The Trussville Public Library Board meeting Monday night was packed with over 100 people wishing to speak out about books in the children and teen sections that have caused quite a stir over content some call "sexually explicit" and "inappropriate."

Read Freely Alabama organized a group to speak to board members during the March meeting to support keeping the books on shelves. People showed up with posters and signs reading, "Free People, Read Freely," and "Don't take my freedom."

Those speaking wanted a chance to respond to several community members who addressed the board in February asking for the books to be removed from the library.

The local newspaper, The Trussville Tribune, covered the meeting on Monday.

"I did four deployments overseas into combat zones where I was sent to defend freedom," said Matt Georgia, a U.S. Marine veteran. "I did not think I would have to come back to America and continue to defend that freedom so that our children could read what they want to read. We as parents can decide what is appropriate or inappropriate for our children without input from the community."

For half an hour, the library board heard from Trussville residents with similar concerns.

Library Director Jason Baker explained during the meeting what led to the controversy in Trussville. He said 41 books were first brought to his attention in December after three people voiced concerns.

Library board president Debbie Waid said the 41 books were reviewed, and the board made an exception to rules to address them in a timely manner. Of those books, 11 were removed from circulation because they did not meet the criteria due to low circulation numbers.

Of the remaining books, 18 will eventually be moved to a new section of the library for mature teens or mature young adult content, seven will be moved to the adult section of the library, and five will remain where they were.

"Of the five items not moved, three were in the parenting section, one was already in the adult section, and one PG-13 movie was left in the teen section," Waid told 1819 News.

Baker will take on the task of finding a place within the adult section of the library to place mature teen books.

"Our teen department is not large enough to separate young teen and mature teen content," Waid explained during the meeting. "We did not want young teens to come across these mature subject matters and felt they should be moved into another area."

Still, Waid said materials in the library may not be restricted from those with free choice due to content.

"You are free to select or reject materials for yourself or your minor children but may not restrict the freedom of others to use or access materials or information," she said.

Following the meeting, those asking for the books to be removed told The Trussville Tribune they felt they were not given time to express their concerns during Monday's meeting.

"It was lopsided and I didn't think that our people had an opportunity to voice their concerns," said Sheila Wright, one of the first to ask for books to be reviewed. "This was not just about gender ideology and LGBTQ. We were concerned about explicit sexual activity, excessive profanity, bestiality, promoting underage drinking. What we're saying is this is vulgar filth that's in some of these books and we want them removed."

Wright and others across Alabama are concerned about language, explicit sexual material, including rape and detailed descriptions of rape and sex trafficking of children, details of molestation and profanity. Those concerns are recorded at

However, Waid said the library board must follow the law.

"We have researched the applicable law concerning freedom of speech and First Amendment rights," Waid continued. "And like it or not, we must conform to current laws which restrict removing books for content. Therefore, we stand by our decisions."

The review process for books begins with a form that is filled out and sent to library management.

"That's a very different level of maturity and most of the stuff that, you know, you see get brought up in that for teens is coming-of-age fiction," Baker told The Trussville Tribune. "Different people have different experiences there in different thresholds and so, you know, the board is, as ever, cognizant of that and wants to be sure that we create that separation from lower teen and, you know, upper teen fiction."

Newly appointed Alabama Public Library Service (APLS) member Amy Minton explained in February that she does not believe so-called "book banning" is the answer. While she has been a critic of inappropriate children's books, she said the APLS committee will not call for a ban.

"I am opposed to 'banning books," she said. "I understand the history of book bans. I fully support First Amendment rights. If books are available to order online and at the local retail stores, they are not 'banned books' just because they are not shelved in a school or public library at taxpayer expense as there are around 1 million books published each year. It would be impossible to have every book in our public and school libraries."

Children 15 years of age and younger have library cards that are connected to their parent or guardian's library card, so they can view what books have been checked out.

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Chris Basinger contributed to this report.

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