Correction, Nov. 23, 2022: These letters include a note on a letter that the Homer News incorrectly identified the person who started a petition in support of Homer Library Director Dave Berry’s decision to leave challenged children’s books in the children’s section. Lisa “Red” Asselin started that petition.
Remember we are a diverse community
Children learn how to relate to others, their community and wider world from parental example. It is a mystery to me why a parent would choose to teach the skills of rejection, divisiveness and control as I have observed in current heated discussion of access to certain books at the library.
I don’t expect all parents to love every book that a library contains. Aren’t public libraries for everyone in the community?
Thank goodness we are not all the same. How boring that would that be. But back to teaching skills: Your children will learn from you that it is all right to control others if you disallow other parents and children access to information.
I recommend letting the library folks choose books for everyone with access to all. I suggest that parents choose which books their own children read. As a parent you have a right to shape your own child’s access to ideas. I caution against teaching the skill of control of others.
Leave the books alone; they are there for everyone. If diversity is not for you, please remember we are a diverse group and many believe that makes for a healthy community.
Molly Stonorov, Fritz Creek
On positional thinking
Reflecting on the recent book protest at our library — a situation which is happening all across the country — I am once more seeing the great harm in positional thinking, be it new age liberalism or dogmatic religions, from the food we eat to the belief systems that are carried unconsciously.
If one puts oneself in a superior, know-it-all position concerning anything, the dualistic mind with its “I’m right and you’ re wrong” obfuscation blinds us from not only true interpersonal communion, but also to allowing us to continue our evolution into a kinder , more fully realized humanity.
Let us grow beyond tribes and tribalism. We are more than that.
Be proud of Homer Public Library
I would like to thank our library for its courage and integrity. We have a right to read books that should not be denied. Where does this right come from? The U.S .Supreme Court has declared that freedom of speech includes “not only the right to utter or to print, but the right to distribute, the right to receive, the right to read and freedom of inquiry, freedom of thought.”
One of our most fundamental rights, the First Amendment, is designed to protect what may be considered offensive speech, because no one ever complains about anything else.
As Jeff Jacoby wrote, “The First Amendment says nothing about a right not to be offended. The risk of finding someone else’s speech offensive is the price each of us pays for our own freedom of speech. Free people don’t run to the court — or to the principal — when they encounter messages they don’t like. They answer it with one of their own.”
We should be proud of our library and do everything that we can to support it. Our library is our town’s bookshelves and living room. You can promote it by visiting, reading a book and thanking a librarian.
Book banning suggestion
Those in favor of banning books should make a complete list of books they wish to ban from Homer’s libraries and the Homer Assembly should put the question of “to ban, or not to ban” up for a vote in the next Homer election.
Ray Metcalfe, Anchorage
Beware the beast!
As a broadly educated adult reflecting our society’s commitment to intellectual freedom and imaginative exploration, Homer Public Library Director Dave Berry’s position on open library access is correct. Conversely, as a repository of common social norms (because it’s simply not feasible for many parents to directly supervise their child’s reading interests) and to retain broad-based community support, it’s the Library Board’s obligation to safeguard child users by filtering out threats to their fragile value system, especially those dealing with emotionally heavy themes of sexuality.
Many stories of alternative sexual orientation, such as two women/men raising a family, won’t carry that emotional burden, and if presented matter-of-factly without overt flaunting most children would probably accept those themes without any angst. More extreme concepts, of course, such as rape, bestiality or compelled prostitution have such shocking associated images — even for adults — of male rawness and brutality that exposure to them could easily sexually scar a child for life. Somewhere in between is the ever-shifting dividing line, and, like Justice Potter’s comment on pornography, although it can’t be adequately verbalized, you know it when you see it.
So the Library Board’s acceptability test seems simple: If the image of a drag-queen’s hips swish-swishing down the avenue raises your blood pressure, then the book’s too emotionally laden for many children’s psyche also and shouldn’t be in the collection. Don’t be cowed by the self-righteous indignation of those demanding a standard of abolishing all other moral standards. Children are more than just an “open book.”
