Our district library turned into a community theater for a couple of hours this last week, and it was all based on a false dog whistle meant to bolster the library's position that they can provide any book or other library material they want to your very young child without any input from you, the parent.
I had not saw any of the pre-hype for the meeting put out by some of the library staff, but I had made a decision early on the day of Wednesday, September 20th to attend the Mason County District Library (MCDL) Board meeting being held at 4 PM, figuring I might be able to listen in and perhaps ask questions afterward on their thoughts of the Ludington school district making sensible changes to the Unbounded program. It was held at the Ludington Library so it was just a short bike ride to attend, but boy was I surprised when I got there.
I have just attended one board meeting as the only guest and a look at their 2023 MCDL minutes indicates these monthly meeting are more likely to have no guests attending, and only one time did one make a comment. So I thought I was going into the wrong place when I saw a filling room with some of the county's most notorious liberal elements. Was this a meeting of the Mason County Democrat Party? Not according to the sign.
A reading of the meeting agenda gave no indication of what was eliciting this turnout; other than routine library business the only other thing on it was a presentation by County Clerk Cheryl Kelly, who was there to thank the library for allowing the county to use the Scottville Library to host early voting mandated by the 2022 initiative that passed. The board has two comment sections where they expressly warned the audience that the first was only for comments on what is actually on the agenda, but they acknowledged that the group that had grown to just under 70 people could comment on what they were likely here for at the end of the meeting.
At that point my suspicions were confirmed that this was no chance gathering. Yet the business of the board didn't betray the hidden agenda that would kick in once they got to the public comment at the end of the meeting. Going around the perimeter of the room where they were gathered, nearly half the crowd rose (if they were not already standing) and said their piece. David Bossick, managing editor of the local newspaper, gave his moderated impressions of what happened in an article published the next day:
A crowded room with the potential for discussion on materials being banned greeted the Mason County District Library Board of Trustees Wednesday afternoon at the Ludington library.
Additional chairs were added for the board meeting as more and more people came into the room. Still, some were forced or chose to stand while others sat the floor as the board conducted its business.
The library has policies on its website with links to the American Library Association’s “Freedom to Read Statement,” “Library Bill of Rights,” and “Statement on Book Censorship.”
Most of those during the public comment period spoke out about their opposition to banning books.
Motivated by the belief that a person affiliated with the group called Moms for Liberty was attending, the room was filled. The group, on its website, states that it works to defend parental rights at all levels of government.
All comments the board heard, though, were against banning books.
Following the meeting, board member Jennifer Doggett explained that she received a phone call about a specific book, “Gender Queer,” that was located in the youth section and was purported to have pornographic imagery.
“I said that if you felt this way, you need to come to the board meeting,” Doggett explained to the crowd around her. “The board needs to know how people feel in this town.”
Nearly all of the people there were opposed to banning books or censorship, believing that someone would present themselves to do just that.
Karen Nielsen, a retired teacher and college instructor, said she had a process for questionable material.
“I use materials that some of my parents did not approve and and did not like,” she said, adding that alternative books, movies or assignments could be completed.
“I do believe a few don’t have the right to dictate to everyone,” Nielsen said.
Barry Matthews said that the local library refused him access to the adult section even though his parents were OK with it.
“Nobody has the right to choose what my children or grandchildren choose to read,” he said.
The board conducted its business with none of the items on the agenda dealing with any specific books."
I appreciate Editor Bossick's summation because it not only caught the general tenor of the two dozen comments contents by only focusing on those of Karen Nielsen and Barry Matthews, but also because it has Doggett's explanation of why all of those folks showed up, and because it points to the library's philosophy.
I couldn't help applauding some of the comments made against book banning, but there were many times I doubted the sincerity of those who addressed the board. Progressives have been using the term to stigmatize the conservatives/libertarians leading the movement for parental rights in education, foremost among those is the Moms for Liberty group, which many here equated with the devil. Confronting any spokesperson for that group was part of why they were there, but nobody showed up, this left a couple wondering why they were there if this wasn't on the agenda and the board would not admit until after their meeting that someone contacted them.
Jennifer Doggett (pictured above, at far left naturally) would act as the library board's spokesperson, claiming she had a call about obviously inflammatory contents of a book by some person. How it grew into a meeting attended by 70 progressive leaders of the county talking about book bans and Moms for Liberty bringing in hit lists wasn't part of this explanation. And so, I made a FOIA request to find out more and did additional research.
The earliest instance of organizing an anti-book-ban crusade was by MCDL librarian Al Geist, who on the afternoon of 9-14-2023 placed the following post on Facebook:
Although, his post wouldn't gather a lot of shares, others picked it up without questioning the accuracy of the assertions. Some contacted the library, and they would neither confirm or deny the allegations on the posts. When they saw Al's and retired librarian Sue Carlson's posts most accepted it as reality.
Now both Al and Sue (who I have had pleasant conversations and repartee in the past) could have easily verified their posts like I did after this meeting and find that there was no list from a "Moms for Liberty" source, and yet the library waited until after the meeting to dismiss the bugbear. Quite a difference from one person phoning in a complaint about one graphic novel which inarguably has some explicit pictures and is available to children through the Unbound program, than to have a national organization send you a list and a representative, neither of which ever existed in this case.
This was pure theater and the only thing missing was Tiffany Justice (MFL co-founder) being hung in effigy. I was given the opportunity to talk after ten had already spoken and had indicated to me that there was some underlying subterfuge and misinformation behind the mass gathering at the meeting, I deferred since I am not used to speaking about something I have no idea about. Others didn't have such reservations, but they were mostly united in their belief that book banning of any sort was bad and "Moms for Liberty" should be the ones banned.
