The Meridian Library has an obscenity problem. Some call it porn. A group called Concerned Citizens of Meridian has tried getting the Library Board to fix the problem, but the Board has deflected, delayed, and stonewalled. After numerous attempts at getting the matter resolved and even going to the Meridian Mayor and City Council and getting the brush off there, the CCM took up the matter with the Ada County Commissioners. Following an option that exists in state law, the CCM filed a petition for the Library Board to be dissolved.
The Commissioners met on Monday, March 20 to hear community testimony before making their decision on whether to allow the matter to appear on the ballot, but due to the large number of people wanting to testify, the Commissioners delayed their decision to next week so they could hear the people who didn’t get to be heard this past Monday.
A timeline of CCM’s activities and the Library Board’s responses since the fall of 2021 can (and should) be read in this March 14 TIN article.
The day after the March 20 Commissioners’ meeting, True Idaho News reached out to Mike Hon, a member of the CCM, for an interview, which appears below.
TIN: Give us an overview of the situation.
MH: We’ve been asking the library to fix a problem. They’ve always said, “No.” And they’ve offered no solutions. They first said the obscene material wasn’t there, but now they’re using some line that is probably supplied to them by the American Library Association, or even our own Idaho Library Association that goes like this:
“There is no obscene material at any Idaho library as defined by Idaho law.”
This is obfuscating. They say there is no obscene material here, but they have sexually explicit material in the libraries that is harmful to minors that can be accessed with no parental consent.
TIN: What transpired at the Commissioners’ meeting Monday night?
MH: We presented a good case to the County Commissioners on Monday evening. And then, for the next several hours, the ratio was probably like 8:1 of people not wanting to dissolve the library. However, we’re not asking the commissioners to dissolve the library. We’re just asking them to put the Library Board to a vote, not the library. The Library Board has lied to its patrons. They’ve created a whipped-up mob based on a lie. We do not want to dissolve the library.
TIN: The Library Board lied?
MH: They’ve got people coming up with all sorts of emotional stories of how important the library is to them and how they don’t want it shut down. Well, they are doing so needlessly, because we believe the library is important, too, and we never said we wanted it shut down. The facts they can’t seem to grasp are we tried talking with the Board about putting children’s books with obscene material in a place where parents have to give an okay for kids to get them. We’ve been asking them to work with us. They won’t. They keep repeating “First Amendment,” but since when is it First Amendment to allow kids to see obscene material?
We’re not asking for books to be banned. We’re just looking to mark these books somehow that says the book contains sexually explicit material that you as a parent might find objectionable for your children to see Their response is that parents know exactly what kids are taking out. But by the time the parent sees what their children have to check out, the child has already leafed through the book and seen the obscene material. By that time it’s too late. They’ve already seen it.
TIN: That’s troublesome. But rather than address that, they’re lying about what you want.
MH: Yes. They [the Library Board] are out there telling people lies, saying that we want to shut down the library even though we have no desire to shut it down. Also, nobody is asking us, “Why do you want to shut down the library?” They’re just being told by the Library Board that we hate the library. That’s most definitely not the case. We don’t hate them, and no, we don’t want the library shut down.
TIN: What else happened at the Commissioners’ meeting?
MH: It was interesting that the Meridian mayor showed up, and he says something like, “Having a small group of people being able to dissolve a library, it’s not right.” What he didn’t say was we came to him and the entire city council last year and asked for their help. The date was February 15, 2022. One of our people went to the city council meeting and said, “Hey, there’s a problem at the library. We could use your help to fix it.” They told us that libraries were not under their purview. But now it’s an election year, so I guess Simison has to show up.
TIN: What would you like to say to the people of Meridian?
MH: It’s ridiculous what they’re doing. The library is a wonderful place, but they’re still delivering porn to kids. Look at the material. It’s sexually explicit. We show anybody this stuff and they are shocked. They say, “Really?” I say to parents out there, “Take a look at what is available in the library.” You could show this [obscene material] to any parent and they’d be like, “Don’t show this to my kid.” But that’s exactly what is available to kids without restriction at the library.
It is important for citizens to realize that if the material objected to by the CCM were provided to a minor by an adult, the adult could be criminally charged with providing obscene material or even pornography to a minor.
Meridian Library Board member Destinie Hart is on record giving testimony to Idaho legislators that no obscene materials exists in the Meridian library. One needs only to see the books being mentioned by CCM and one can immediately determine that Hart provided false and misleading testimony to the state legislature. View a short video below created to show the juxtaposition of Hart’s comments and library content.
NOTE: Books in the Meridian library system readily available to children of all ages include the images shows above and below.