Campbell County library board votes to keep three more challenged books in teen section

GILLETTE — The Campbell County Public Library board voted Monday night to keep three more challenged books in the teen section.

Kevin Bennett had challenged three books that showed different aspects of “social engineering and social marxism.”

Monday, he was appealing the library’s decision to keep those books in the teen section.

All three times, the library voted to reject his appeal, with board member Mandy Steward being the lone vote in support of Bennett’s appeal.

That brings the total number of challenged books that have made it to the library board to eight. All eight will remain in their original sections. 

The last library board meeting ended abruptly while Bennett was in the middle of his presentation of “The Babysitters Coven,” by Kate Williams.

The book is about “a coven of witchy babysitters who realize their calling to protect the innocent and save the world from an onslaught of evil,” according to the publisher’s website.

The book encourages readers to dabble in the occult, Bennett said, portraying it as “mysterious and desirable.”

Bennett said he doesn’t believe that something is inherently wrong just because it has magic, but “there are some things that are subversive,” and that is exactly what is going on in this book.

While series such as “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Chronicles of Narnia” feature magic, they “don’t feature it in a way like this book does.”

The protagonist is a “white goth chick,” he said, while other characters are “people of color” who are portrayed as cool, so it “romanticizes a different culture” than Gillette, where “we don’t tan very well.”

It can create “cognitive dissonance” in white readers and will make them hate themselves, he added.

Additionally, the book has a character who abducts girls but turns out to be a good guy, which is grooming, Bennett said. Plus, the book encourages underage drinking, he said, pointing out a character who brings up beer pong once.

Board member Miranda Finn said she’s read the entire trilogy and that there is no underage drinking in any of the books. Bennett said that because the character who suggested beer pong doesn’t face any negative consequences, this means the book approves of teen drinking and could lead readers down that path.

“A Quick Easy Guide to Queer & Trans Identities” by Mandy G. and Jules Zuckerberg, covers topics such as relationships, sexuality and gender identity through interviews, comics and worksheets. According to the publisher’s website, it is “a great starting point for anyone curious about queer and trans life, and helpful for those already on their own journeys.”

Bennett called it “scientific propaganda” meant to brainwash children and encourage gender dysphoria, and that because it features a talking cartoon snail, it “seems to cater to children even younger than 13.”

The information presented in the book goes against the scientific data that is out there on sexuality, Bennett said, and it is dangerous to young readers.

“This is something that will influence them and direct them down a pathway that’s avoidable and unnecessary,” he said, adding that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice that isn’t appropriate for teens.

“They need to be adults before they make these kinds of decisions,” he said.

“Music From Another World,” by Robin Talley, is a historical fiction book about a closeted lesbian in the 1970s who writes secret letters in her diary to gay civil rights activist Harvey Milk.

Bennett said this book “grooms teenagers and specifically insults Christian values,” and its cover features two women hugging “in a way that's not appropriate for minors.” He added that “if it weren't illustrated this (cover) would fall under the definition of pornography.”

The book portrays Milk as a hero, Bennett said, adding that Milk was a “pedophile who was involved in statutory rape.” He was referring to Milk’s relationship with Jack Galen McKinley, 16, when Milk was in his 30s.

“Why are we teaching young girls with sexual hangups to look up to a historically gay rapist?” Bennett asked.

“Milk’s primary platform was an attack on Judeo-Christian ideology for the sake of the gay movement. That’s an attack on the majority of this community,” he said.

About two dozen people attended the meeting.