I think books that portray children in overtly sexual ways should be screened carefully by parents. Some of the Disney stories with their sexy princesses in bikinis, like Ariel and Jasmine, are examples. These should probably be moved into a special section of the library. There is also that Norwegian fairy tale about the poor girl who marries a bear who turns into a man every night. That should be moved, also.
And what about Snow White, who is kissed by a stranger while she is passed out? Cinderella, too, with all that emphasis on girls only being marriage material if they have small feet. Move that one for sure. All the fairy tales should be moved, probably. Think about the Hansel and Gretel story, for example. It teaches children that they can’t really trust their parents or other adults. This could make kids vulnerable to being abused, and make it harder for them to ask adults for help.
The Bible stories about King David’s adultery and Delilah’s betrayal of Samson should be moved, too, along with the one about Abraham getting ready to kill his son. Yikes. The sexy superheroes and gods who use violence,trickery and seduction to solve problems definitely need parental screening as well. Hmmmmm.
Maybe the answer is to just move all the kids’ books into one big room, where parents and kids could pick out books to read together.
The incredible confusion and difficulty of ranked choice voting
Think of it: having to make a choice between multiple candidates!
And if you think more than one of them is qualified, to vote for them as a second choice. Or make a third choice if you feel there are that many qualified candidates. OMG!
How difficult can you make this?
It is like going to a restaurant and choosing the special on the menu and being asked to give a second, or even a third choice in case they have run out of the special. How confusing is that?
What do they think we are? Intelligent beings who have the ability to think, make choices, and understand that the world does not revolve around us? Come on!
This new voting system has taken the power to choose a candidate away from the political parties and given it to the voters. What were we (the majority of voters) thinking?
I would much rather have the relatively small political parties choose who is going to be on the ballot (so I don’t have to think) and have only their choice to vote for — that, is if I don’t choose their ballot in the primary. How could the “rankies” think that giving me the choice of qualified candidates would give democracy a better chance? Come on people. This is not rocket science.
Or maybe it is.
Actually, I believe ranked choice voting is possibly the best thing that has happened to democracy since the constitution was written. It is all about “We the People.”
Some friendly advice for the candidates who lost: chill out, accept defeat, quit pandering to the parties, stand on your own two feet and keep your integrity/credibility/morality intact.
All the best,
So, if I read the story in last week’s paper correctly, in response to concerns from parents, the Library Advisory Board promised to review the books with sexually mature themes in the kid’s section library. After their review, the books will return to circulation and will be present in the kid’s section until the bostf meeting on Jan. 17, 2023.
Seems to me the wisest action would have been to err on the side of caution by removing the books until a final decision could be made. The Library Advisory Board was too cowardly to take even this simple action to calm the situation. One Homer City Council member “acting as a private citizen” demonstrated her partisanship by starting a counter-petition to advocate against the concerned parents.
Two things are very clear from this decision. First, the library board doesn’t care about protecting children from books intended to groom them. Second, some members of the Homer City Council (Rachel Lord, I’m looking at you) better start worrying about facing another recall election.
Editor’s note: After Mr. Sarber’s letter was published, the Homer News learned that we incorrectly identified the person who started an online petition in support of Homer Public Library Director Dave Berry’s decision to leae the challenged books in the children’s section. Lisa “Red” Asselin started that petition.
Speak now or forever hold your grief
If someone has vexed you, and you don’t get it off your chest, it’s like taking a poison pill.
Your harboring frustration or anger can lead to not only grief and stress, but disease. Yes, both dis-ease and disease that will choke the life out of you, not them.
Speak up. I’m not talking about whining and complaining. No one (not even you) wants to hear that.
Speak up for yourself and for what’s right in the world.
Use your voice or lose your voice.
Grateful for foundations support
Pier One Theatre would like to extend our most sincere thanks to the Rasmuson Foundation and the Alaska Community Foundation, and the Willow Fund at the Homer Foundation, for their generous financial support of Pier One’s summer youth theatre camps.
