Residents are calling on East Central Regional Library (ECRL) to remove a book they consider “inappropriate” for children. Parents and community members stood before the ECRL board Monday morning to voice concerns while a few opened up about why they support the book.
The book, “It’s Perfectly Normal,” features illustrations of people having sex, putting on condoms, masturbating and other sexual activities.
The board meeting was not recorded, but Cambridge resident Gary Lantz provided Alpha News with an audio recording he took during the meeting.
Lantz told Alpha News that there are six copies of the book within the library system, which includes 14 libraries across the east central area.
“I have checked with law enforcement and law enforcement has verified that some of the images in this book do actually qualify as pornography,” Lantz said at the board meeting.
Lantz told Alpha News that he works with men to break free from sexual addictions.
“Not one man that I’ve worked with didn’t start out with these kinds of pornographic images at a young childhood age. Not one. I’ve seen marriages destroyed. I’ve seen, you know, families torn apart, children devastated as a result of this,” Lantz said.
According to Child Protection League, school and library officials are allowed to distribute pornographic materials because of something known as the “Obscenity Exemption Statute.”
For several months, dozens of residents have asked the library system to remove the book, but library officials won’t listen, Lantz said.
“This book numbs children’s natural inhibitions and arouses their curiosity on sexual matters. It also violates and breaks down their natural modesty,” one person said during Monday’s board meeting.
“I think that book is an abomination. No child should read it. Parents should be responsible to educate their children, not some dirty, nasty book,” another person said.
Others who attended the meeting said they want to keep the book on the shelves because libraries should be a place for all voices to be heard.
“I have read the book and how I was introduced to this book was we had a number of parents who have asked about it in the store. They find it as a valuable resource when talking to their kids going through puberty,” said Judith Kissner, owner of Scout & Morgan Books. “We all know children, with just one or two clicks online and they’ll find a lot of harmful information about sexuality. So it is quite frankly refreshing to me to see a book whose sole purpose is designed to keep children safe.”
Kissner said the book can help children avoid sexually transmitted diseases, unplanned pregnancies, and is “really about keeping children safe.”
According to a book review by Barbara Anderson, the content of “It’s Perfectly Normal” fits “the profile of a child molester’s strategy as defined by the FBI.”
Anderson said Michael Heimbach of the Criminal Investigative Division with the FBI testified before a U.S. Senate committee on May 1, 2002 that child molesters:
1. Demonstrate sex acts to children.
2. Lower the sexual inhibition of children by showing pictures of children engaging in sexual activities.
3. Desensitize children to sex.
4. Sexually arouse children.
“It’s Perfectly Normal uses all four of these strategies. It normalizes high-risk sex acts such as anal and oral sex, and grooms children for child abuse,” Anderson wrote.
The author of “It’s Perfectly Normal,” Robie Harris, was on Planned Parenthood’s national board of advocates. The book is promoted and distributed by Planned Parenthood.
“We really need to protect our kids. It destroys them like I said before, spirit, soul and body and there’s better ways to deal with this kind of stuff,” said Lantz.
On Monday, ECRL board members decided to establish an ad hoc committee to look into the matter. The committee will provide recommendations to the board at its Aug. 8 meeting in Cambridge.
Alpha News reached out to ECRL Executive Director Carla Lyndon but did not hear back.