As actor-writer Kirk Cameron prepares to hold story-hour programs connected to his new children’s book at two public libraries next week after they initially rejected his inquiries, some local residents where he’ll be speaking have expressed their disapproval — including of Cameron himself.
“We can show this voice that he [Cameron] means nothing to us by simply not listening to him,” wrote two residents of Scarsdale, New York, in a joint letter to the editor published on that town’s largest community website a few days ago.
“We don’t want to support this voice’s attempt to generate controversy, divide people, push an agenda, raise his profile and make money off it,” the residents also wrote, in part.
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Noting that they moved to the town to “raise our children” in a “wonderful community,” the two writers added, “What makes us not so typical is that we have a child (they/them) who identifies as LGBTQ+ and is moving along the gender spectrum. As they were assigned male at birth, the assumption is that they are a boy, but they are not.”
The couple then described Cameron as “an anti-LGBTQ+ actor-writer” — and said their “initial reaction” to discovering he would appear at their library “was to organize a peaceful gathering” against him.
The couple now say, however, that “the right response to this event is — nothing,” they asserted in the same letter.
Another letter to the editor, posted just a day later on the same community website, said — as part of a much longer note — “This situation has landed at our door, unwelcome, and we can pull together and not allow this ugly agenda to divide us.”
“We can pull together and not allow this ugly agenda to divide us.”
This second letter went on, “We can be people who respect this guy’s right to rent our space, and we do, but we do not have to listen to him or feed his craving for attention.”
KIRK CAMERON IS DENIED STORY-HOUR SLOT BY PUBLIC LIBRARIES FOR HIS NEW FAITH-BASED KIDS BOOK
The individual went on, “And we can tell our own stories, without diminishing each other, or anyone else … The library is under no obligation to promote” Cameron’s program “and we can ignore it, too.”
Cameron previously told Fox News Digital that he simply wanted the chance to present a reading connected to his new book, just as public libraries — which are funded largely by local taxpayers — have opened their doors and their rooms to a diverse array of other groups and programs, including “drag queen hours.”
Both the Scarsdale Public Library and the Indianapolis Public Library system in Indianapolis, Indiana, hosted “drag queen story hours” in June at their libraries.
As of this writing, both libraries still have promotional notes for those events posted on their websites.
There is no calendar listing or announcement, however, for Cameron’s upcoming book events at those libraries.
Cameron, a well-known actor, writer and producer who first found fame on the TV sitcom “Growing Pains,” is the married father of six children, including four children whom he and his wife, Chelsea, adopted.
His new illustrated children’s book is part of a series that celebrates the positive qualities of kindness, joy, patience, compassion and other biblical values. The book is published by Brave Books as part of a monthly subscription books service for families and children.
As of publication time, it is the no. 1 best-selling book on Amazon for children in the “teen & young adult Christian values & virtues fiction” category.
“It is the policy of the Library Board of Trustees to provide all members of the community with equal access to library resources and facilities.”
Fox News Digital reached out to the Scarsdale Public Library for comment on the two anti-Cameron “letters to the editor” that were published about the forthcoming book event there on Dec. 30, 2022.
“While I am unable to comment on an opinion piece,” wrote Elizabeth Bermel, director of the Scarsdale Public Library, in an email response to Fox News Digital, “I feel it is important for me to emphasize that the Scarsdale Public Library is committed to our mission of encouraging the joy of reading, the exploration of ideas and the pursuit of lifelong learning for the children and adults of our community, as well as equity, diversity, inclusion and respect for all community members.”
The rental of the library’s Scott Room costs $200 for four hours and then $75 for each additional hour “for-profits/individuals,” the library notes in its schedule of fees. (Local nonprofits and other nonprofits are charged less.)
Cameron told Fox News Digital recently, “I’m happy that the two libraries changed their decision and will allow my voice to be heard and my book to be read.”
Two public libraries recently engaged with Cameron’s publisher for room bookings.
Earlier this month, Cameron’s publisher reached out to over 50 public libraries across the country expressing interest in booking a room for a story-hour program connected to his new book — something that libraries regularly host as part of their offerings to local communities.
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Those libraries either told Cameron and his publisher outright that they were not interested in having him present a program — or did not reply at all to his requests.
Recently, the Scarsdale and Indianapolis libraries engaged with his publisher via email for room bookings.
