Effort to ban sex ed book causes donation worries

2 months ago Fremont Tribune

The attempt to have the book “Sex is a Funny Word” removed from the Keene Memorial Library raised concerns among city and library officials about the effect of the situation on library fundraising, according to emails obtained by the Fremont Tribune.

As part of ongoing news coverage of the attempt by local grandmother Sandra Murray, the Fremont Tribune made a wide-ranging public records request to the City of Fremont seeking emails and other communications about the book banning effort between city and library officials.

In response to the request, city officials provided the Tribune with dozens of pages of documents which detail various aspects of the response to the book controversy, including how to address questions from the public and media; worries about the impact of the issue on fundraising and one past attempt to have another book banned in 2021.

Issue causes consternation over library donationsOne area of concern about the book controversy revealed in the records reviewed by the Tribune was the concern from many about the potential for a negative impact on library fundraising.

The Keene Memorial Library is in the early stages of a massive expansion project, and the groundbreaking for the construction was hosted on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022. That expansion project is being partly funded by donations from the public.

In an email three days after Murray’s first complaint at the Dec. 27 city council meeting, Keene Memorial Library advisory Board President Linda McClain wrote to Cara Taback and Robyn Stein, two library researchers who were working on an article for Public Libraries Magazine.

McClain told the duo that she and library Director Laura England-Biggs had raised nearly $4 million for the library expansion project.

“I don’t know what the future holds in regard to this recent (book) challenge. Am I looking forward to it? No,” McClain wrote. “I hate that this issue will take away from all of the momentum and positive energy we’ve created around our library recently.”

In a telephone interview on Jan. 25, Murray said she believes many donors to the library expansion project are unaware of what she calls sexually explicit and inappropriate adult and LGBTQ+ books available in the library. Murray said donors need to be aware of what they are giving money to.

“Our biggest thing is we want the community to realize what is in their library. Especially the people who donate to (the library) and do not realize what they are donating to,” Murray said. “They are big donors. The library wants to sexualize children. I just don’t think (the books) should be in the library.”

England-Biggs said in a Jan. 26 telephone interview that she was not aware Murray was attempting to affect potential library donors with information about the books she disapproves of, but noted fundraising is always a concern.

“I am worried about fundraising all of the time, I don’t know if I am worried about this (book issue) affecting it,” she said, adding that she had no comment on Murray trying to sway donors away from funding the library.

Relocation of sex ed books did not follow library policy

One revelation from the email messages obtained the public record request was the admission by England-Biggs to city officials that the relocation of seven common sexual education books on Dec. 28 did not follow the library’s own policies.

The relocation of the seven sex education books, which included “Sex is a Funny Word” and six other tomes, came the morning of Dec. 28 after Fremont Mayor Joey Spellerberg, City Administrator Jody Sanders and McClain visited the library and met with England-Biggs about the books Murray and her daughter complained about on Dec. 27.

England-Biggs said the move was done without an official records relocation request, which is library policy.

“There is no process to circumvent the policy. It was just a mutual decision,” England-Biggs said. “(The relocation) came up in discussion as a potential solution to (Murray’s complaints). (The policy) is a request for reconsidering. The request can be for removal, it can be for relocation, it can be for reclassification … it can be for a number of outcomes.”

At first, England-Biggs said she was not “ordered” to move the books by Spellerberg or Sanders, and merely described the move as a “mutual decision.”

However, in a Jan. 18 interview with the Tribune, England-Biggs changed her answer, stating the relocation of the seven sexual education books was designed to give parents more security and assurances that sexually explicit content would not be accessible to children.

In a Jan. 18 email after the interview, England-Biggs wrote to Spellerberg, Sanders and McClain referring to the interview she did with the Tribune earlier that day. England-Biggs apologized for revealing a different reason for the relocation than the group had agreed on.

“(The Tribune) asked me why we moved the books to the adult section, officially,” England-Biggs wrote to the trio. “I forgot the code of, ‘we came to a mutual decision,’ and explained that I thought it was to give parents more control over selection of the books. Sorry, I wish I had done better.”

