ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) – The Anchorage Library Advisory Board on March 15 voted to have the municipal attorney review the legality of a book with controversial themes.
Let’s Talk About It contains information on relationships and sex education. It has been repeatedly sued by parents who claim it contains inappropriate sexual content. The book remains available at public libraries, although it has been pulled from shelves in other states.
Anchorage School District libraries only have the book in the “professional collection” and it is not available to students, according to district officials.
“I’m making a formal request that the legal — beyond the library advisory board — look at it, look at the code and give us an opinion,” said library advisory board member Doug Weiman. “These are taped meetings and I just want to go on the record and say that I have serious concerns that we are potentially doing something that violates the code.”
The code in this case is a part Municipal code which addresses performances and exhibitions harmful to minors and state statutes focused on the unlawful exploitation of minors.
Library Advisory Board Chairwoman Christy Wheeler opposed sending the book directly to the municipal attorney without going through the established review process, which includes the library’s decision through an available appeals process — a process that bypassed the March 15 vote.
“People tend to gravitate toward external arguments around the issue,” Wheeler said. “People coming together to talk about an issue that concerns people is something that needs to happen more, not less.”
One of the board members who voted to send the book to the municipal trustee insists that he does not want the book banned, but rather that he does not want the book in the children’s section of the public library.
As questions about the book’s content come up across the country, Wheeler says it’s important to establish a review process.
“I wouldn’t be doing what I do if it weren’t for how deeply I support the library and all libraries,” Wheeler said. “I’m really in favor of having as wide a range of books as we can have.”
The reconsideration request form is available in the policy section on the Anchorage Public Library website.
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