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'Read-In' of controversial books held to protest library board recall

 
August 5, 2022
 
 

By Mike Weland

Only a handful of people were expected at the first "Read-In" on the lawn at the Boundary County Library Thursday afternoon, but organizers were astounded when the over two dozen people turned out to quietly read banned or controversial books.

People young and old showed up, many wearing shirts expressing support for the beleaguered library. They brought blankets and lawn chairs to spend an hour reading, all informed of the gathering by nothing more than word of mouth.

Books read included Remarkable Diaries by Professor Kate Williams, Charlotte's Web by E.B White, The 1619 Project by Nikole Hannah Jones, Selected Reading in Criminal by Philip L Reichel, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Same Sex Affairs: Constructing and Controlling Homosexuality In The Pacific Northwest by Peter Boag, The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood and more.

Organizers are planning more Read-Ins, and hope to make it a regular event, The next is planned for Saturday, August 20, weather permitting, with the time still to be set. It will most likely be in the morning so folks can enjoy a visit to the Farmer's Market in conjunction with their library visit.

The Read-Ins, organizers say, are a constructive yet quiet way to protest a signature drive seeking to oust four of the five members of the library board who allegedly voted June 16 to purchase books "completely inappropriate for our children to have access to under the age of 18."

The petition targets trustees Ken Blockhan, Wendy McClintock, Bob Blanford and Lee Colson, all of whom voted in favor of adopting a material selection policy, which does not purchase books, but establishes that "the Boundary County Library Board of Trustees recognizes that given the increasing emphasis on frankness and realism of materials including those that explore social, sexual and ethical issues, some members of the community may consider some materials to be controversial and/or offensive," and that "selection of materials will not be affected by any such potential disapproval."

On June 16, the library board adopted a policy that "recognizes that given the increasing emphasis on frankness and realism of materials including those that explore social, sexual and ethical issues, some members of the community may consider some materials to be controversial and/or offensive," the policy reads. "Selection of materials will not be affected by any such potential disapproval, and the Boundary County Library will not place materials on 'closed shelves' or label items to protect the public from their content. In the case of controversial issues or views, the Boundary County Library will not advance one perspective without regard for the other(s)."

Board member Aaron Bohachek voted "no" and is not included in the recall effort.

"Our mission is to protect children from explicit materials and grooming," according to recall organizers.

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