Story telling

The council replaces the storytelling bear in the library with a neutral rainbow alien wearing overalls

A council has been slammed after replacing its library bear with a gender-neutral rainbow alien

Hertfordshire County Council say Tala the Storyteller is a “bright and vibrant creature” and reference will be made to the use of their pronouns.

Tala will replace Bookstart Bear at children’s reading events at all 46 county libraries.

As Bookstart Bear is retired nationwide, Tala will be the new mascot for a series aimed at babies and toddlers.

A photo of the alien can be seen on personalized library cards for under-fives.

Tala the alien

A library card featuring Tala the Alien

A library card featuring Tala the Alien

The character is meant to “inspire families with babies and young children to visit the library regularly”, according to a spokesperson for the council.

Maya Forstater, a high-profile gender activist, took issue with the alien and claimed he was “trans”.

She tweeted: “A mum with her baby girl at Hitchin Library Rhyme time for 0-5 year olds messaged me.

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“Bookstart Bear has been removed and replaced with Tala, a ‘trans’ bear, with the pronouns them/them.

“I can’t express how upset I feel. Why do kids need this?”

In another tweet, she wrote, “Why is Herts County Council promoting gender ideology to under 5s? This is indoctrination into a belief system.”

But libraries were quick to hit back, with the Hitchin Library writing: “Just to confirm – Tala is not trans, she is an alien.”

He added: “Tala is an alien who tells stories from outer space, so neither male nor female.”

A spokesperson for Hertfordshire County Council said: ‘Tala is not ‘trans’ and any suggestion that the character is would be grossly misleading and grossly inaccurate.

“Tala is a fictional character, who is clearly based on an otherworldly creature to capture the imagination of children and young people using Hertfordshire libraries.

“With no gender for this extraterrestrial creature, we simply use gender-neutral language when speaking to the public about it.”