Bookmark brouhaha 

Gay & Lesbian Funds name on Arabian Nights promotion

click to enlarge A bookmark distributed by the Pikes Peak Library - District caused a stir in a District 11 elementary school.
  • A bookmark distributed by the Pikes Peak Library District caused a stir in a District 11 elementary school.

Administrators in one District 11 school wish a hullabaloo sparked by a Tales from The Arabian Nights bookmark would disappear like the genie in Aladdin's lamp.

When the Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado's logo appeared on bookmarks that were to be distributed to Pike Elementary School students last week, some parents complained. At least one person on the staff raised questions as to whether the bookmarks should be handed out to students.

The bookmarks are part of the Pikes Peak Library District's popular All Pikes Peak Reads program. They included the logos of nine other sponsors, including the Independent, the Gazette, Pikes Peak Community College and ColoradoSprings.com.

Some Pike teachers were asked to not distribute the bookmarks -- a decision that the school quickly reversed, says D-11 spokeswoman Elaine Naleski.

Naleski says there was discussion over the bookmarks, as well as whether the library's promotion of the classic mythological tale was in keeping with district policy.

D-11 has a standing partnership with the Pikes Peak Library District that allows promotional materials to be distributed without prior approval. Naleski says a new librarian at the school who is unfamiliar with the policy was at the heart of the mix-up, and delayed distributing the bookmarks.

Mary Lou Makepeace, executive director of the Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado, a nonprofit charity, isn't surprised by the small uproar at the school.

"It sounds like a case of extreme caution," she says. "People are so fearful. They think in this community that the slightest thing is going to get them in trouble."

She adds, "When people stick their heads out in this community, the wrath of God falls on them."

-- Michael de Yoanna


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