Cameron’s publisher confirmed with Fox News Digital that their upcoming room rentals are complete and that the events are scheduled to take place in the week ahead.
The Scarsdale library says on its website in relation to the event, “The library has several spaces available for members of the public to reserve and/or rent. These are to be used to further the library’s informational, educational, cultural and recreational goals.”
It continues, “It is the policy of the Library Board of Trustees to provide all members of the community with equal access to library resources and facilities. Such resources and facilities are available equitably regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of those who seek to use them.”
“Thank you for thinking of us, but we are not interested in this program.”
It goes on, “Granting permission to use these rooms does not constitute an approval or endorsement of any individual or group by the library, the Library Board of Trustees, or the Village of Scarsdale.”
It acknowledged, however, that its initial reply to requests by Cameron’s representatives to schedule a story hour for him was, “Thank you for thinking of us, but we are not interested in this program.”
Yet in recent comments to Fox News Digital, it said, “It is incorrect to state that the library has changed its position. The publisher and Mr. Cameron were never denied the opportunity to book a room. Rather, they never previously requested to book the library’s meeting room.”
The library also notes in a statement, “The [Cameron] event is not a library-sponsored program, but rather a meeting room rental, that cannot be rejected based upon political or religious content under the First Amendment.
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Fox News Digital reached out to Brave Books, Cameron’s publisher, for comment about the latest events, including the library’s denial it had “reversed course.”
Trent Talbot, CEO of Brave Books, said, “The libraries are lying in order to avoid a potential lawsuit.”
He added, “We messaged these libraries asking to ‘schedule a story hour.’ Any sane person would take that as scheduling space.”
“They still are sponsoring ‘drag queen story hours’ but they refuse to sponsor Kirk’s book. That’s a huge deal.”
By contrast, he said, “If we wanted them to sponsor a story hour, we would have said, ‘Would you be willing to sponsor a story hour program?’”
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Yet that is not what Cameron’s publisher or his representatives did. They were clear from the start, he said. Talbot also said, “They still are sponsoring ‘drag queen story hours’ but they refuse to sponsor Kirk’s book. That’s a huge deal.”
As of publication time, there are no listed notices for Kirk Cameron’s upcoming book events at either library.
Some local residents have complained they cannot find listings for the Cameron event. A reader wrote in, saying, “I went to the events section of the Indianapolis library, entered the date of [Dec.] 29th, but I cannot find the event so that I can register. I am not sure if I am overlooking things or if something more is going on.”
‘Same opportunity the drag queens had’
After his publisher’s efforts to book space or hold programs in a variety of libraries were rebuffed, Cameron pushed back.
On Monday, Dec. 12, Cameron told Fox News Digital exclusively, “Today, I sent a letter to the directors of the Indianapolis Public Library (in Indianapolis, Indiana) and Scarsdale Public Library (in Scarsdale, New York) asking for the same opportunity the drag queens had this year to use a room in their libraries so I can read my new book and talk about love, joy and gentleness — character traits I think we all want to see in our children.”
He also said that he was “prepared to assert my rights in court.”
It was shortly after that, his publisher told Fox News Digital, that the two libraries began to communicate with him and his publisher regarding the booking of rooms for his story-hour event.
As part of its timely outreach to libraries, Brave Books contacted the Indianapolis Public Library’s central location about a possible story-hour presentation by Cameron, it shared earlier with Fox News Digital.
“We are really looking at authors who are diverse. Authors of color. That’s really been our focus.”
The library employee who received the initial request was not encouraging. The response was that the library has “a strategic plan in place,” Cameron’s publisher was told.
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The individual added, “Generally when we have author visits, those are coordinated through our departments. We really have a push. We have a strategic plan in place, so we are really looking at authors who are diverse. Authors of color. That’s really been our focus.”
When a Brave Books staffer replied that Cameron’s new book for kids contributes in its own way to a diverse array of ideas and beliefs, the library representative replied, “Well, we are focusing on racial equity,” as Fox News Digital previously reported.
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Cameron is now booked for a room at the Indianapolis Public Library for Dec. 29. The next day, he’ll travel to New York for a program at the Scarsdale Public Library, on Dec. 30.
His book publisher said it is continuing to look for opportunities for him to share the messages of his new children’s book in other locations as well.