From Supreme Court decisions to lower court rulings, there have been a number of ‘wins’ for the First Amendment and free speech the last few weeks. The American Library Association (ALA), however, apparently hasn’t gotten the memo.
The non-profit organization – which exists “to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all” – is attempting to thwart a national effort led by Kirk Cameron and publisher Brave Books to host “See You at the Library” events on August 5.
On Friday’s show, Cameron joined Megyn to discuss his new children’s book, Pride Comes Before the Fall, and the ALA’s efforts to censor right-of-center content and voices.
Cameron vs. ALA
Cameron and faith-based book publisher Brave Books have been encouraging families to reserve space to gather at their local libraries on August 5 to “pray, sing, and read Brave Books and other books of virtue.” The national event is called “See You at the Library.”
It now appears as though there is a coordinated effort from the ALA to prevent these meetups from taking place. Brave Books obtained a recording of ALA Director Deborah Caldwell-Stone giving a presentation in which she indicated the organization was looking to “exploit loopholes to block Brave Books story hours.”
In the video, she can also be heard offering tips and tricks on how to limit meeting room reservations connected to the event in an effort to “keep control of your library.”
Megyn called Caldwell-Stone’s message “unbelievable,” especially when you consider the so-called ‘drag queen story hours’ and other ‘woke’ content that has been allowed in schools and libraries as of late. “It’s so sad when we were coming off a month in which we saw… debauchery on the streets of America in front of children, corner by corner, shoved in our faces on the news every night,” she lamented. “And then you try to organize one day in which others across the country could go into their public library and have a reading of [virtuous] books – it doesn’t have to be yours – and this is what has so offended the American Libraries Association.”
Standing Up for Free Speech
In one of the more spectacular parts of the recording, Caldwell-Stone suggests the First Amendment does not require public libraries to give space to events like the ones Cameron and Brave Books are trying to organize. “She is precisely trying to block people from peacefully assembling in a public library to speak about and exercise their sincerely held values about loving God and loving their community,” Cameron said. “This is all about keeping control of the libraries in the hands of librarians and the way you do that is by making up things that aren’t there to block families from reserving a reading room for their own kids.”
He believes this situation “pulls back the curtain and shows you that the ‘great wizard’… is really a group of people who are breaking their own laws.” While the ALA’s mission, in Cameron’s words, is “to protect the rights of all people to have access to information regardless of their views,” not all views make the cut. “That’s what the drag queen stories are all about,” he said. “But it’s what they’re not doing when it comes to people like you or me or millions of others who want to talk about faith, hope, and love.”
In Cameron’s opinion, the goal should be more speech, not less. “It’s interesting that the people who are screaming the loudest about book banning – like the pornographic books that they’re wanting to keep in the libraries and then they don’t want them banned – are actually the same people who are the most intent on banning books,” he said. “We want open discussion… let everybody talk. Don’t cancel them. Don’t censor them.”
Ultimately, Cameron has a simple question for the ALA: “Why all the hate,” he asked. “I thought I learned the rule – it’s about diversity, it’s about equity, it’s about inclusion – so why are you excluding us?”
You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Cameron by tuning in to episode 583 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.