Controversy erupts in the Campbell County Public Library



RAPID CITY, SD (KEVN) – Book challenges in schools, bookstores, and libraries have been around for centuries, leading to the annual Forbidden Books Week event.

But instead of celebrating freedom of reading, some Gilette, Wyoming parishioners are challenging the Campbell County Public Library for their opinion of “inappropriate” books.

“We have received 35 forms since then, so it’s a lot, it’s actually very unusual for a public library to receive so many challenges in a short amount of time,” said Terri Lesley, general manager of Campbell County Public Library.

Concern began when some members of the public denounced books on LGBTQ + topics. But now the controversy has broadened, with some disapproving of books on sex education, fantasy novels for teenagers, and even some children’s books.

A provincial commissioner listens to those who have been angry about the library material and says the issue requires government attention.

“There are certain standards that I think we have to meet as adults, we have an obligation, not just as parents, but I think the government has a duty to say we are not going to get rid of these books, but we are me will do it so that a parent must allow you to read this book, ”said Del Shelstad, Campbell County Commissioner.

Of the 35 forms received, 16 letters were sent. Only one was challenged.

As a result of this public campaign, Shelstad challenges the public library, saying that he would prefer to cut the library’s funds due to the controversial content rather than increase funds to solve the problem.

“If they needed more staff to go through these many book challenges, they could come to the commissioners and ask for more money in their budget to do that, and I said I didn’t agree with my saying come on don’t ask me for that money because you weren’t ready to solve this problem and I said I absolutely wouldn’t fund it, I would even be in favor of cutting your funding, ”Shelstad said.

“Usually we stand there with the explanation that we have a balanced collection and that we can’t take sides, that we want the book there, and that customers can make their own choices,” said Lesley.

The Campbell County public, however, has chosen one side. “This has been a very divisive issue in our ward,” Shelstad said.

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