Wyoming librarians under fire for books about sex, LGBTQ – Jackson Hole News&Guide

Sorry, an error occurred.

Sign up to receive local, breaking news alerts as they become available.
Sign up to receive a weekly e-newsletter with a selection of healthcare and wellness news from the Jackson Hole News&Guide. 
Sign up to receive a weekly e-newsletter with a selection of private, public and continuing education news from the Jackson Hole News&Guide. 
Sign up to receive a monthly e-newsletter with a selection of photography and video from the Jackson Hole News&Guide.
Sign up to receive a weekly e-newsletter with a selection of town and county government news from the Jackson Hole News&Guide. 
Sign up to receive a weekly e-newsletter with a selection of arts and entertainment headlines from the Scene section of Jackson Hole News&Guide
Sign up to receive a weekly e-newsletter with a selection of economic and business news from the Jackson Hole News&Guide. 
Sign up to receive a weekly e-newsletter with a selection of environmental news from the Jackson Hole News&Guide. 
Sign up to receive a weekly e-newsletter with a spotlight on Jackson Hole’s crime, justice and emergency news from the Jackson Hole News&Guide. 
Sign up to receive a daily e-newsletter with a selection of local, state and regional news headlines from the Jackson Hole Daily. 
Sign up to receive a weekly e-newsletter with a selection of inspiring stories about the faces and places of Jackson Hole from the Jackson Hole News&Guide. 
Sign up to receive a weekly e-newsletter with a selection of outdoors, sports and recreation news from the Jackson Hole News&Guide. 
Sign up to receive a weekly e-newsletter with a selection of trending local news headlines from the Jackson Hole News&Guide.
Sign up to receive a weekly e-newsletter with a selection of news headlines from the Jackson Hole News&Guide. 


Thank you .
Your account has been registered, and you are now logged in.
Check your email for details.
Invalid password or account does not exist


Thank you.
Your purchase was successful, and you are now logged in.
A receipt was sent to your email.
A shirt makes a political statement in a storefront in Gillette on Sept. 21. Prosecutors said they were considering possible criminal charges against Campbell County Public Library officials after some locals complained to police that books about sex and how to have a baby were in the children’s and teenage sections.

A shirt makes a political statement in a storefront in Gillette on Sept. 21. Prosecutors said they were considering possible criminal charges against Campbell County Public Library officials after some locals complained to police that books about sex and how to have a baby were in the children’s and teenage sections.
CHEYENNE (AP) — Books about sex, LGBTQ issues and how to have a baby have public library employees in Gillette facing possible prosecution after angry residents complained to police that the material is obscene and doesn’t belong in sections for children and teenagers.
For weeks, Campbell County Public Library officials have been facing a local outcry over the books and for scheduling a transgender magician to perform for youngsters, an act canceled amid threats against the magician and library staff.
The books are “This Book is Gay” by Juno Dawson, “How Do You Make a Baby” by Anna Fiske, “Doing It” by Hannah Witton, “Sex is a Funny Word” by Corey Silverberg, and “Dating and Sex: A Guide for the 21st Century Teen Boy” by Andrew P. Smiler, according to Susan Sisti, a local pastor who has been raising concerns about those and other books in the library.
“It’s really easy to go into the library and look around a little bit and find a filthy book that should not even be in a public library,” said Sisti, pastor of Open Door Church in Gillette. “These books are absolutely appalling.”
Now, after a complaint filed with the sheriff’s office, prosecutors are reviewing the case. They will seek appointment of a special prosecutor to weigh in as well before deciding whether to pursue charges, County Attorney Mitchell Damsky announced Friday.
Investigators haven’t contacted library officials about the case, leaving them unsure which books got the library in potential legal trouble, said the library’s executive director, Terri Lesley.
Told the list provided by Sisti, Lesley said library officials had reviewed a complaint about “This Book is Gay” and determined it belonged in the library’s Teen Room. The decision was being appealed to the library board while library officials review pending complaints about the other four.
In all, the library has been working through 35 recent complaints about 18 books, she said, a situation she said appeared to be quite unusual for a public library.
“It’s unexpected,” Lesley said. “We are trying to be the force of reason, trying to work through these things using the policy we have in place — review these books and do our due diligence.”
The LGBTQ advocacy group Wyoming Equality said it’s up to parents to decide when their children should have access to such books.
“Maybe the answer is never. If it’s never, that’s fine. But do you get to make that choice for other families?” said the group’s executive director, Sara Burlingame.
The book dispute has “gotten contentious and out of hand” when it may have been resolvable by putting the books among material for adults, said Damsky, the prosecutor.
“Personally, as a parent, I find the material to be just inappropriate for children and disgusting. But as a lawyer I’m sworn to uphold the Constitution and that’s why we are dealing with it with a fine-toothed comb,” Damsky said.
Sisti has been working with Hugh and Susan Bennett, who went to the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office last Wednesday with concerns that the five books may have violated state child-sex laws. Sheriff’s officials reviewed the complaint and referred the case, which was first reported by the Gillette News Record, to prosecutors.
“It’s very challenging to imagine how a child who’s sexually immature, physically immature, if there’s any reasonable purpose for exposing them to sexual behavior that’s far beyond their physical and mental and emotional and intellectual abilities to understand,” Hugh Bennett said.
He called the books “hard-core pornography to children.”
“This Book is Gay,” Sisti pointed out, includes illustrations of male and female genitalia and descriptions of oral and anal sex. But child access to all kinds of material on the internet might be pertinent to the case, suggested Damsky.
“What 9-year-old kid today can’t access Pornhub or whatever they want, you know what I mean?” Damsky said.
The library already faced protests and threats last summer over plans for a performance by a transgender magician. The magician canceled the show due to the threats.
The furor over the magician and the books prompted Wyoming Equality to talk with local officials about the threats and offer support to library staff. Local leaders had left Burlingame hopeful the rancor over the library would tone down, she said.
“It seemed like there was some kind of opportunity to put the brakes on this and can we talk to each other,” Burlingame said. “It seems like the train has jumped the tracks.”
Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
Your comment has been submitted.

Reported
There was a problem reporting this.
Log In
Please note: Online comments may also run in our print publications.
Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Please turn off your CAPS LOCK.
No personal attacks. Discuss issues & opinions rather than denigrating someone with an opposing view.
No political attacks. Refrain from using negative slang when identifying political parties.
Be truthful. Don’t knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be proactive. Use the “Report” link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with us. We’d love to hear eyewitness accounts or history behind an article.
Use your real name: Anonymous commenting is not allowed.
.
The News&Guide welcomes comments from our paid subscribers. Tell us what you think. Thanks for engaging in the conversation!
Please log in, or sign up for a new account and purchase a subscription to read or post comments.
Sorry, no promotional deals were found matching that code.
Promotional Rates were found for your code.
Sorry, an error occurred.

do not remove
Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

source