On Jan. 26, England-Biggs clarified the email – claiming the she misspoke in her interview on Jan. 18 and did not mean to make a misleading inference that Spellerberg, Sanders and McClain felt the way she described. She also said her Jan. 18 email to the trio was not what it seemed.

“We left (the relocation of sex education books) as a group decision. What I gave (the Tribune) was my reason, it was not discussed (by Spellerberg, Sanders and McClain),” England-Biggs said on Jan. 26.

Library board member sought to ban birthing book in 2021

According to England-Biggs, Murray’s request to ban a book is the third such attempt in her 17 years as an employee at the Keene Memorial Library.

England-Biggs said the two other books sought to be banned in the past were, “My Mom’s Having a Baby,” and “How to Get Married, by Me, the Bride.” Library officials ruled in both instances to reject the request to remove the books and kept them in the library. The book “How to Get Married, by Me, the Bride,” is no longer on library shelves, she noted, because of a lack of interest from readers.

The request to ban the book “My Mom’s Having a Baby,” originated from Keene Memorial Library Board Member LeAnn Rathke in October 2021.

In her complaint, Rathke wrote, “Not age appropriate. Looks like a children’s book, but includes nudity, sex act(s) and explicit details of sex unsuitable for the age of children who may check it out. Could be used to groom children for sex details before they are ready.”

In the rejection of Rathke’s request, England-Biggs wrote that the book had been checked out 21 times in the 15 years it had been in the library.

“The book does indeed resemble a picture book; due to its content, we have chosen to house it in the juvenile nonfiction collection,” she wrote. “I hear your concern about the ages recommended for this material. There are families who want or need to have this conversation with their children; and who want a factual book with answers to questions. At this time, the library will retain the book.”

Murray files appeal

Murray said on Jan. 26 she officially filed an appeal of England-Bigg’s decision to retain the book “Sex is a Funny Word” with the library board, seeking to overturn England-Biggs decision to keep the book.

She also said she disagrees with the policy on contested materials that any decision by the library board on appeals is final.

In a Jan. 26 interview, Murray said her belief is that the Fremont City Council is the final authority on library books and policy, not the volunteer-comprised library board.

The next meeting of the city’s library advisory board is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 20. With Murray’s appeal filed, the library board is required to read the book in question and then would place an item about the appeal on a meeting agenda. Then, the board would discuss the appeal and vote on whether to keep the book or remove it. Any library board decision is final.











* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy. Jeff Forward

Your notification has been saved.

There was a problem saving your notification.


Email notifications are only sent once a day, and only if there are new matching items.

