Mat-Su Superintendent Randy Trani’s administration gave a presentation to the Mat-Su School Board on Feb. 7 in which it recommended that the board vote to remove several highly sexualized and deeply controversial books from the borough’s school libraries.

The presentation noted that the recently convened Library Citizen Advisory Committee had reviewed roughly a third of the nearly 60 controversial books that have been challenged by concerned citizens as unsuitable for students.

The above chart shows recommendations from the Mat-Su library committee with regard to 19 books that have been challenged as unsuitable for students Click the image for more details.

Since this past August, the 11-member committee has met once a month to discuss the books. So far, it has finalized recommendations for the school board on 19 books. Another 38 books are yet to be reviewed.

The committee includes seven community members appointed by the school board, four school district employees and one librarian.

To date, the committee has unanimously agreed that at least one book – “It Ends With Us” – meets the local standards of “criminal indecency” and “should not appear in public school libraries in the future.” This book contains explicit sexual activities, alcohol and drug use, suicidal ideation, violence and profanity.

A majority of committee members also found that five books should be removed from all borough schools, 12 books should not be available to students unless they are in high school, and one book should be retained only for middle and high school. One other book received an equal number of votes to retain it only at the high school and only at the middle school level. To date, none of the books have been deemed suitable for elementary age children.

In reviewing the books, the committee is focusing on whether the titles are obscene, the report stated. It noted that under Alaska Law, it is “a crime to distribute materials to minors if:  (1) the average individual, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the material, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest in sex for persons under 16 years of age; (2) 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; and (3) the material depicts actual or simulated conduct in a way that is patently offensive to the prevailing standards in the adult community as a whole with respect to what is suitable for persons under 16 years of age.”

According to district administration, the school board should keep five books in the high school libraries because they have raised “little to no concern,” and were unanimously approved by the committee for the high school level. These books include, “Slaughterhouse Five,” “Kite Runner,” “Persepolis,” “Persepolis 2-A Story of a Return,” and “Drama.”

The other thirteen titles did not produce unanimous recommendations, but the majority of the committee deemed that the vast majority of these titles were not suitable for middle school students.

Trani’s administration suggested that the school board “deliberate and vote on the nineteen reviewed titles,” placing them into three categories: “retain, remove, or remand further administrative review.”

Books that need “further administrative review” should be forwarded to the district administration to determine whether they are “obscene and/or whether to restrict access to the title,” Trani advised.

Click here to view the most up-to-date status of the books that are under review.

The libraries next two meetings are set for Feb. 8 and March 14 (5-7 PM). They are open to the public, but there are not public comment periods during the meeting. Click here for more information about meeting times and locations.

Click here to support Alaska Watchman reporting.

Mat-Su School Board should cull several highly sexual library books, administration says

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.


  • DaveMaxwell says:

    They sure as hell better and be completely unapologetic about it!

  • Nicholas Perkins says:

    How about a good old fashioned book burning / bonfire ?

    I can think of numerous places around the Valley to do this.

    Who wants to join me ?

  • Friend of Humanity says:

    Fascinating discussion relating to all going on right now!
    ‘Dustin Nemos and Daniel Kristos unveil the DEMONIC origins of Zionism’

  • Clark says:

    In the worlds history, no side pushing for book bans and book burnings has EVER been the good guys.

    You guys should all be ashamed of your attempts to deny all the states students of their First Amendment rights.

    The fact that most of these votes are 5-4(i noticed you stopped posting the vote tallies!) is evidence itself that proves the books are not in violation of any laws.

    The one book they voted on unanimously does seem out of place. Not because its offensive. Honestly its pretty tame…sh$T and f#@ck aren’t even profane words anymore. It seems out of place because it appears to just be a story about adults. The book is labeled as New Adult and College Romance book. To me that means 17-18 y/o which is high-school appropriate, but I wouldn’t expect many under 18 to take interest in it. But the fact that its won several awards and is all over several best seller lists proves it isnt in violation of any laws. Nobody can claim it has no serious literary value when loads of people are buying it.