Ketchikan residents packed the city council chambers on June 22 for a special meeting regarding a controversial teen sex book at the local library.

After holding a special meeting on June 22 in which Ketchikan residents overwhelmingly voiced opposition to a graphic teen sex book at the local library, the city council voted 4-3 to support the library’s decision to keep the book in the youth section.

The book, “Let’s Talk About It,” has dominated school board, city council and borough assembly meetings across Alaska and much of the nation due to the fact that the book encourages minors to explore anal sex, engage in masturbation, find internet porn stars and create their own sexy images to share via texting.

Earlier this year, Ketchikan residents had asked the library to remove or relocate the book to the adult section, but were rebuffed by Library Director Pat Tully, who believes the book is completely appropriate for minors.

Appealing to the city council was a last gasp effort to relocate the book to keep impressionable children from stumbling across it when looking for other titles.

Council members who voted to keep the book in the youth section included Mark Flora, Janalee Gage, Abby Bradberry and Jack Finnegan. Those voting to move it to the adult area were Riley Gass, Jai Mahtani and Lallette Kistler.

During public comment, concerned parents and grandparents noted that the book downplays the role of parents, while encouraging kids to get information from their peers and the internet – including porn sites. Others argued that the book appears to be set on sexualizing youth, while mocking chastity and virginity as foolishly outdated.

During a special meeting of the Ketchikan City Council, a local resident speaks out against a controversial teen sex book located in the youth section of the community library.

One woman said she could no longer trust the local library with children, while a local father Riley Murdock said the book is unsuitable in a community library.

“This is straight up pornographic,” he said. “Why do these people insist on exposing and grooming kids with this garbage?”

He urged the council to replace city employees who peddle such books to minors.

“You guys put these people in charge,” Riley said.

Amanda Roussel urged the council to summon the “moral courage” to at least move the book to the adult section, if they can’t bring themselves to throw it “straight into the garbage.” She also challenged the scientific accuracy of a book that claims men can have vaginas and women can have a penis.

Those concerns went unheeded by the majority of the council, who sided with the librarians and their vastly outnumbered supporters.

June Dall, who chairs the Library Advisory Board, testified that they had already voted 6-1 earlier this year to keep the book in the youth section. She then proceeded to defend the book for containing valuable information – suggesting that some parents do not have the ability or willingness to discuss sensitive sexual topics with kids.

Tom Hewitt, president of the Friends of the Library, which fundraises and advocates for the library, admitted that the book is “a bit much,” but then defended it as a tool for teaching kids how to “protect” themselves.

Ketchikan Library Director Pat Tully

Debora Simon, who also serves on the Library Advisory Board, sided with parents. The former English teacher, who holds a master’s degree in curriculum development, said kids are not emotionally prepared for books like “Let’s Talk About It.”

“Please place this library book in the adult section of the library where it will be age appropriate,” she pleaded.

Ultimately, however, it appeared the majority of the city council was swayed by the testimony of City Attorney Mitch Seaver, who wrote an April 4 memo on the legal principles for removing or relocating a library book.

While admitting that minors could – in theory – be protected from materials that are deemed “obscene,” he said the legal bar is very high.

Speaking directly to the council, Seaver suggested that prior court president appears to restrict even moving an objectionable book to another area of the library because it may violate constitutional and parental rights for kids and their parents who want unfettered access such material.

According to Seaver’s reading, the only people who might have solid legal authority over book placement are the librarians themselves.

That, however, has not stopped many local and state governments from removing or relocating books. According to the American Library Association there were 1,269 demands to censor library books and resources in 2022, the highest number of such efforts since the ALA began keeping records more than two decades ago. In response, schools, city councils and even state legislatures have acted to restrict access to certain highly offensive books, mostly dealing with various sexual themes.

Sharyl Yeisley, who was one of the people to originally challenge “Let’s Talk About It” at the Ketchikan Library, argued that the book’s placement in the youth section seems to violate state law against exposing minors to indecent material.

