In an effort to address widespread controversy over sexually charged books in school libraries, the Mat-Su School Board is set to vote on seven people who have been nominated to serve on the newly formed Library Citizens Advisory Committee.

The school board is scheduled to vote at its Aug. 2 meeting on nominees who were named by each of the seven school board members, each of whom forwarded one name for consideration.

The following people were nominated to the library committee: John C. Deal, Nathaniel Buck, Kali Ponder, Andrew Shane, Amanda Cottle, Nichole Smith and Melinda Dale. Superintendent Randy Trani may add additional members from a separate pool, which could include school employees, librarians and others.

One of the main roles of the new library committee will be to “enable both citizens and educators to better understand the attitudes and opinions held in the school and community.” The committee will also examine library books to ensure schools are not disseminating sexually explicit material to minors in violation of Alaska statute.

Creation of the library committee stirred considerable controversy during the May 24 school board meeting, during which an organized crowd of public union Mat-Su educators and librarians expressed vehement opposition to removing controversial books. They claimed such efforts were akin to censorship.

Many parents, however, are concerned about the revelation, earlier this year, that many sexualized books are circulating through Mat-Su school libraries. The list of all controversial titles, which are currently being challenged by parents, includes fiction and nonfiction books containing detailed descriptions of masturbation, anal and oral sex, sex toys, pole dancing, sex parties, dominatrix, foul language, descriptions of graphic and violent rape, gay teen sex encounters, gender transitioning characters and more.

These 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.

The new library committee will be up and running by the start of the coming school year. Recommendations by the committee will be channeled through the superintendent directly to the school board.

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Mat-Su School Board to choose citizens for new library 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.


  • Tom Jones says:

    School staff are the problem here and should not be on this committee

  • S says:

    Wait. I thought the committee was to be chosen at random from those who applied. What happened with that???

    • Bonnie says:

      I had the same question — what a silly shift! Much like Career Tech enrollment suddenly becoming a raffle to correct perceived superiority, social engineering wins the day once again in the MSBSD.

    • Friend of Humanity says:

      I think that, originally, the committee was going to be interviewed, then the switch to random selection and then to how they have been selected. I, for one, am glad that more serious thought is given to the selection of each candidate instead of by luck of the draw.

  • jon says:

    People with open minds do not ban library books. Those books will entertain and inform. The far right is trying to put us back in the dark ages.

    • Michael Alexander says:

      Jon could you explain how 8 through 16 year olds minds are opened by graphic illustrations and descriptions of anal sex.

    • Friend of Humanity says:

      You are persistent in telling your incorrect story; I am sure that the O’biden regime is proud of you. There is no book banning going on.