Calls for head of Jacksonville Public Library to resign

Tim Rogers cancels pride prom event citing safety concerns

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There are calls for the director of the Jacksonville Public Library to resign after he canceled an event for LGBTQ youth.

Tim Rogers canceled the sold-out pride prom event at Riverside's Willowbranch Library, citing safety concerns.

For over two hours Wednesday, Rogers was at the library meeting with staff members and talking about the decision. Supporters and organizers were standing outside the closed-door meeting, wanting to speak with Roberts. Some were chanting slogans and singing the song "True Colors."

News4Jax was not allowed into the meeting, but Rogers spoke about his decision after the conference.

"I made the call with the information I had at the time and that information was not anything that was an imminent threat. It was about the emotional and physical safety of the kids that they were inviting to this teen program, and that's all it was," Rogers said. "I don't plan to resign, and I don't think there is a need for that, but I do think we broke a trust with the community we serve.

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Some people, like Bebe Palmer, followed Rogers out as he left the conference room.

"My purpose for being here is to raise awareness that Tim Rogers is the one who canceled the event at the Jacksonville Public Library allegedly because the library had received death threats and abusive phone calls that were not reported to JSO. They were not classified as hate crimes. He did this solely himself to cancel the event," Palmer said.

Some church leaders who gathered Tuesday outside City Hall called for Roberts to resign because he was going to allow the event to take place.

"I am asking that the city looks into this, and I would say it’s appropriate to fire the library director who approved such an event," said Raymond Johnson, founder of Biblical Concept Ministries. "We need to look into an ordinance that would bar programs inappropriate for children in our public facilities and taxpayer-funded facilities."

More than 100 teenagers were expected to attend the event. 

A pride event is scheduled to take place over the weekend at the Museum of Science and History. The Museum told News4Jax it does not plan to cancel the event despite threats of protest. A church group plans to pray outside the museum at 10 a.m. Saturday. 

A demonstration is also scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Friday at the Willowbranch Branch Library on Park Street.

About the Author:

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.