Clovis City Council votes to do nothing with letter about graphic books in libraries

Brianna Willis Image
Wednesday, September 6, 2023
Clovis City Council votes to do nothing with letter about graphic books in libraries
A Pride display leads to controversy in Clovis.

CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Pride display leads to controversy in Clovis as community members voice concerns about children's access to LGBTQ+ books in county libraries while supporters say they're being silenced.

The controversy was fueled by a letter which was addressed by Clovis' City Manager to the Fresno County Board of Supervisors about community concerns.

It was a three-hour-long meeting, with dozens of people speaking out on both sides of the issue.

By the end, the Clovis city council voted not to do anything with the letter - but individual council members could still send their own letters about the books.

Clovis City Council members unanimously voted to do nothing with this proposed letter to the Fresno County Board of Supervisors.

It addresses concerns from Clovis residents about graphic sexual content in books that were displayed in the pride section during the month of June at the Clovis branch of the Fresno County Library.

"The issue itself is not about banning books again. We were looking at anything that is of graphic, sexual content, illustrations of things like that," said Clovis Councilmember Diane Pearce.

This comes after Councilmember Diane Pearce posted this Facebook post saying quote, "might want to wait until June is over to take your kids to the Clovis public library."

Many Clovis and Fresno residents with "ban hate not books signs and 'freedom' signs voiced their concern with the letter - saying it will cause harm to the LGBTQIA+ community and it should be up to parents to make that decision as to what their child should read.

"If you don't want your child to read a book, that's fine, do your parents, but don't let them read it," said Malcolm Gibson, in opposition to the letter.

"If you don't want your kids to read the books, don't let them read it; it's up to you guys," said David Roul, in opposition to the letter.

Others spoke in favor of the letter - calling for the books to be moved to the adult section.

"I think making a stand, to protect children -- and again, I don't care whether they are gay or straight children, I care that its age-appropriate," Eric Rollins, in favor of the letter.

"I support item 20; send the letter to the county. I stand with Diane and her concern regarding the age-inappropriate books," said Dennis McCourt in favor of the letter.

Clovis Mayor Lynne Ashbeck says while they were able to hear people's stories - she believes this item caused more uproar in the community.

"I think we have caused incredible harm on all sides of the issue," said Clovis Mayor Lynne Ashbeck.

Many people who spoke tonight also discussed another way people can voice their opinions about books in the library through the county library complaint database.

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