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Dear Reading Residents,
During the televised Board of Library Trustee Candidate forum on Friday March 24th, I exposed the fact that there are some highly inappropriate books that have been found in the teen section of our library. Books that show drawings of children performing sexual acts on each other, books that provide instruction to our teens on how to use sex apps and meet up with adults for sexual encounters, content that provides instruction for our children on how to use sexual devices on themselves for sexual gratification. Is this the type of material that we want our children reading in our Reading Public Library teen section?
These books and other books like them are not age appropriate and have no place in our teen section. It is pornography and child pornography. This has nothing to do with sexual orientation. My objection is based on the sexually graphic content, both text and images that are shown between children and to children.
During the candidate forum, I asked all of the candidates where they stood on the matter and if any of them deemed the material appropriate for our teen section, that they could please read the highlighted text to RCTV. None of the candidates felt comfortable reading the excerpts or displaying the images on RCTV. If adults do not feel comfortable reading content and displaying images at a candidates’ forum why would the people of Reading support making this content accessible to minors?
Furthermore, the author of one of the books admitted in a legal finding that page 135 of the book contains an image of “nudity or a sexual act indisputably involving a minor.”
This appears to be in direct violation of federal law, which states “Federal law defines child pornography as any visual depiction of sexually conduct involving a minor (persons less than 18 years old). Images of child pornography are also referred to as child sexual abuse images. Federal law prohibits the production, distribution, importation, reception or possession of any image of child pornography” (https://www.justice.gov/criminal-ceos/child-pornography)
Yet, because I bring this very serious issue to light, in an effort to protect all of our children, people in our community are attacking me and another BOLT candidate, Michael Terry. These individuals are making baseless claims and are labeling our actions as divisive. People are advocating to keep pornography, child pornography and highly inappropriate sexual content in the teen section of our library under the guise that removing this material is discriminatory and a form of book banning. Since when did speaking out against our children being exposed to pornography and child pornography somehow become discriminatory?
All of these accusations about myself and Michael Terry are categorically false and are being presented in an effort to marginalize this issue, name call and politically intimidate us and others. To inaccurately reframe our statements by claiming they are discriminatory is a poorly veiled attempt to deflect and distract from the real issue at hand – that there is pornography, child pornography and other highly explicit inappropriate sexual content in the teen section of our own Reading town library.
As I mentioned during the forum, the four candidates up for election are all very talented, smart, well-rounded and presented some excellent ideas on how to improve and bolster the library. They have also donated enormous amounts of their time to better our community and should be commended for doing so. However, with respect to this very important issue, there is only one position that is acceptable. No child should be exposed to pornography, child pornography or non-age appropriate material, let alone in our public town library.
Having such material in our library and in our teen only section of the library is indefensible.
Our number one priority as adults and as a community is to protect our children. I am speaking out against this to protect ALL of our children.
The claim that removing these materials is a form of book banning and censorship also holds no validity. There are millions of books available for our library to display. The library chooses what books they want to display. Are there books in our library that provide instructions on how to make bombs, how to join a terrorist organization, how to participate in human trafficking? I certainly would hope not! Those books have no place in our society and have no place in our town and library – just as pornography and child pornography have no place.
As you can see in the link below, I clearly stated during the forum at the 25:50 second mark that it would also be inappropriate to have Playboys, Hustlers and adult pornographic films in the library. Yet, members of our community are falsely claiming that my actions are discriminatory. I would encourage you to watch the entire candidate forum to see for yourself what was discussed.
My message is clear – no child should ever be exposed to pornography, child pornography or non-age appropriate material.
Furthermore, this is not about one book or a series of books. This is about adult decision makers having common sense and knowing right from wrong. We must only have content that is age appropriate on display in our library and in the teen section of our library.
A mother in town recently shared a story about how one of her middle school children went on a school field trip to the library. The library staff put books out on display for the students to read and view during their field trip. There was a book on display that one of the students picked it up and started flipping through the pages and the book had images of naked women. Soon several students gathered around the book and eventually a teacher came over, realized the content of the book was not age appropriate, removed it from the students and returned it to the library staff. Sadly, several children were exposed to the content and parents were rightfully upset.
Are these the types of experiences we want our children to have when they go to our town library? Library staff providing books to our children for middle school field trips that display naked adults?
If today as a society we normalize pornography and child pornography for our children to view, what will we normalize tomorrow?
Members of the community and “pundits” across the country are claiming that libraries are under attack and that book banning is at record highs. The solution to this is simple – stop displaying books that show children performing sexual acts on each other, and other highly sexual non-age appropriate material to our children and parents and concerned citizens will stop asking for the books to be removed from displays and from teen only sections.
For any library staff, current board of library trustees, or anyone in town that wants to advocate for keeping this pornography, child pornography or other highly inappropriate content in the teen section of our library, please email my campaign at email@example.com and we can arrange a time for you to go on RCTV and show the images and content we are discussing. You can show the town and make the case on camera about why and how this content is appropriate for our children.
At a minimum, these materials need to be immediately removed from the teen section.
My position is clear – I am doing this to protect all children.
For any parent in town or resident that is concerned about this content, please peacefully and respectfully contact the library and board of library of staff and let your voice be heard.