FAIRHOPE — In the teen section of the Fairhope Public Library, some books address "inherent racism," suicide ideation, LGBT issues and teenage sexuality. Several of these books were prominently displayed in the library for Pride Month.

Now, several parents against teens having access to these topics are taking action to ensure no one can check out the titles.

Zach Miller, a father of four teens, recently checked out 25 books that he believes are inappropriate for teens. Some of the titles are “The Lesbiana's Guide to Catholic School,” “Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out,” “We Contain Multitudes,” “This One Summer,” and “We Deserve Monuments.”

Miller said he checked out the books to shield other teens from being exposed to inappropriate material. He told 1819 News he believed it was time for those with Christian values to take a stand.

“As Christians, we’re going to have to start thinking differently,” Miller said. “We’re going to have to start thinking strategically. And we have to stop just talking. We have to be active.”

Miller said he was aware most concerned parents would see what he is doing and pause. But he said he doesn’t expect them to do much about it. That’s why he is rallying for parents to take action.

“Most people will see this and say, ‘Whoa!’ but then go about their day,” he said. “Anybody who wants to tear down Western, Christian culture and all that includes, we have to start thinking like them. They are incredibly strategic. They are insidious and they infiltrate our institutions.”

The fight is not over for Miller. He said he would continue to ask questions about how books are selected for sections of the library and how decisions are made about displays in the library.

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The creator of the Facebook group “Keep Fairhope Family Friendly,” Brian Dasinger, agrees with Miller. He is encouraging other parents to find books they feel are inappropriate and check them out.

"We, at 'Keep Fairhope Family Friendly' are greatly disturbed to find a multitude of books discussing things such as homosexuality, transsexualism and other perverse and distorted ideals that are geared toward our local youth and can be found on prominent display in the Fairhope Public Library ‘teen’ section,” Dasinger said. “We believe that ALL books that oppose the traditional Biblical views of sex and marriage should be kept as far away from our children as possible! I personally have six children in their teenage years and have firsthand knowledge of how impressionable their minds are in this stage. They must be guarded and protected at all costs. We also reject the notion that ‘God is love’ as so many in our society want to make you believe. God does love all of his creations but he also hates sin with a passion, no matter which sin that is. We believe that God wants us to fight to maintain a moral community for our future generations."

Fairhope Public Library Director Tamara Dean confirmed the books in the photo are in the teen section at the library. However, she said the library places books based on the Library of Congress. When asked if books with pornographic material could be found in the teen section, Dean noted the library workers do not make that call.

“We assign it wherever the Library of Congress designates it for in their records,” Dean said. “So, that’s where our books are. And so, we don’t really press judgment on where we put our books. We put them where the Library of Congress has designated them in the cataloging system.

We are not biased one way or the other, we’re neutral. Our vision and our mission is to provide information resources for everybody in the community. So, there may be books in our collection that offend someone – not meant to but possibly, with all the different opinions we have and values.”

Dean said she and the Board of Trustees stand behind the American Library Association's “Freedom to Read Statement,” which states in part, “Most attempts at suppression rest on a denial of the fundamental premise of democracy: that the ordinary individual, by exercising critical judgment, will select the good and reject the bad. We trust Americans to recognize propaganda and misinformation, and to make their own decisions about what they read and believe. We do not believe they are prepared to sacrifice their heritage of a free press in order to be ‘protected’ against what others think may be bad for them. We believe they still favor free enterprise in ideas and expression.”

Dean said library leaders also stand behind the Library Bill of Rights. Both can be read below.

Freedom to Read Statement by Erica Thomas on Scribd

Library Bill of Rights ALA by Erica Thomas on Scribd

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email erica.thomas@1819news.com.

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