In the wake of mounting controversy over highly sexualized and extremely graphic books available to children in Mat-Su school libraries, the district is now on the cusp of assembling a parent-heavy book review committee to determine which titles are unfit for children. More than 300 people applied to sit on the committee, and the district will soon conduct a lottery to select seven parents, two librarians, two educators and two school board members to serve on the 13-member body.

Some librarians, however, are upset by the idea of empowering parents with the ability to vet controversial library books.

Houston High Librarian Janelle Maki

Janelle Maki, a longtime librarian at Houston High School, has been working to mobilize fellow librarians in an attempt to stack the new committee with those who oppose vetting controversial books.

Last week, during school hours, Maki sent a mass email to librarians across the school district urging any who “care about protecting the right to read” to apply for the committee as soon as possible.

“Your voice and student voices matter!” she emphasized. “I heard it from a good source yesterday that there are over 300 applicants that have applied.”

Maki attached a document from the Alaska Library Association, which criticizes the Mat-Su’s decision to assemble a library book review committee.

“This policy will allow a small group of people to make decisions for the district as a whole,” the library association’s document states. It then calls into question the main purpose of the committee, which is to determine whether certain books are in violation of Alaska statute against providing sexual material to minors.

“A book’s literary or educational value cannot be determined based solely on whether it contains materials that are ‘indecent’ per Alaska Statute 11.61.128,” the Alaska Library Association document claims. “However, the district has listed this as the only criteria that will be considered.”

With numerous parents requesting the district to publish the titles of books that are being formally challenged, the district released a list of all 56 controversial titles on April 24.

The association’s pamphlet then coaches educators on how to publicly undermine the review committee at the next Mat-Su School Board meeting, May 3.

On April 24, the school district posted an update on the library book committee. It notes that a “randomized lottery” will take place to determine who serves on the committee.

With numerous parents requesting the district to publish the titles of books that are being formally challenged, the district released a list of all 56 controversial titles. This list includes fiction and nonfiction books containing detailed descriptions of masturbation, anal and oral sex, sex toys, pole dancing scenes, sex parties, dominatrix, foul language, descriptions of graphic and violent rape, gay teen sex encounters, gender transitioning characters and much more.

The controversial books largely appear in various middle and high schools throughout the Mat-Su, with the most challenged titles coming from Valley Pathways, Career and Technical High, Wasilla High, Mat-Su Central, Burchell High, Palmer High, Su-Valley Jr./Sr. High and Glacier View.

There are, however, some controversial titles in elementary schools as well. “It’s Perfectly Normal,” by Robin Harris, is one such book located at Talkeetna Elementary School. It encourages children to masturbate, praises “heavy petting” and “making out,” and discusses heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual sex. It also mentions abortion as an option for “ending a pregnancy.”

The book dismisses religious objections to masturbation, stating that “some religions call masturbation a sin. But masturbating cannot hurt you. Masturbating is perfectly normal.” It then provides detailed instructions on how readers can engage in the practice with pillows or other items.

“When the penis is touched and rubbed, a males body feels good both outside and inside – kind of tingly, kind of warm and nice,” the books states. “It feels sexy.” Female masturbation is described in similar terms.

Throughout the book, there are drawings of naked teens touching and arousing themselves, and depictions of adults engaged in sexual intercourse. Talkeetna Elementary includes children from pre-K through fifth grade.


— The next Mat-Su School Board meeting is on May 3. Click here for details on how to participate.

— Click here to contact school board members.

— Click here to read reviews of some of the most controversial school library books across the nation.

— Click here to look up books that are available in Mat-Su school libraries.

— Click here to contact Mat-Su School District Superintendent Randy Trani

Click here to support Alaska Watchman reporting.

Librarians plot to undermine Mat-Su’s school library book review committee

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


  • Friend of Humanity says:

    Maki is using school time to advance a political agenda? I think that is an inappropriate use of her paid time. If she wants to push a political agenda, that needs to be done on her own time and not while being paid by the school district. So, this blind lottery for the positions of this review committee will not show applicants? If we are putting together a committee that will be fair in their judgement, will this really happen since Maki called out to all of her fellow librarians and who-knows-who-else to try and stack the committee. Is this already going to be a joke of a committee? Should Maki be advancing her political agenda while she is on the clock? What do you think people?

    • Elizabeth Henry says:

      Agree. She also is spreading false information about the responsibilities of the new committee.

    • Friend of Humanity says:

      Joel, thank you for the link to Superintendent Randy Trani’s page to contact him! Please Mat-Su Borough People – contact or email Superintendent Trani about Maki’s improper use of school districts funds to further a political agenda. I do not agree to have my school tax dollars being used against my beliefs in this fashion!

    • Steven Chappell says:

      She should be FIRED. You want to drive a political narrative when you are being paid by the Tax Payer you should be removed.

  • S says:

    Nothing about that lottery will be random. Mat Su is about to be the New Anchorage.

  • Elizabeth Henry says:

    It seems Maki is peddling false information to pursuance fellow librarians to her side. If I recall this review board would be advisory. They will not be making any final decisions. Alas though for the education industry it is about power, control and money. Hence what is a little lying if it gets you what you want?

