Since filing a formal letter of complaint with our library and its board members, we (my husband and I) have been asked to follow the library's "three-step policy", which is to a.) meet with the YA Zone librarian, Kristin Pekoll, b.) meet with the library director, Michael Tyree, then, c.) if no agreement can be reached through either of these steps, meet with the library board. Note that before filing the formal complaint with our library, we did call the vice president of the library board, Tom Fink. This gentleman was not aware of any homosexual books or books with explicit sex acts in them. (He did not feel anyone else on the board had knowledge of this issue, either, though we did not validate this.)
We also met with the City Mayor, Kristine Deiss, who appoints the library board. She was unaware of the book issue and was not willing to intervene. Nice.
My husband and I had our first meeting with the young adult librarian, Kristin Pekoll, last night (February 23). The results of that meeting are as follows:
We began with the content of our complaint letter. Mrs. Pekoll told us it is not the library's position to make "value judgements." It was Mrs. Pekoll's intention to ignore the complaint letter and go down the list of books that we had sent and defend each choice. She had each book on a rack in our meeting room, along with stacks of ALA (American Library Association) review magazines and such with bookmarks in them. We explained that our complaint was a general complaint, not an individual book complaint. She did not want to discuss the general concept of homosexual books for youth, but we forged on regardless.
We read an excerpt from "The Perks of Being a Wallflower." This book has a heterosexual oral sex act in very graphic detail. Later on in the book there is a homosexual male-to-male sex act as well, all in detail. We asked Mrs. Pekoll if she felt this was appropriate reading material for an 11-year-old child. Her answer, again, was that she could not make "value judgements" and that this was simply "our opinion." We heard this over and over again.
The library's policy states that they will "represent the best available [materials] to meet the community's needs and interests". We asked Mrs. Pekoll what criteria she used to make the determination of West Bends "needs and interests." Her response was "I talk with the kids a lot. They tell me what they want to read." We confirmed with her that she, indeed, makes her book selections based on what children tell her, nothing more. We asked her how she knows that this is representative of our community. She could not answer. She stated, as well, that even if 95% of the community came forward (as my husband posed this question to her), she would still have to serve the other 5%. We then asked Mrs. Pekoll about her representation of the taxpayers, those who support our local library. Children do not pay taxes, so obviously their requests and desires do not trump the taxpayers. She stood firm on serving the "other 5%."
My husband compared movie ratings to book contents, explaining that our society already had standards in place regarding sexual, violent and language content. Mrs. Pekoll said that those were privately owned institutions, not comparable to the West Bend Library. We made several reasonable requests:
1. That the West Bend Public Library attain — at the very minimum — balance in the selections that the libraries carry on the homosexual issue in the YA Zone. There is no logical or common-sense reason why taxpayer-funded public libraries should make available every latest “gay”-affirming book — including those designed to open up young minds to the false and dangerous notion that homosexuality is normal — while NOT carrying faith-based and ex-”gay” books that oppose a pro-homosexual ideology. REQUEST DENIED.
2. We further asked for the removal of any book in the youth section of our library, i.e., children’s, young adult/YA Zone, that contains perverse and pornographic language.
We requested that any youth web pages referring to topics of a sexual nature, i.e., “Out of the Closet” be removed, or at the very least, password-protected, only accessible with parental authority, such as the practice in place for use of the library computers. REQUEST DENIED.
WE BELIEVE THAT:
1. Our YA Zone librarian is censoring books for our young adults according to her personal belief system, as there are no oppositional, i.e., ex-gay, faith-based materials in the YA Zone. We feel such propaganda and indoctrination of our local youth is inappropriate and unwanted.
2. Our rights as parents have been infringed upon by placing sexually explicit material in the youth section of our library, allowing any child of any age to explore the offensive contents and/or check out the books and take them home unknowingly.
3. Our library is violating their own policy by refusing to give the community what it desires, allowing children to choose, and ignoring the taxpayers who support the library and pay the salaries of the librarians.
4. We offered a list of oppositional books, complete with ISBN numbers (see attachment), yet Mrs. Pekoll rejected our list stating that all but one were acceptable choices as they did not have "professional reviews." (Even though these books were recommended by Americans for Truth About Homosexuality). She could not provide a policy that requires such criteria. Again, this is an unsubstantiated ruling and cannot be verified by this librarian.
5. There is absolutely nothing about Unwanted Same Sex Attraction (SSA) or how homosexuality originates. There is nothing about GID (Gender Identity Disorder) either. Links to informative and supportive web sites should be on your web site. These links need at a minimum to include:
People leave homosexuality every day. The information is for those wanting it, seeking it, needing it. As the gay community says, it is all about choice and self-determination. The problem with choice is, in order to choose, there must be more than one thing to select from…correct? Our library needs to give everyone with UNWANTED SAME SEX ATTRACTION the resources needed in order to make an educated decision.
We expect our public library to protect children and empower parents to decide what their children can read.