(LifeSiteNews) — The director at a Virginia library resigned amid pressure from parents to defund the institution or remove a slew of pornographic books from its shelves.
Michelle Ross stepped down from her role as executive director at the Samuels Public Library in Front Royal last week. Her resignation came after parents launched a grassroots initiative to expose many sexually explicit books in the library, urging local leaders to order the books removed or cut off the institution’s funding.
An August 4 press release from the library announced that Ross was “exploring career opportunities at larger libraries” after having acted as the director at Samuels since 2020. The Board of Trustees appointed an interim director for at least six months, during which time they hope to “identify a permanent library director.”
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The announcement was made days after the library “implemented new parental controls” while it “continues to work with the Warren County Board of Supervisors on policy and funding directives for the remainder of the 2023/2024 fiscal year and beyond.” Regulations surrounding sexually explicit material resulted after Clean Up Samuels Library (CSL), an effort launched by local parents to rid the public institution from pornographic books, laid their concerns before the Board of Supervisors.
‘Limited’ library cards introduced to address parental concerns
On August 1, the McGuire Woods Consulting firm, which collaborated with the library to address CSL concerns, issued a press release announcing that the library’s “Board of Trustees recently approved and adopted two new types of library cards” during a meeting at the end of July.
“The library has introduced a Juvenile Limited Card and Young Adult Limited Card, and both are designed to give parents options and control over the literature and reading materials their children have access to,” the release states.
According to the consulting group, the juvenile card “ensures that a child younger than 12 may only check out materials from the physical collection of juvenile books at the library” and the young adult card “allows for children 12 years of age and older to only check out materials from the physical collection of juvenile and young adult materials at the library.” Kids under 12 will have “no access to online materials” and those 12 and older “will have limited access to online materials.” Unrestricted library cards are “also still available.”
Although a newly added adult collection is being moved away from the young adult section of the library, it is open to “patrons 16 years of age through college age.” The release also highlighted that parents “can monitor their child’s [library card] account through the online catalog, and the library has a safe child policy that requires children under the age of 12 to be accompanied by a responsible caregiver over the age of 16.”
Exposing pornography in the public library system
The fight to protect children from pornography at their local library began at a June 6 Board of Supervisors meeting when CSL publicly challenged the presence of sexually explicit materials and called for revisions within the system.
On its website, CSL has highlighted the titles, summaries and particularly explicit quotes from more than 30 books that have been housed at Samuels Public Library. The books include vivid descriptions of sexual acts between characters of the opposite and same sex who are typically minors or young adults.
As previously reported by LifeSiteNews, the June 6 meeting gathered roughly 250 young parents who stood in solidarity with CSL. Shortly after, locals celebrated the impact of their efforts, which led the Warren County Board of Supervisors to withhold some of its budget funding to the library amid the controversy. The decision was made in a 4-1 vote during a June 13 meeting.
CSL’s ongoing mission includes goals of placing Samuels Public Library “under the control of the Board of Supervisors” instead of “an unaccountable nonprofit,” removing all pornographic books so that such content is not made available to the public through taxpayer funding, “severing all ties with the hard left American Library Association” by enacting an independent, family-friendly policy and adjusting library leadership so that “no adult who jeopardizes the innocence of children [is] permitted to work around them or within our library.”
More information, as well as a link to join CSL’s work, can be found on the group’s website.