Public comment suspended amid Wyoming library book furor
GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) — Commissioners of a Wyoming county have suspended all in-person public comment at their meetings amid a furor over library books involving sex and LGBTQ issues.
Campbell County commissioners in recent months have heard hours of public comment about the books in the teen and children’s sections of the county library in Gillette.
Starting with a meeting Tuesday, they suspended public comment at meetings, saying they would still accept letters, emails and phone calls, the Gillette News Record reported.
Public comments have “devolved into a session of bullying and threatening our board of commissioners, the library board and library staff,” Commissioner D.G. Reardon said at the meeting.
Library officials need time to complete their process for reviewing contested books, commission Chairman Bob Maul said.
Meanwhile, prosecutors continue to consider possible criminal charges against library officials for making certain books accessible to juveniles after a couple brought five books to the attention of law enforcement.
The books are “This Book is Gay” by Juno Dawson, “How Do You Make a Baby” by Anna Fiske, “Doing It” by Hannah Witton, “Sex is a Funny Word” by Cory Silverberg, and “Dating and Sex: A Guide for the 21st Century Teen Boy” by Andrew P. Smiler.
Campbell County Attorney Mitchell Damsky has requested a second opinion from Michael Stulken, his counterpart in neighboring Weston County, before announcing if he will pursue a case.
It’s not clear who specifically could be held legally responsible. Library officials have been trying to be a “force of reason” and following their policies for reviewing contested books, library Executive Director Terri Lesley has said.
Some local residents objected to not being able to speak Tuesday.
“Tyranny. Tyranny. That’s what this is,” local pastor Scott Clem said.