Kimber Glidden – the library director in Boundary County, Idaho – has resigned after religious and political extremists threatened her over LGBTQ books that her libraries don’t even carry.
A local group called Boundary County Library Board Recall targeted Glidden and four of the library board’s five members for removal. The effort began after Glidden updated the county library policy on censoring contested books, stating that libraries will not place materials on “closed shelves” or label items to protect the public from their content.
The group’s main concern is over a “widely circulated lists of books and other media among far-right-wing groups” that they worry will be accessible to kids, The Idaho Statesman reported. But county library officials have repeatedly said that the library doesn’t carry any of the books that the group and its supporters have voiced concern over.
The recall group is also upset that, in May, Glidden had the county rejoin the American Library Association. Right-wingers oppose the association’s advocacy against censorship.
While the group says it aims “to protect children from explicit materials and grooming,” Glidden says it’s more interested in intimidation and control. Grooming, a term for techniques used by sex abusers to coerce a child into being abused and not reporting it, has become a mainstream Republican term for exposing kids to any LGBTQ content. The term paints LGBTQ people and allies as child molesters.
Glidden said her office has been harassed with numerous time- and resource-consuming Freedom of Information Act requests which, if fulfilled, would make it impossible for her to do her job.
She also said that, during public meetings, she has been warned “with fire-and-brimstone language of her imminent damnation.” Conservatives who have signed up to volunteer at county libraries showed up carrying firearms to frighten others, she added. Idaho law allows people to openly carry guns with a permit.
In her public resignation, posted to Facebook, Glidden wrote, “Nothing in my background could have prepared me for the political atmosphere of extremism, militant Christian fundamentalism, intimidation tactics, and threatening behavior currently being employed in the community.”
She said that, because the group and its supporters oppose the county’s anti-censorship policies and keep complaining about books that aren’t even on the shelves, they’re more interested in establishing intimidation and dominance rather than protecting anyone.
Glidden also says she plans on moving elsewhere if the area’s political climate doesn’t change.
Republican politicians, conservative school boards, and so-called “parents’ rights” groups have dramatically escalated attempts to ban “controversial” books from school, according to a recent report from the free-speech organization PEN America.
The bans have largely come from Republican politicians, conservative school boards and so-called “parents’ rights” groups that have opposed such content as “woke” “indoctrination” that’s “inappropriate” for kids.
Moms for Liberty, one of the national conservative groups pushing to ban LGBTQ books, has started pressuring public school libraries across the country to “accept book donations from conservative publishing companies that promote white supremacist, homophobic, and transphobic ideologies,” Vice News reported.