Imagine a town without a library.

In August, people in Jamestown, Mich., just outside Grand Rapids, signaled with their votes that they would rather defund — and possibly shutter — their only public library than keep books with LGBTQ themes on the shelves.

The impact of such a vote is deeply concerning. And the place from which it stems — a small but vocal minority trying to dictate what others can and cannot read — is even more troubling.

Libraries fill a role central to any functioning democracy: upholding the rights of citizens to read, to seek information, to speak freely. As champions of access, librarians are committed to curating collections that allow everyone who enters the library to see themselves in the books and resources the library provides. It is especially crucial to serve people who belong to traditionally marginalized groups — such as the LGBTQ community — which have historically been underrepresented in the publishing industry.