A public library in Iowa has received dozens of books and hundreds of dollars in donations after a man burned several of the library’s LGBTQ children’s books in a personal protest.
Religious activist Paul Dorr earlier this month checked out four LGBTQ books from the Orange City Public Library, and filmed a Facebook livestream of himself burning them.
A GoFundMe started by an Iowa native set out to raise $300 to replace the books, but as of Wednesday it had received more than $1,300. The library has also received more than 100 books donated from in and out of the state, according to Iowa Public Radio, including multiple copies of the books that Dorr burned.
“People must feel pretty strongly about the issue to be contributing the way that they are,” library director Amanda Vazquez told Iowa Public Radio.
“Because Mr. Dorr chose to censor thought and derail freedom, we would like to restore the books he burned to the Orange City Library,” the GoFundMe reads. “To make sure he will not censor speech and attack the LGBT+ community, we seek to replace the books with five copies each. All other funds will be donated to the Orange City Library to protect the freedom of thought and information.”
Dorr’s book-burning took place ahead of a library event featuring drag queens reading aloud to children.
“Continuing my 25-year stand for Christ, I cannot stand by and let the shameful adults at the Orange City library board bring the next group of little children into their foul sexual reality without a firm resistance,” he says in the video, and calls the books “disgusting” and “shameful.”
Dorr is associated with religious group Rescue the Perishing.
Dylan Boyle, who started the GoFundMe, decried the burning as “censorship” in an interview with Iowa Public Radio.
“When people want to oppress and intimidate people, there’s a lot more people who are willing to stand up,” he said.
Police are investigating the incident, according to Iowa Public Radio. The books are not yet overdue, and library officials declined to comment on whether they will pursue a theft charge after the books are overdue for two months.