After receiving numerous complaints about the Wasilla Public Library’s decision to stock sexualized books in its teen section, the Wasilla City Council has asked Library Director Zane Treesh to provide a public explanation about the library’s policy on book selection and placement.

Set to occur near the beginning of the Nov. 27 city council meeting, the presentation follows a contentious Nov. 13 council meeting in which citizens implored city council members to have the library move indecent books out of the youth section.

Controversy first erupted during a Nov. 8 book reconsideration meeting, in which Mat-Su resident Jackie Goforth formally challenged the suitability of a sexually explicit book that the library considers suitable for its teen section. The title in question, “Red Hood,” has stirred controversy around the nation due to its violent content and explicitly graphic descriptions of sex acts between teenagers.

Approximately 25 people turned out for the Nov. 8 hearing, most of whom supported removing the book from the library’s teen section to the adult section.

Goforth explained that her decision to challenge the book was motivated by concerns that the novel was placed in an area designated for teens, while containing obscene material. This, she argued, “provides a clear path to committing a Class C Felony as specified in Alaska Statute AS 11.61.128 – distributing obscene material to persons under 16 years of age.”

Goforth and several other concerned citizens showed up at the Nov. 13 city council meeting to air their concerns directly to the mayor and council members.

At the conclusion of that meeting, Councilwoman Colleen Sullivan-Leonard thanked the audience for participating and said she had questions for Library Director Zane Treesh regarding concerns about the purchasing, placing, and reconsideration process of library materials. She then requested that Treesh give a report at the Nov. 27 meeting. Fellow Council Members Stu Graham, Alina Rubeo, Nikki Velock and Ian Crafton expressed similar comments and concurred that a presentation from the library director was in order.

Crafton said he understood the frustration of the public regarding questionable material being made available to youth without any warning labels.

Mayor Glenda Ledford took a more neutral stance, emphasizing the importance of parent responsibility when it comes to monitoring what their children read, and commenting that unaccompanied minors are prohibited in the library without the written parental consent.


— The Nov. 27 meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers at Wasilla City Hall (290 E Herning Avenue). The public may provide testimony in person at the meeting. Comments are limited to three minutes per person. Written comments are due by noon the day of the meeting via email or delivered to the Clerk’s Office, 290 E Herning Avenue. Written comments will be distributed in written form only and not read aloud at the meeting.

— Click here to contact the mayor or city council members.

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TONIGHT: Wasilla City Council to hear rationale on why library places sexualized books in teen 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.


  • Penny Johnson says:

    So now MSB taxpayers have to PROVE obscenity when there’s a legal statute? This is far beyond ridiculous.

    • DaveMaxwell says:

      Absolutely yes because the Attorney General Treg Taylor is not focused on the protection of the children in the state of Alaska! His primary concern and responsibility is to protect this state government from getting sued by concerned parents/ citizens like you! I hope we all will soon understand this!

  • Mary says:

    If it is illegal, it is illegal! No rationale for breaking the law. No debate needed!

  • Mike Alexander says:

    How hard is it to move the books from the young adults section (14 to 17 year olds) to the adult section? I will attend the session just to hear the lame excuses.

  • Friend of Humanity says:

    Thank you for sharing this information Mr. Davidson. I agree with some other comments that I read that if these smut books are allowed in areas where children can access them, I am surprised that we are not finding dedicated shelving in the young adults and children’s sections for playboy magazines because some of the graphic photos and stories I saw in the young reader books were worse than playboy magazine photos and stories.

  • SA says:

    Jackie Ivie Goforth continues to falsely claim that AS 11.61.128 prohibits books like Red Hood from being on the shelves of public libraries in Alaska. But as she has been told numerous times, that statute does not apply to printed books in the Wasilla Public Library. The statute only addresses electronic transmission of obscene materials by an adult to a child. It prohibits adults from sending sexually explicit emails, text messages, or photographs to children. It does NOT address whether or not Red Hood belongs in the teen section or not. I hope that the municipal attorney will help the Wasilla City Council to understand that they have no legal grounds to require the Wasilla Public Library to remove or otherwise take action against books solely because a small number of activists do not like their content. Wasilla Public Library patrons, after all, have the freedom to read whatever they want to under the First Amendment. And parents/guardians have the absolute right to guide their own children’s reading by choosing books for them to read, including prohibiting their child from reading certain books. They do not, however, have the right to constrain the choices that other parents make for their own child.

    • SA says:

      The Wasilla City Attorney did even more than I had hoped. at the Wasilla City Council meeting. She noted that the AG’s letter to librarians contradicted an earlier guidance document that interpreted AS 11.61.128 as NOT APPLICABLE to print library books or librarians. She noted that the latest letter from Taylor marks a “shift” in interpretation, and the AG’s office has been asked for clarification about the new interpretation.

  • Friend of Humanity says:

    I recommend watching the first hour of the meeting at minimum. The Library director (whatever his position is) talked and then was asked questions by the city council. I did not get the impression that he was 100% behind what he was saying. I, also, felt that he was not straightforward in his answers on several questions. Additionally, he made the book “Red Hood” sound like there is no other book on the planet that could help teenagers; I felt that the bible teachings would help young adults to learn and make wise decisions. There was some good news, albeit temporary for the time being about books being moved. I encourage people to watch the video of the meeting. Good to learn! *Apparently a news reporter gal from channel 2 was there also. I wonder what will be reported?

  • Darin J Bertolini says:

    How about a lawsuit, the loss of money or jail time for them is a great start to preventing the opportunities to groom kids.

  • M says:

    Our family has been fighting this battle for a long time and we are responsible parents who preview and filter what our kids read. This is why.

  • Mary says:

    Again, why is this topic even being debated? The law is the law, but unfortunately the modern, woke generation seems to feel laws don’t really apply to them. Laws are not always to everyone’s liking, but they are laws and there “should” be a penalty for breaking them. we will see what Alaska’s Attorney General chooses to do. Prosecute or turn his back!