[Fox News] Nationwide ‘See You at the Library’ event on August 5 already getting pushback: ‘Fire in the hearts’

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FIRST ON FOX — The first national “See You at the Library” book reading event taking place this Saturday, August 5, is already experiencing pushback and dissent. 

Inspired by actor-writer Kirk Cameron, who has spoken at numerous public libraries across the country for the past year — sharing books and stories that are faith-filled, family-focused and firmly patriotic — Americans at 260 libraries across 44 states now have booked rooms at public libraries to conduct readings themselves on Saturday.

Cameron told Fox News Digital in a phone interview this week that it’s all about “passing the baton to the people.”

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Said Cameron, “Conservatives and Christians have complained that they don’t have a seat at the cultural table” in America as of late. 

“Well,” he added, “we have a seat now.”

Parents, grandparents, neighbors, pastors, community leaders and others have booked space for this Saturday’s library event on August 5, publisher Brave Books said. 

A list of senators and other elected officials are supporting the activity — including Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., as well as governors, mayors and commissioners, the publisher reported.

Cameron himself will be traveling to several libraries on Saturday, dropping into book readings as a surprise to story time hosts. 

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Accompanying him, said Brave Books, will be Riley Gaines, the former University of Kentucky swimmer who is now a leading voice in the fight to keep transgender athletes out of women’s sports, as well as other special guests.

Gaines will talk “about the importance of protecting the innocence of children, specifically in sports,” said Brave Books. 

“This is exactly what the progressive groups do. They organize their communities, they assemble all of their activists and they gather in places to push their values and their agenda,” Cameron told Fox News Digital. 

“Well, now it’s our turn,” said Cameron.

“We have the numbers and we have the better ideas — and people are showing that they have the passion and the determination to show up on August 5th.”

Cameron and Brave Books have called on “all families who love God and love America to gather at our local public libraries to pray, sing and read Brave Books and other books of virtue,” the publisher’s website notes. 

“Imagine thousands of local public libraries filled by you, your friends, your pastors, your teachers and your local representatives on this date,” it also says.

Some of the people, however, who have booked time at libraries are already experiencing protest and pushback.

A variety of groups and individuals are issuing “calls to action” on social media, vowing to show up and promote a diverse and entirely different agenda as faith-focused and family-first Americans hold their book readings.

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There are threats of interruptions by drag queen performers and those representing LGBTQI points of view and other alternative beliefs.

One individual on social media called Cameron’s books “a transphobic book series that denies humanity to LGBTQIA+ people and pushes a Christian nationalist view of society. We will not stand for this.”

The person went on, “We are asking our community to NOT interact with these people. We want to show them that our library is for our community. Our community is wonderfully
diverse, and we like it that way. So please show up … Check out a banned book, sit down and read it for however long you are able to present it.”

The American Library Association (ALA) itself has come under fire for controversial messaging during its June 8 virtual session to member libraries when it shared ways to “block” Cameron and others from holding book readings, as Fox News Digital previously reported. One option, an official ALA said, is for libraries to allow room reservations only for local library-card holders on August 5. 

“Another option” for libraries, the official said, is to hold alternative programming on August 5 — thereby making spaces “unavailable for the public.”

As a result of that messaging, three Republican senators on July 28 sent a letter to the American Library Association looking into its “blatant discrimination” concerning the “blocking” of rooms for people interested in holding story events at libraries on August 5. 

The letter said, in part, “The ALA should not be eligible to receive federal funding should an investigation find that the ALA violated the First Amendment rights of Americans.”

The senators’ letter also said, “Over the course of several decades, the ALA has received millions of dollars in taxpayer dollars. Ironically, the ALA has been given federal funds for ‘free community engagement training.’” 

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Fox News Digital reached out multiple times to the ALA for comment. It received a statement via email on Monday, July 31. 

“We do appreciate the opportunity to offer clarification on the issue,” wrote an ALA spokesperson.

“‘Libraries and the First Amendment’ — the presentation in question — has been presented for nearly a decade by the American Library Association (ALA) and discusses the public library’s status as a limited public forum,” the statement said.

It “is a resource that supports library professionals in providing meeting spaces that benefit and allow members of their communities to convene,” the ALA also noted.

It continued, “Throughout the presentation, Director of the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom Deborah Caldwell-Stone references an interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights as it applies to meeting rooms.” 

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It went on, “That guidance specifies that ‘publicly funded libraries are not obligated to provide meeting room space to the public. If libraries choose to do so, such spaces are considered designated public forums, and legal precedent holds that libraries may not exclude any group based on the subject matter to be discussed or the ideas for which the group advocates.’”

In addition, said the ALA in its statement to Fox News Digital, “libraries that create policies regarding meeting room use, such as the possession of a library card to reserve a meeting room, 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 Library Bill of Rights meeting room guidance further elaborates, ‘Libraries do not advocate for or endorse the viewpoints expressed in meetings by meeting room users, just as they do not endorse the viewpoints of works in their collections.’”

The group also said, “ALA has been very clear that, just like all other policies, library policies regarding meeting rooms should not be prejudicial or discriminatory; rather, they 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.’”

Added the ALA, “Any statement or suggestion that ALA has advised otherwise is incorrect and intentionally misleading.” 

Said the ALA as well, “One additional point of clarification: The American Library Association is a non-partisan, nonprofit membership organization that has been in existence since 1876.”

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Cameron told Fox News Digital ahead of Saturday, “There’s something that concerns me more than what might happen on August 5th if I show up at these libraries. And that is what will happen to the future of our country if we don’t show up on August 5th.”

He added, “The world is a scary place. But it’s far scarier to project what will happen if good people don’t show up.”

Said Cameron, citing one of several quotes that are meaningful to him, “Evil is powerless when the good are unafraid.”

Beyond August 5, said Cameron, his hope is that “people will return to the idea that we must have faith in God and be self-governing enough to love our neighbor and do the right thing no matter the cost.”

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He said he hopes that if “August 5th sparks that fire in the hearts of a tireless, irate minority who is committed to doing the right thing and advancing the principles of liberty, then I think that we may see the beginning of a movement that brings America back to her roots. That’s my hope. And my prayer.”

Added Cameron, “We’re confident that good is going to triumph over evil on August 5th. It’s a tangible moment for Americans to see what happens when you put feet to your faith.”

A number of organizations are supporting the August 5 library event, including Moms for Liberty, Moms for America, County Citizens Defending Freedom (CCDF) and others, according to Brave Books. 

Those looking for more information, including a story hour already booked at a nearby library on Saturday, August 5, can visit bravebooks.us/pages/bb-story-hour. 

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