The Samuels Public Library in Front Royal, Virginia, may lose funding after refusing to sign a Memorandum of Agreement with the Warren County Board of Supervisors over children’s access to explicit LGBTQ books.
The Memorandum of Agreement would force the library to designate an “Adult Section” for all “sexually explicit material” and require caregiver consent for checking out library materials “that the Trustees deem inappropriate for their minor children.”
Warren County supervisors have withheld three-quarters of the library’s budget since July as they seek to pressure the library board to give the county more say in the governance.
Even though the library will run out of operating funds at the end of September, they rejected the memorandum during a meeting on Thursday.
“If the library cedes greater control to the county over which books stay and go, the budget woes would go away. But the Samuels board of trustees voted 11-1 Thursday to stand their ground, defending their book selection policies as protecting the interests of vulnerable minority groups in the community and fairly representing everyone,” the Washington Post reports.
Samuels Public Library’s Future Uncertain with County Funding Set to Expire on September 30
Read the full statement from the President of Samuels Library’s Board of Trustees here – https://t.co/MZuOXY2T8f pic.twitter.com/8KSrSdo4rQ
— Samuels Library (@samuelslibrary) September 14, 2023
In a statement about potentially losing funding, the library said, “We have listened and responded to the concerns of the community by adopting new policies and reorganizing our collection. We now urge the Supervisors to open their many emails, read the petitions, answer the calls from the majority and listen to their pleas. We respect that your burden is large one. You were elected to represent a County of over 40,000 people, which includes the Library’s 20,000 cardholders.”
“We are optimistic that this funding matter can be resolved without destroying this Public-Private Partnership that has worked so well and without changing our successful organizational structure as outlined in our Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws,” the statement continued. “We look forward to working collaboratively with the county Board of Supervisors to restore full funding of the library.”
Activists seeking to remove explicit books from the children’s section have launched a website and movement called Clean Up Samuels Library.
The website states, “We demand that Samuels Public Library cease its operations as an unaccountable non-profit organization. Instead, we insist that it be placed under the control of the Board of Supervisors and transformed into a genuinely public library. This action will help reinstate democracy within the bureaucracy and grant ‘We The People’ a voice in the management of THEIR library.”
“Removal of Pornographic Books: We demand the immediate removal, not relocation, of pornographic books from the children’s section of the library. We assert our rights as taxpayers and emphasize that pornography for children should not be funded by public resources. Individuals interested in such materials may acquire them using personal funds,” the website demands.
The group is also advocating for severing ties with the far-left American Library Association and a change in leadership, specifically removal of those who have been defending the explicit children’s books.
The movement has held events where people gather and fill out forms requesting that specific explicit children’s books be removed from the library.
“Through those efforts, fewer than 60 people filed about 700 forms seeking the removal of 141 books — swamping the library’s 20 staffers, who have spent months working through just the first seven requests. Library officials said it had been years since any such requests were filed,” the Post reports.
The Post reports, “At a library meeting Monday night, trustees considered appeals filed against staff decisions to leave two contested books in child or juvenile collections: ‘Prince & Knight’ by Daniel Haack, the story of two men who fight a dragon and then fall in love; and ‘Cheer Up: Love and Pompoms’ by Crystal Frasier, a graphic novel about a lesbian girl and a transgender girl attempting to become cheerleaders.”
Library and county officials are scheduled to meet next week and attempt to come to an agreement.