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'I find it nonsensical': Meridian Library District response to claims of pornography and indoctrination

Community members have attended the last few board meetings to oppose specific books they say are inappropriate for children.

MERIDIAN, Idaho — Every two weeks, Sandy Maple and her 11-year-old grandson Charlie Cowan make a trip to the Cherry Lane Meridian Library.

"I think reading is becoming a lost art, almost," Maple said.

Not lost on her grandson, however. Cowan walks in the front door with a Percy Jackson novel tucked under his right arm.

"When you're just reading you get caught up and forget about things. You can picture the story in your mind," Cowan said. "It's relaxing."

Like Cowan, several kids wander the aisles of the library. The next adventure is right at their fingertips; that's where some are starting to draw the line.

"A little disappointing and shocking that this small but vocal group wants to take such a tremendous asset away from this community," Meridian District Library (MLD) Board Chair Megan Larsen said.

For the past couple meetings, community members have attended the board meetings to voice concerns about the content found in Meridian libraries.

A conservative group called the "Idaho Liberty Dogs" encourages their members to attend MLD meetings to oppose pornographic and LGBTQ content.

"Did you know that public libraries across Idaho, are being used as taxpayer funded 'Grooming Locations' to indoctrinate young children and teenagers into the LGBTQ lifestyles?" the Idaho Liberty Dogs posted on their Facebook page.

The same post outlines five books the Idaho Liberty Dogs find inappropriate:

  • "Gender Queer," by Maia Kobabe
  • "Sex is a Funny Word," by Cory Silverberg
  • "Two Boys Kissing," by David Levithan
  • "Big Hard Sex Criminals," by Mathh Fraction
  • "Captain Underpants," by Dave Pilkey

Associate Librarian Nikki Kreiner works in the children’s department of the Cherry Lane Library.

"Captain Underpants" was the only book she could find in the children's section when KTVB asked her to point out where these books can be found in the library. "Captain Underpants" is low-brow humor often enjoyed by middle school boys, according to Kreiner.

"I find it nonsensical," Larsen said. "Yes, there are materials in the library that LGBTQ content. We are responding to what our community is interested, not every community member. But certainly, our community is interested in a diverse and inclusive collection. We provide that here at the library."

"Sex is a Funny Word" is also in the children's section; however, the book was checked out while KTVB was at the library. The book teaches children about how body development and changes, according to Kreiner.

No parent has ever voiced a concern to Kreiner about books in this section and whether they are appropriate or not.

"You should be monitoring what you children are reading," Maple said. "Not an easy job but you need to be on top of it. I think if you talk to your kids and they talk to you, that eliminates a lot of problems."

MLD has a clear policy outlined on their website regarding how a book would qualify to be in their collection.

Larsen expects people from the Idaho Liberty Dogs to continue attending meetings and voice their concerns. The Board will continue listening to their concerns, Larsen said.

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