omar Currie resigned last month after reading a gay children's book in class.

While Orange County Schools squirmed over third-grade teacher Omar Currie's reading of the gay children's book "King & King," the Chapel Hill Public Library saw a spike in the number of checkouts and holds placed on the controversial Dutch fable.

Fittingly, library leaders say, they will hold a public forum on the book next week, part of a new event called "Between the Lines," in which local leaders and residents gather at the library to discuss hot topics in the news. For the moment, there are few topics hotter than gay marriage, which the Supreme Court legalized in all 50 states last week.

The forum is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 8, at the Chapel Hill Public Library.

Currie, who resigned from Orange County's Efland-Cheeks Elementary last month over the controversy, will be featured in the forum.

There will also be a panel, which includes Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, the first openly gay mayor in Chapel Hill's history; Kathleen Gallagher, a researcher on education at UNC's Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute; and Brian Sturm, vice chair of the library's board of trustees and an expert on childhood literature from UNC's School of Information and Library Science.

"Any time there is a surge of attention toward a book, we are interested, as is our community of readers," said Library Director Susan Brown. "So many people are interested in this book, its contents, and in the teacher who ultimately resigned over reading it, that we thought we'd pull together an event to focus on the issues at hand."

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