SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) — State Sen. Josh Kimbrell is demanding the Spartanburg County Public Libraries remove certain books from its children’s section.
During a press conference Monday, Kimbrell said books discussing sexual identity, gender identity, and engaging in sexual acts need to be removed.
“My message is very clear today – kids are off limits,” said Kimbrell. “We will not allow taxpayer money to be used to indoctrinate children in this state without their parents knowing about it.”
People lined the opposite side of the street to protest Kimbrell’s press conference. Some even gathered right behind him as he spoke.
“If you don’t want to read a book, don’t read it,” said Mary Miles, a Spartanburg resident. “If you don’t want your kids to read a book, don’t let them check it out.”
If the books are not removed, Kimbrell is demanding that the head of the library resign. He is also threatening to propose an amendment to cut the salaries of library executives and pull funding from each of the county’s libraries.
“I would suggest that it would benefit everyone if Sen. Kimbrell would like to sit down and have a conversation about what his concerns are,” said Spartanburg County Librarian Todd Stephens.
Stephens said Kimbrell has not contacted him about removing the specific books he raised concerns about Monday. But, Stephens explained his library staff do their best to buy books that are appropriate and then place them in the appropriate section. He said staff also review books when they are delivered to the library.
“There are times we make mistakes,” said Stephens. “We’re people.”
Stephens said any patron is welcome to voice concerns about a certain book. They can request a form from the front desk. Stephens and his staff then review each concern.
“When a form is filled out, it comes to me with the book,” explained Stephens. “I’ll take a look at it. I pass it to a couple of staff members. We make some decisions on what we’re going to do.”
Stephens said he and his team then decide if the book should be removed from the library, moved to a different section, or kept in the same location.
“We use our judgment the best we can,” said Stephens.