Idaho Librarian Resigns Over 'Atmosphere of Extremism'

Among other things, Kimber Glidden was accused of 'grooming children for pedophiles'
By Mike L. Ford,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 28, 2022 5:30 PM CDT
Idaho Librarian Resigns Over 'Atmosphere of Extremism'

“Nothing in my background could have prepared me for the political atmosphere of extremism, militant Christian fundamentalism, intimidation tactics, and threatening behavior currently being employed in the community,” librarian Kimber Glidden wrote in a statement announcing her resignation Aug. 16, per NBC News. Troubles began in March—a few months after she started as director of the public library in Bonners Ferry, Idaho—when conservative activists demanded the library remove 400 books, most of which involve LGBTQ characters, sexual activity, or the occult. As it turned out, none of the books were on the library’s shelves.

Lee Colson, one of five of the library's trustees, told NBC he thought that would be the end of the story, but instead things “seemed to morph.” Activists demanded a preemptive ban, including “a strongly written policy that will not allow the library to order materials with sex acts.” When the library resisted, activists started a campaign to recall four of the five trustees. Librarian Glidden says she was accused of “grooming children for pedophiles,” and as threats increased, she and her staff started dining and shopping in other counties to avoid public confrontations. "They’re spreading lies, they’re destroying lives, and they’re doing it with impunity," Glidden said of the activists.

As libraries across the country confront similar issues, Idaho Press sought comment from "America's librarian" and bestselling author Nancy Pearl. “Certainly parents have the right to decide what their children can read,” Pearl said, “but I don’t think a parent or anyone has the right to tell somebody else what they can or can’t read.” Editors at the Dallas Morning News expressed support for Glidden in an opinion piece denouncing similar “sophomoric” campaigns against librarians, teachers, and school boards. “This needs to stop,” they write. “We believe in an America where people are willing to listen to each other … where we are willing to admit maybe there is another side to the story. That’s called maturity. It’s something that’s in too short supply these days.” (Read more book ban stories.)

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