PRATTVILLE — The battle over LGBTQ+ children’s books at the Prattville-Autauga Public Library continues as opponents read excerpts from the contentious books at a city council meeting.
For over a month, more people have gotten involved in the fight to remove from the library certain LGBTQ+ books deemed inappropriate for children.
In April, 1819 News reported on several mothers expressing concern with LGBTQ+ children's books in the library, available for any child to grab at will.
The mothers took five initial books to the library board, but the board delivered minute changes in classification to three books, a decision that was less than satiating for those who opposed the books.
The parents have addressed the Prattville City Council and Autauga County Commission several times, always with pro-LGBTQ+ advocates showing up to speak in opposition.
On Tuesday evening, the story remained the same. At a meeting of the Prattville City Council, after the council’s regular business concluded, the public was allowed to speak publicly on any issues. The majority of speakers addressed the library ordeal.
One council member, Blair Gornto, left his seat until residents had concluded speaking.
Opponents of the books arrived to read excerpts found in the young adult section. The quotes were so sexually explicit that a Boy Scout troop that attended the meeting left during the readings.
Before the readings, one speaker in support of the books, Angie Hayden, claimed the books were not in the children's section but in the “young adult” section. She also claimed that the excepts are “taken out of context.”
“Young adult” is generally classified as ages 12-18, but some books are listed as old as 13 or 14.
“Every time you hear something scandalous read up here, I want you to imagine me on your shoulder saying, ‘That’s not in the children’s library,'" Hayden said.
One opponent of the books, Audrey Strong, read an excerpt from “Forever” by Judy Bloom, reportedly listed for ages 13 and up.
[Warning: the excerpts from the book are explicit]
The book details several sexual interactions between a high school girl, Katherine, a teenage boy, Michael, and his nicknamed male member, Ralph.
“This time I try to relax and think of nothing- nothing but how my body felt- and then Ralph was pushing against me and I whispered, ‘Are you in…are we doing it?’ ‘Not yet,’ Michael said, pushing harder. ‘I don’t want to hurt you.’ ‘Don’t worry…just do it!’ ‘I’m trying, Kath…but it’s very tight in there.’ ‘What should I do?’ ‘Can you spread your legs some more…and maybe raise them a little?’ ‘Like this?’ ‘That’s better…much better.’
I could feel him halfway inside me and then Michael whispered, ‘Kath….’ ‘What?’
‘I think I’m going to come again.’ I felt a big thrust, followed by a quick sharp pain that made me suck in my breath. ‘Oh…oh,’ Michael cried, but I didn’t come. I wasn’t even close, ‘I’m sorry,’ he said, ‘I couldn’t hold off.’”
The readings received no lack of chuckles from proponents of the books, as opponents also read additional excerpts from other books.
Repeatedly, supporters claimed those opposed to the books were attempting to violate First Amendment rights to free speech by “banning books” and trying to deny the existence of LGBTQ+ individuals.
Opponents of the books retorted that they were not trying to ban any books. Instead, they did not want them available to minors to check out at will.
Despite the fervent debate, the city council made it clear that they would leave decisions on books up to the library board and staff.
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