The controversy heats up at the Campbell County public library
RAPID CITY, SD (KOTA) – The challenges for books in schools, bookstores and libraries have been around for centuries, leading to the annual Forbidden Books Week event.
But, instead of celebrating the freedom to read, some community members in Gilette, Wyoming, are challenging the Campbell County Public Library over what they consider “inappropriate” books.
“We have actually received 35 forms since then so that’s a lot, it’s actually very unusual for a public library to receive so many challenges in a short period of time,” said Terri Lesley, Executive Director of the Library. Campbell County Public Service.
The concern started when some members of the public decried books that focused on LGBTQ + topics. But now the controversy has widened, with some opposing sex education books, fantasy teen novels, and even some children’s books.
A country commissioner listens to those unhappy with library material, saying the problem deserves government attention.
“There are certain standards that I think we have to meet as adults, we have an obligation, not just as parents, but I think the government has an obligation to say look, we are not going. get rid of these books but we are going to make a parent to allow you to read this book, ”said Campbell County Commissioner Del Shelstad.
16 letters were sent out of the 35 forms received. Only one was contested.
In the wake of this public campaign, Shelstad challenges the public library and says that rather than increasing funding to fix the problem, he would rather see library funding cut due to the controversial content.
“If they needed more staff to look at these many book challenges, that they could come and see the commissioners and ask for more money in their budget to do it and I said I wasn’t okay with that, i said don’t come and ask me for this money, because you weren’t willingly involved in trying to solve this problem, and i said i would absolutely not fund this, in actually, I would be in favor of reducing your funding, ”Shelstad said.
“Usually with an explanation that we have a balanced collection and we can’t take sides, we want to have the book out there and the customers to make their own decisions, that’s where we are at,” he said. Lesley said.
However, the Campbell County public has chosen their side. “It was a very controversial issue in our community,” Shelstad said.
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