Youth theatre has been an integral part of Pier One’s history since the beginning and it is so very wonderful that we can continue those programs into the current year. This year’s camps included Theatre Play, two sessions of Stories on the Stage, the Theatre Skills Camp “Fit For Everything,” a week-long Skills Camp in Seldovia, the Mud Bay Bards “Cosmic Hamlets,” and our Production Camp which was a revival of Jean Brockel’s musical adaptation of Kenneth Grahame’s “The Reluctant Dragon.”
A big thank you to everyone who made these camps possible, as it is our honor to help steward the young thespians of tomorrow, today.
Jennifer Norton, Executive Director, Pier One Theatre Inc.
Thank You Homer Foundation’s Youth Advisory Committee
With great enthusiasm I would like to show thanks to the Homer Foundation’s Youth Advisory Committee for continuing to support us in our mission of enhancing community health, productivity, and social engagement.
Through funding from Homer Foundation’s Youth Advisory Committee, we were able to purchase an assortment of recreational equipment and provide a plethora of engaging opportunities for youth of the lower Kenai Peninsula participate in safe and healthy programming throughout the year.
Additional thanks go to the Homer Foundation’s Youth Advisory Committee staff, volunteers, parents, and youth who contribute to making this funding possible. Without their efforts our continued quest to reduce the stigma, unite community, and provide opportunities for youth to build their interpersonal skills, mindfulness, and self-reliance would not be possible.
Thank you for your recognition of the work we do with children and families in this community.
Rudy Multz , Child & Family Services Program Manager , South Peninsula Behaviorial Health Services
Regarding the Trump issues
Of course the American people are fed up with all the hoopla and fear mongering they read about Donald Trump in the media. But with respect to all the Trump issues we are burdened with, we know what we know about this alleged danger to our democracy through the part journalism has played.
Without facts you can’t find truth; without truth you cannot have trust. How can you have democracy without that?
Any reasonable person using diligence and desecration must conclude the independent media is the fabric that holds this nation together.
John A. Anderson, Kenai
Share the Spirit!
Here it comes. The holiday season is in full swing and as promised, here are the dates and details for Share the Spirit, in this, our 30th year.
Adopt-A-Families are needed. Would you, your family, business or friends group like to take care of a household in need? This is a delightful and fulfilling way to help your community during the holiday season and it’s completely anonymous. You can fill out an application in the foyer at Wells Fargo or just call 907-235-7466 and we will call you back.
“Gift” Trees will be up after Thanksgiving at Captain’s Toy Chest, The Homer Bookstore, Ulmer’s, Kachemak Gear Shed and Homer’s Jeans. The ornaments on these trees represent the wish or need of a needy child or their household. Visit a tree and choose one or two ornaments, follow the instructions and bring a Christmas smile to the child’s face.
The Spaghetti Feed is back. It will be held Wednesday, Dec.14 at the local Elks lodge, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. To-go orders will be available and can be ordered the day of, from 8:30 a.m. to noon by calling 235-2127. But better yet, come join us for lunch or dinner, or both, and enjoy local entertainment, including the wonderful Homer High Swing Choir. Many volunteers are needed for this event, and volunteers are asked to call 907-235-7466. Leave your contact information, we will call you back!
Volunteers are also needed Tuesday, Dec. 20, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (the earlier the better). Join us at thehigh school via the back loading dock and help pack the food and gift baskets. This is a heartwarming, back-straining day and it takes many hands to complete. So, gather your children and come as a group to help us weave the community donations together to share our spirit with those in need.
If you are in need this holiday season, applications are available now at local human service agencies, including the Anchor Point and Homer Food Pantries and at many houses of worship. Please reach out to one of those and get your application completed, so we can help your children and household for Christmas.
Thank you all, and please always remember to … Share the Spirit.
Shari Daugherty, Emmy Olsen-Drye, Jon Adams and Kelly Glidden