After a summer of strong debate about LGBT books at the Clovis library, three city councilmembers plan to take action. They are penning a letter to their counterparts at the Fresno County Board of Supervisors.
“Councilmembers Diane Pearce and Drew Bessinger, and Mayor Pro Tem Vong Mouanoutoua have received inquiries and concerns from numerous Clovis residents about the recent display and availability of material featuring graphic sexual content including images of sex acts in the children’s section of the Clovis Branch of the Fresno County Library during the month of June,” states a draft letter addressed to Fresno County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sal Quintero.
The proposed letter — which does not make mention “LGBT” — is written by Clovis City Manager John Holt on behalf of Pearce, Bessinger, and Mouanoutoua. The Clovis City Council is scheduled to vote on sending the letter at its Tuesday night meeting.
Pearce publicly complained about the LGBT displays at the Clovis library’s children’s section for June Pride Month, initially posting a “public service announcement” on her Facebook account. She called some of the material age-inappropriate.
LGBT issues have stirred up debate at several school boards in California and reached the Clovis City Council in the past few months. Earlier this week, state Attorney General Rob Bonta sued the Chino Valley Unified School District over its policy to inform parents when their children want to identify as transgender.
LGBT Not Mentioned in Letter
Although the three councilmembers are complaining about explicit material, there is no mention of the books being associated with the library’s LGBT display in June.
Several discussions at city council meetings followed, with a mixed response from the public. Even her city council colleagues called Pearce’s viewpoints a distraction.
The letter acknowledges that the library is overseen by the county. The letter also states that the city is “not taking a position on any material,” but only to “inform” the supervisors of residents’ concerns.
A Fresno County spokesperson told GV Wire in July that the books are selected by professional librarians.
“We know the County will continue to provide a forum for community input and consider community input to create and maintain a positive and supportive library environment acceptable to everyone,” the letter says.
Letter Stems from Aug. 7 Meeting
The city council informally discussed sending a letter at its Aug. 7 meeting, although not all members were in agreement. Councilmembers Lynne Ashbeck and Matt Basgall disagreed with the need for a letter and wanted no part of any official council communications.
At the meeting, Pearce said it is the council’s responsibility to communicate concerns to other units of government. Bessinger and Mouanoutoua said they would join Pearce in sending the letter.
The draft version of the letter will not include the names of Ashbeck or Basgall.