Manage followed notifications
Read On "Fremont Tribune"
More News On "Fremont Tribune"
28 days ago - Alameda County landlords owed thousands in rent, call for an end to eviction moratorium 28 days ago - Monday Feb. 27 COVID-19 update: 4 deaths in Douglas County 28 days ago - State basketball preview: 6A, 5A tournaments return to Weber State’s Dee Events Center this week 28 days ago - One Wealth Advisors LLC invests in Enovix Co. (NASDAQ:ENVX) 28 days ago - Uncommon length makes Pleasant Valley’s 2-3 a no-scoring zone 28 days ago - Study: Back-to-back hurricanes likely to come more often 28 days ago - What’s Happening Vegas? – March 2023 28 days ago - Osceola County community events calendar for 03/01/2023 28 days ago - North Adams, East Clinton, Unioto still alive 28 days ago - North Korea holds rare meeting on farming amid food shortage 28 days ago - 'Dilbert,' Scott Adams lose distributor over racist remarks 28 days ago - Soap or phone call? Colo. lawmakers want to make prison phone calls free 28 days ago - EXPLAINER: Windstorm was likely a derecho. What is that? 28 days ago - What's Happening in Las Vegas for this Year's March Madness 28 days ago - Outsmarting humans just one step for AI video game players 28 days ago - 'Cocaine Bear' gets high with $23.1M, 'Ant-Man' sinks fast 28 days ago - 'Everything Everywhere All at Once' dominates at SAG Awards 28 days ago - Digital Transformation: The Revolutionary Impact of Technology in Africa 28 days ago - ShotSpotter (NASDAQ:SSTI) Price Target Increased to $44.00 by Analysts at Lake Street Capital 28 days ago - Season 3 of Outer Banks disappoints critics; watch only if you were a die-hard fan of earlier seasons, they suggest 29 days ago - Board Game and Card Game Market Size in 2023 with [ STATISTICS FIGURES] Future Development Status and Forecast up to 2029 29 days ago - Tabletop Gaming Market Size in 2023 NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT and Latest Innovation in Analytics Sector till 2029 29 days ago - Celona Offers Most Comprehensive Private 5G Solutions for U.S. and Foreign Markets 29 days ago - ShotSpotter, Inc. (NASDAQ:SSTI) to Post Q1 2023 Earnings of ($0.03) Per Share, Northland Capmk Forecasts 29 days ago - Asian shares track Wall Street decline on hot economic data 29 days ago - Final Nebraska high school swimming and diving season leaders 29 days ago - Girls BB: Saluting Section Champions 29 days ago - Tens of thousands protest Mexico electoral reforms 29 days ago - Third finals appearance the charm for Hortonville's Skebba; Stoffel makes history for Appleton North 29 days ago - Medical Blades Market Business Opportunities, Top Players and Forecast 2030 29 days ago - Central College Dutch Sports Update – 2/26/2023 29 days ago - Buhro takes individual crown as Oak Harbor earns sectional championship 1 month ago - Nebraska conservatives set sights on education takeover – Associated Press 1 month ago - Back-to-back: Minico successfully defends 4A state wrestling championship 1 month ago - Here are Saturday's high school sports results 1 month ago - Farewell, Fontana: NASCAR's last weekend at a racing gem 1 month ago - Kansas Democrats pick Repass as their new chair despite campaign baggage 1 month ago - Tesla’s Global Engineering HQ in Palo Alto — Opening Party Highlights (Pics, Videos, Quotes) 1 month ago - San Ann'as Pizza and Mexican celebrating 45th anniversary 1 month ago - L.A. on the Record: The Senate takes one more look at Garcetti 1 month ago - Dodge County real estate transfers 1 month ago - How UNL instructors are tackling the emergence of ChatGPT and other AI in higher education 1 month ago - Some Democratic-led states seek to bolster voter protections 1 month ago - Casey Vaughan: Only rain should go down a storm drain 1 month ago - Nebraska conservatives set sights on education takeover 1 month ago - West Michigan Conference basketball: Girls and boys roundup from Feb. 24, 2023 – CatchMark Sports 1 month ago - Jeff Yost: Look Upstream 1 month ago - Brokers Set Expectations for ShotSpotter, Inc.'s Q4 2023 Earnings (NASDAQ:SSTI) 1 month ago - Building affordable homes in Fremont 1 month ago - Local chef to open farm-to-table eatery in Fremont 1 month ago - Jeanna Wilcoxen Murder: Where Is Jeremiah Connelly Now? 1 month ago - More than 70 soldiers killed in Burkina Faso, extremists say 1 month ago - Clyde Council to consider citizens raising chickens in town 1 month ago - Wilhelm: More on Jacksons, Willow Hill and efforts to share insight into African American history 1 month ago - STATE HIGH SCHOOL WRESTLING TOURNAMENTS: Crowded at the top ... Trojans third, but well within striking distance in 5A tournament 1 month ago - Bulldog wrestlers have solid day at state 1 month ago - High school boys basketball: 6A/5A second round recap 1 month ago - Head-To-Head Analysis: Amprius Technologies (NYSE:AMPX) & Novanta (NASDAQ:NOVT) 1 month ago - Here are Friday's high school sports results 1 month ago - It’s Official: California Will Be Tesla’s Engineering & AI Headquarters
free geoip