  • Neil A DeWitt says:

    As I remember history we are at that critical tipping point. Rome during their time in power did tge same thing and it caused them to fall. We’re in that same boat. So the old saying “History Repeats Itself” is coming true. I look at all the people in prison for having child porn in their houses. What’s the difference? Your saying it’s ok for schools to have porn in schools but someone can’t have it in their homes. Masterbation, sex, book, toys etc, it’s all ok as long as your in a school house. I think not. Your wrong and I say these librarians and school boards all need to be head accountable. If you allow this garbage in schools and libraries are you going to open prison doors and let those imprisoned of sex crimes out? Mat-Su Bourgh Assembly better pull their heads out and really think this one through.

  • Sheri says:

    The first amendment gives people the right to publish and speak without suppression from the government. Banning books violates people’s right to free speech. According to, “the First Amendment has been interpreted widely to protect individuals and society from government attempts to suppress ideas and information and to forbid government censorship of books, magazines, and newspapers as well as art, film, music, and materials on the internet.”

    People are wasting their time by banning books. It is not the way to protect children from the world. According to, “A 2022 poll found 71% disagreed with efforts to have books removed.” Banning books is doing more harm than good. Who will protect people’s freedoms if the Government will not?

    • North to Alaska says:


    • Friend of Humanity says:

      I do not consider this “banning books” if we are wanting books that teach sex and self-pleasure to be kept out of our children’s libraries and schools. Pornography is pornography…period. Groomers, on the other hand, need to be BANNED from working in the Mat-Su Borough School District!

    • Steven Chappell says:

      You want your children reading this garbage then so be it, but I will not let my grandson be groomed by your sick demented mind. Don’t like leave the state and go to Commiefornia.

    • AK RN says:

      Actually, per a Supreme Court ruling, distribution of pornographic and sexually explicit material to minors is not protected under the first amendment and per Alaska State law, is illegal. Even our very progressive school district lawyer has advised the school board that the law is indeed being broken by making such materials available to children in our school libraries.

      • Friend of Humanity says:

        AK RN, do you know then if the school district is taking any action? This would be good if there is already legal advisory telling them that this is against the law!

    • Sally Duncan says:

      Get real. Who will protect our kids if the parents, grandparents don’t. Certainly not you!

    • Larry Wood says:

      You ignore the fact that the books are not being ‘banned’, they will still be available from Amazon and in the public library, I’m sure.
      Good grief.

  • StopTheMadnesz says:

    Ever done any research into why we don’t have Playboy on display in the checkout aisles of our grocery stores? Keeping graphic sexual images and language away from children is not synonymous with restricting free speech or “banning” books.

    Why do we have ratings on movies? Do we believe that some subjects and images are not appropriate for young audiences? Just because a book exists does mean that children should have access to it.

    Some school libraries have banned the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder on the charge that they’re racist. If school libraries can ban books because someone thinks they’re racist, why can’t parents request school libraries to remove books that contain graphic sexual content? Is it because society believes kids should never objectify or demean another human person unless it’s for sexual gratification? (I.e., we can’t risk a child learning a racist attitude from a book, but we must allow him to learn how to objectify himself and others through a barrage of graphic sexual material)

    Seriously, who’s “freedom” is at risk here?

  • Toscano says:

    Books that would NOT be on the woke librarians’ right to read: The Holy Bible, Huckleberry Finn, To Kill a Mockingbird, Gone With The Wind, The Law, The Wealth of Nations, Horton Hears a Who, Fetal Development 101.

    • Scout says:

      Not sure what you’re talking about here. Librarians defend the right to read all books, including the Holy Bible, Huckleberry Finn, and all of your examples. And “woke” is such a ridiculous insult: it just means alert to racial prejudice and discrimination. It seems to me that the opposite of “woke” is “racist.”

  • DaveMaxwell says:

    We have lost our government! “ if we can keep it “
    Those are the words of one of our founders, his words and warning has taken root! None of our pathetic responses are being taken seriously! Get real! Your anger should be seen in the streets, it’s not! Pathetic!

    • Friend of Humanity says:

      Dave, Glenn Beck put out a video that you will absolutely appreciate! He speaks for the majority of Americans!

      • DaveMaxwell says:

        And Foh ( is your name hidden like so many others because your scared someone may find you out)? I really found this video repulsive and only serves to inspire me to say to hell with it! Like he basically did! Having convictions means I don’t hide them or my name as I declare them! Closet convictions are equivalent to no convictions! I am a Christian that takes seriously the fact that I know declaring that I am and believe in virtues will result in persecution! We have way too many followers of dunleavy who have no spine, values let alone convictions who hide and prove to be useless! That is when I throw the information in front of me and declare like Beck I also am tired of it and declare this fight over we lost! Pathetic!!!!

      • Friend of Humanity says:

        Well, if that is the way that you feel Dave, then you honestly should step away from the computer, the phone, media and meetings for a while. Take a break. Your response is negative at best. When you burn out, it is time to step away. But, do not treat your fellow people in this fight like enemies also, because we are not your enemy. You feed into the enemy’s vibe of winning when you attack the people on your side. Step away and take a break.

