Two mothers’ complaint about sexually inappropriate books prompted the library to move some of them into the adult section.
At Fremont City Council’s on Dec. 27, Sandra Murray and Brianna Kindler objected to five sexually explicit books housed in the children’s section of the Keene Memorial Library. They even distributed photocopies of the books to council members.
“You will find graphic descriptions of explicit sex acts as well as pictures of erect adult penises and other genitalia,” said Murray, referring to the content as “sickening and perverse” and “child grooming.”
“We have to remove these books from our public library,” she continued. “This is city government deciding to teach our children things that are only the rights of parents. It is usurping parental rights to teach them what we want to teach them. It is not the right of the government to teach our children what the government deems ‘good.’”
Murray and Kindler exhibited five books with sexually explicit and LGBT content, including Sex is a Funny Word, 10,000 Dresses, and A Tale of Two Dads.
Susan Jacobus, a former city council member, compared their complaints to Nazi Germany.
“Censorship does not belong in the city government,” Jacobus argued, prompting Kindler to clarify her and Murray’s goals.
“There is a difference between censoring what we are allowed to say to other adults and a difference to what we say to children,” Kindler said. “These pictures in these books are not appropriate for my 5- and 8-year-old sons.”
Murray added that Sex is a Funny Word teaches children how to masturbate.
After the council meeting, Fremont Mayor Joey Spellerberg said he wasn’t aware the library was displaying inappropriate books and promised to investigate the matter further.
On Friday, Laura England-Biggs, director of Keene Memorial Library, announced seven children’s books regarding sex education were moved to the adult section after a visit from Spellerberg, the city administrator and library board president.
However, four of the LGBT-themed books Murray and Kindler complained about remain in the children’s section.
“It is our position that it is a parent’s job to guide their children’s reading habits, not the librarian’s,” said England-Biggs. “We want the library to be for everyone, but sometimes not every book is for every person.”