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Kirk Cameron demands the government investigate anti-Christian bias in library organization

Kirk Cameron
Kirk Cameron Photo: Screenshot

Kirk Cameron wants the federal government to investigate the American Library Association (ALA) for allegedly attempting to “sabotage” an upcoming nationwide event sponsored by his conservative Christian publisher.

According to the Christian Post, Texas-based First Liberty Institute has sent a letter to the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services on behalf of Cameron and Brave Books requesting that the agency “open an investigation into whether the American Library Association has violated federal law protecting religious liberty and failed to comply with the assurances of nondiscrimination required as a federal grant recipient.”

The request comes in response to a recording from a June 8 ALA presentation on “Libraries and the First Amendment” during the Library 2.023 Worldwide Virtual Conference. In the clip, posted to Brave Books’ official Twitter account on June 26, Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom, noted that librarians across the country are increasingly seeing conservative groups trying to “censor LGBTQIA materials or disparage or silence LGBTQIA library users.” Caldwell-Stone cited Cameron and Brave Books’ upcoming “See You at the Library” event as an example of such groups attempting to “exploit the open nature of a public library to advance their agendas.”

Brave Books describes “See You at the Library” as a “grassroots-organized” campaign, encouraging conservative Christians across the country to book spaces at their local libraries on August 5 to host children’s story time events “as an alternative to controversial children’s drag queen events.”

In the Library 2.023 Worldwide Virtual Conference clip, Caldwell-Stone discussed ways librarians can “use that public forum doctrine to construct policies and procedures that will help you keep control of the library.” She noted that the First Amendment does not require public libraries to offer meeting room spaces to members of the public but conceded that many libraries do want to make those spaces available to their communities. She went on to detail options that allow librarians to “keep control” of their libraries, including requiring a library card to reserve a meeting room and prioritizing library-sponsored events.

In a tweet, Brave Books characterized Calwell-Stone’s guidance as advising librarians on how to “exploit loopholes to block BRAVE Books story hours.

“The taxpayer-funded American Library Association is not only criticizing me, they are teaching libraries to break the law and conspiring to prevent thousands of families from visiting their own community reading rooms,” Cameron told the Christian Post.

But an ALA spokesperson told the outlet that Caldwell-Stone’s presentation on Libraries and the First Amendment has been presented for nearly a decade and “references an interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights as it applies to meeting rooms.”

“Libraries that create policies regarding meeting room use… must apply them to all persons and groups equally to ensure that spaces are equitably reserved for members of the community served by the library,” the spokesperson said, adding that library policies regarding access to meeting rooms “must be inclusive and follow a reasonable content and viewpoint policy that benefits all members, as well as ‘user behavior policies that protect library users and staff from harassment, while maintaining their historic support for the freedom of speech. Any statement or suggestion that ALA has advised otherwise is incorrect and intentionally misleading.”

This is hardly Cameron’s first dust-up with libraries. Last December, the former Growing Pains star and brother of Candace Cameron Bure claimed that more than 50 public libraries across the U.S. had told Brave Books that they were not interested in hosting events promoting his recently published Christian children’s book. According to The Gazette, following media coverage of Cameron’s claims, many libraries reversed their decisions and the actor embarked on a national tour. The actor, who has described homosexuality as “unnatural,” framed the tour as part of his fight to “take back the hearts and minds of our children” from “the storm of wokeism that appears to be sweeping the nation and sucking their children into its vortex.”

After one stop in Tennessee, Cameron and several other right-wing celebrities accused the Hendersonville Public Library of being rude and unwelcoming to them. Their accusations led to the library’s director being fired in March.

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