  • Ruthann Anderson says:

    Certain books have been kept out of schools since there were schools. Books are not ‘banned’ they continue to be available at local bookstores. Why are there people bent on sexualizing our children? What is the point?

    • Sarah Mooney says:

      Sexual education is not sexualizing children. It’s teaching them about puberty and their health. And taking books out of schools and claiming they’re not banned because they can be bought, well, Ruthann, that’s certainly coming from a place of privilege! Why do you assume everyone can buy every book they want to read?

  • Larry Wood says:

    It appears having parents in the process to review and approve books given the woke nature of education these days is threatening. One would think that the district would be supportive of such participation by the parents. The librarian and her corhorts feel that violating Alaska law and community moral standards in trying to provide free and unfettered access to pornographic materials is their exclusive purview. Maki and her cohorts are violating the law. It is time we held these ideologues accountable.
    AS 11.41.436(4) is applicable, because the books encourage such activity and the librarians and school staff are promoting same.
    AS 11.41.452 is applicable, because the books promote the conduct under AS 11.41.455(a)(1-7).
    AS 11.61.128 covers the distribution and access of these books. Section (c) defines “harmful to minors” as “(1) the average individual, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the material, taken as a whole, appeals to the purient interest in sex for persons under 16 years of age. (2) a reasonable person would find the material, as taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, educational, political, or scientific value for persons under 16 years of age;”
    Parents need to go the Prosecutor’s office in Palmer and file complaints. The conduct of the librarian in defending this filth needs to be dealt with for what it is: child abuse.

  • Charlotte says:

    Isn’t Alaska still 1 of 8 states that prohibits pornography books in their school libraries? That ends the debate. Go to court, maybe there’s an honest judge who’ll rule correctly. If you look online, there are 100’s of titles that are not permitted; many books look harmless til you open them. We see what happened to young Maki. She was apparently groomed by the school system and believes she’s correct in “protecting” the children from us. What a world this is. Who needs a carnival for entertainment. We can be witnesses to Maki’s “heroic” move to save her precious porn books from prying eyes. Or, We the People can accomplish the most by locally ousting EVERYONE with a dark agenda and electing those who care about our children’s’ future. These people forget they work for US.
    There’s too many robotic Maki’s being paid to push this destructive agenda.

  • DaveMaxwell says:

    Call Trani and demand Maki’s firing!

  • Johnny says:

    Why have a committee to vet books? Unless the problem is taken care of you will have more problems.

    • DaveMaxwell says:

      Foh curious that you don’t advise Glenn Beck to go to the corner and take a time out!! No instead you seem to be gratified by his realistic experienced views! If you continue to hide behind your fake name what do you think your communicating? Are you even a real entity? Maybe not? Technically AI now can post, opininate, and minimally contribute to filling space and taking time but not actually move anything! That is what I am challenging! If that’s too much for you so be it! Something has to radically change because what we’re doing is not working!

      • Friend of Humanity says:

        You are correct that something has to radically change. It is not going to happen, though, by you attacking your fellow warriors in this information war. Do I write as well and as intelligently as AI Dave? Lol I’ll take that compliment if that is what you are saying; although, I know that is not what you are trying to get across. I am sorry if that Glenn Beck video offended you. It was just good to see more people say, “We have had enough! The precipice has been reached!” It is time for action and I do see more people participating in conversations and getting involved in meetings and who say they are writing letters and emails.

  • Mboll says:

    Just wonder how many will actually call or email.

  • DaveMaxwell says:

    Foh more people doing the same thing? I’m not convinced that is answering anything other than “feeling “ involvement. Do those in power really care about the people and their feelings? The precipice you mentioned, or the agreement on the radical changes needed, is in fact true, unless we somehow enjoy insanity! What is your vision for the next phase of action needed so that progress is actually made? Beck and myself are at the same mindset! Disparity, I won’t submit to that. Revolution, perhaps our only choice! What is your vision?

    • Friend of Humanity says:

      I have been hearing the success stories when enough people start showing up at meetings and testifying. We have such a crappy situation here in Alaska that our “elected officials” are closer to the contingent US then to the people that they are supposed to be representing. It is not right when we cannot just take that few minutes to few hours to drive to our capitol and represent ourselves against the demonic tyrants that are taking over our state. People are waking up the fact that no matter what, we still need to take action because we are losing our state. Local action in our communities and encouraging our local community, letter writing, email, phone calls, learning how to do FOIA requests to expose those thugs that do not have the legal right to be in office making decisions for us. Furthermore, if it came down to it Dave, I’d stand next to you and help you defend our community if this becomes physical. Lastly, but most importantly, remembering that God has this and that I need to talk to him daily. This is what I know that I can do today.

      • DaveMaxwell says:

        Foh I appreciate the fact that you are willing to actually fight! It may very well come to that! Tyrannical oppressors leave no other viable options! I’m sure dunleavy is very aware!

  • DaveMaxwell says:

    If after Trani looks into Maki’s activists actions on state time and decides firing is not appropriate, then you all viewing this statement have no more excuses ! It’s over! Sacrifice your children to the gods of this age!