The Ketchikan City Council will hold a special meeting on June 22 to decide the fate of a highly contentious teen sex book, which guides minors on how to engage in anal sex, find internet porn and create their own images for sexting to others.
So far, the library has refused to remove or relocate the book, despite multiple formal requests to do so.
The book, “Let’s Talk About It: The Teens Guide to Sex, Relationships, and Being Human,” written by Erika Moen and Matthew Nolan,” has sparked national outrage across the nation, with concerned parents battling progressive librarians and library boards that adamantly defend the book as “educational.”
At least 10 concerned Ketchikan residents have filed formal book challenges only to have Library Director Pat Tully and the library board rebuff them at every turn. Now they are asking the city council to make a final determination on the fate of the book.
The book’s challengers have pointed out that it normalizes “one-night stands” and “sleeping with multiple partners,” while spreading scientific misinformation about basic human biology and encouraging minors to engage in anal sex, masturbation. They also point out that the book instructs children in how to take sexy photos of themselves to text to others. Other objections include the graphic depictions of nudity and multiple pages where youth are told how to find their favorite online porn stars.
Library Director Tully, who has also hosted highly controversial drag queen story events for kids, has responded to the objections by adamantly defending the book.
“Many of the illustrations in the book are sexually explicit, which is to be expected of a book on sex and relationships,” Tully wrote to one objector. “I would not categorize the illustrations as pornographic, since the intent of the illustrator is to educate teens about sex, not to provoke sexual feelings.”
She even defended the book’s instruction on how to sext.
“The information on sexting is educating teens (and their parents) about what it is and under what circumstances it is legal and not exploitive,” Tully asserted. “Providing information about sexting or other practices is not the same as encouraging or promoting these practices.”
In fact, the book does appear to encourage sexting among teens.
“So, before you start sending your naughty masterpieces around the world, take some time to get friendly with photo editing software and apps,” the book states. “Digital photos are permanent, and impossible to retract once they’re out there, so keep your recognizable features out of them, before you share them.”
The book adds: “Crop out your face, hide your birthmarks and scars, and edit out your piercings and tattoos, and don’t forget to tell your sweety how hot they look. Let them know you appreciate the little gift they’ve sent you.”
Ketchikan City Manager Delilah Walsh has recommended that the city council move to relocate the book from the teen section to the adult section of the library. City Attorney Mitch Seaver wrote an April 4 memo regarding the legal principles for removing or relocating a library book.
He noted that minors can be protected from materials that are “obscene for minors.” Seaver’s memo also points out that in order for material to be considered “obscene or harmful to minors” under Alaska Statute it would have to meet the following conditions:
ALASKA WATCHMAN DIRECT TO YOUR INBOX
The average person would find that the material appeals to the “prurient interests in sex for persons under 16 years of age.”
A reasonable person would find that the “material taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, educational, political or scientific value for persons under 16 years of age.”
The material depicts actual lor simulated conduct in a way that is “patently offensive to the prevailing standards of the adult community as a whole with respect to what it suitable for persons under 16 years of age.”
Planned Parenthood is actively recruiting its base to turn out in force to speak in favor of the challenged book.
— The upcoming special city council meeting is set for June 22, at 7 p.m. in the Ketchikan City Council Chambers (334 Front Street)
— Click here to read the objections to the book as well as responses from Ketchikan librarians.
— Click here to contact the Ketchikan City Council members.