Only a few in the crowd seems to have been suspicious of how they were duped into coming to this meeting by the dog whistle perpetrated by the library, and likely only a couple may have cared. Progressives in America have determined that giving books with pictures and graphic depictions of sex in all its forms is fair game for little children. And our local library affirms that position as its philosophy. Consider if you will...
In the MCDL's 'about' page they have the three guiding documents referenced in Bossick's article, the freedom to read statement, the library bill of rights, and the statement on book censorship. These are all linked to there as it is here, and how it is seen on the MCDL website.
Following the links, they take you to the American Library Association websites pages on these topics, these are our library's guiding documents. The library Bill of Rights is very interesting as they believe that all materials at the library should be available to everyone, here's why they claim that:
The ALA, and by extension the MCDL, "opposes all attempts to restrict access to library services, materials, and facilities based on the age of library users." and (this) applies "equally to all libraries, including school libraries." Furthermore, "The rights of minors to retrieve, interact with, and create information posted on the Internet in schools and libraries are extensions of their First Amendment rights", meaning anybody who would restrict a child from visiting adult-content websites, or use a filter to accomplish the same thing, at the library or at the schools is violating the child's First Amendment rights.
In this bizarre world we find ourselves in, the MCDL and the school libraries are that creepy uncle who chooses to share his hardcore porn collection with your son or daughter with the intention of grooming them for some nefarious purpose. But whereby you can restrict that uncle from being a bad influence on your child by keeping him away from them or pressing charges for some serious crimes (such as disseminating sexually explicit material to a minor) our libraries are "protecting your child's basic civil rights" to look at materials which you may find objectionable and hiding their shame by also giving your child the right to privacy in their choices of library materials, so you as a parent cannot find out when they start making deliveries to your school.
This philosophy does not meet our community standards; parents need help from the school and the library to protect their children from age-inappropriate materials and contents that are repugnant to the ideals and morals that they wish to teach their offspring. The library and the school library, both supported by taxpayer money these parents send them, should not be pushing an agenda that interferes with our children's development. Government makes a terrible parent.
The things I like about your articles is the way you back up your conclusions and comments with research and facts. If this "Chicken Little, the sky is falling meeting" doesn't send a clear message to all concerned parents and citizens I don't know what will. The fact that those involved with the library literally duped people to attend a meeting about a made up crisis, tells us much about what kind of individuals are in control of our libraries. Let's get something straight. Nobody is advocating banning books and when that idea is used to light a fire under the moronic left in order to get them riled up it only proves that telling the truth is not part of their plans or their character. What concerned parents want is for children to be denied access to pornographic material or other things they deem inappropriate. That is a parents right and duty. How hard can that be? The fact that the left is trying so hard to shove this type of material onto children shows how deviant and twisted they are. These people cannot be trusted to have any dealings with children. The sooner people realize that and take action, the better it will be for the kids and society.
If we are to accept their so called guiding mission and documents then it only follows that the libraries must stock all forms of pornography not only for the children but for adults as well. How about an entire section on child porn so all of the sex criminals can come into the library and enjoy a fulfilling afternoon of twisted sex material. After all everyone has a right to have access to any type of books, magazines or digital material. How about a section on terrorist techniques. They should promote and stock reading material and information on how to make bombs or other means of creating mass destruction. How about a section on how to create a dirty nuclear device such as a suitcase bomb or how to poison a city's water supply. According to the library there is no limit as to what information they should provide the public. These lefties are out of their minds and cannot be trusted. Stand up parents before it's to late.
For leftists, clinging to the “book ban” lies in order to undermine parents is one of the latest tools they can wield to break down the family. Their stake in this game is power, but for these parents it is the welfare, hearts, minds, and innocence of their children. I have made it clear over the last year, that the Unbound program allows age-inappropriate materials to land in your children's hands without the parent's knowledge. Now we know lefties are firmly behind this enough to fool themselves with myths about book lists and book banners. That's a problem, and I intend to correct it in my neighborhood.
And lest we forget the same people calling concerned parents book banners are the same people who cheered when Twitter silenced Donald Trump, media breaking the Hunter's laptop story, and a host of other non-liberal thinkers from sharing their words, notably in the fall of 2020, destroying years of content without a tear being shed, except for those overcome by uncontrolled mirth. That was true censorship, and it was all done by liberal agencies with a purpose. The biggest problem was that most conservatives let it happen and continue to be the controlled opposition.
How can a kid hold a book turn the pages while texting on their phone ? It would be interesting to see how many kids use the library .
You raise an interesting point. Parents who get their kids a smart phone early on will likely find that their kids never get a fondness for reading books and that of course will make their reading choices be the left-leaning drivel glorifying nihilism and age-inappropriate content that Google directs them to. Those parents who want to foster a love of books and steer clear from phones now have to be concerned about their public libraries turning into primarily left-leaning drivel glorifying nihilism and age-inappropriate content. Let's hope our future generations learn that everything that goes 'woke' turns into crap.
No doubt that older kids with phones have accessed information much more provocative than what is in the library but that is a matter that reveals a lack of oversight and poor parenting. This sexual perversion driven agenda by the libraries and supporting school personnel deals with indoctrinating children from the time they are turned over to the school system which teaches kids to be anti-American while turning the children against their parents. Brainwashing kids on twisted sexual ideology, wokism and a myriad of leftists ideology. Parents are willingly turning their kids over to these predators and we will be paying a price for that in the not so distant future.