She noted that minors can’t enter a sex toy shop until they are 18.

Councilman Gass, who introduced the motion to move the book, emphasized that his resolution was not effort to “ban” the book, but only to relocate it to another area of the library, which is still accessible to all patrons – including children.

He said the goal was to prevent minors from unwittingly stumbling across the book.

Councilwoman Gage disagreed with this approach, claiming that any movement on the book was a violation of the First Amendment and a disservice to youth.

At one point in the meeting, Library Director Tully was asked how the library determines which books are suitable for purchase. She said lower-level librarians have freedom to purchase books without her signing off. She added that she “trusts her professionals” to make appropriate decisions.

Tully explained that each year, her librarians purchase five to seven thousand new books, while offloading a similar number of titles that are deemed unpopular, out of date or in poor condition.

After the 4-3 vote in support of the controversial book, the three council members who voted to relocate it expressed disappointment.

Councilman Mahtini said he feels the book is “grooming kids,” adding that the library should do a better job of reflecting community concerns when purchasing materials.

Councilman Gass agreed, stating that he believes the library is using public resources to push an agenda.

“I think sometimes we need to just step back and use our common sense,” he said. “I’m concerned we are not doing that.”

Council Member Kistler noted that the council’s vote will likely lead to less parents feeling comfortable letting their kids use the community library.


— Click here to contact the Ketchikan City Council members.

— Click here to contact Ketchikan Library Director Pat Tully.

Click here to support Alaska Watchman reporting.

Split city council vote lets Ketchikan Library keep graphic teen sex book in youth section

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:

    The vote should go to the folks in that area. Screw the city council.

  • Steve says:

    June Dall, “suggesting that some parents do not have the ability or willingness to discuss sensitive sexual topics with kids.”
    June Dall thinks she knows better than parents on what their children need, typical liberal thinking. I’m so damn tire of these liberals that want to shove their beliefs and moral-less values on everyone else.

    • Andy says:

      it’s becoming difficult to protect the innocence of children everywhere, if a elected official is incapapble of this simple thing what good are they if their morality is in the gutter?

  • Boris says:

    The Uni-Party strikes again!

  • Chuck Anziulewicz says:

    The book is perfectly appropriate for grades 8 through 12. What’s the point of stocking a sex education book for adolescents if they aren’t allowed to check it out? Here’s a suggestion: Forbid YOUR OWN children from going to libraries. After all, they might learn about other dangerous ideas like evolution and climate change.

    • Proud Alaskan says:

      How about all children go to the library. And you read and teach your own kids this Sick Evil Book in your own home, not the public library system. Remember we are our own children’s Parents not this woke schools system. Remember God said raise your kids up knowing the lord, after 18 we let them go,
      Then they on their own – it’s there choice now. Not a school system telling our 5 years olds, “Johnny your really a girl.” How disgusting. Or sally, “You’re only 14, lets remove your breasts and give you drugs.”
      The four who voted to not remove this book, need to be voted off this board.

  • Elizabeth Henry says:

    Gross abuse of the first amendment. Free speech has nothing to do with protecting children from age and development appropriate material. The author’s free speech is not being violated and the book is not being banned by relocating. The Ketchikan city council have a serious lack of common sense and courage.

  • Dalton says:

    everyday you have these stories, …so what are you going to do about it? you pack of wimps blocked the Patriots and Rednecks that were trying to tell you how to stop it and was willing to lead that resistance. I guess your plan is to sit there while you’re destroyed. what a pack of girls

  • micah6v8 says:

    Take the book out. Never return it. Instead burn it.

  • Eva says:

    All these adults that are promoting these kinds of ideas to be put into innocent kids and teens heads, will have to answer to the Living God, who loves greatly, but also does not like His children to be lead astray into evil.
    Matthew 18: 6
    “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

  • Link Land says:

    Your article contains more spelling errors and grammatical mistakes than would seem likely to come from someone with your experience.