Librarians in Wyoming face criminal ‘obscenity’ charges for stocking LGBT+ books in teen sections

Young woman reading book in library at college

Librarians in Wyoming could face criminal “obscenity” charges for stocking LGBT+ books in sections aimed at teenagers.

Prosecutors are reportedly considering whether to bring charges against Campbell County Public Library staff over their decision to stock young adult books about sex education and LGBT+ issues.

The library, which is based in the city of Gillette, has faced protests and backlash in recent weeks over a number of books focusing on LGBT+ issues, according to the Associated Press.

Those books include This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson, How Do You Make a Baby by Anna Fiske, Doing It by Hannah Witton, Sex is a Funny Word by Corey Silverberg and Dating and Sex: A Guide for the 21st Century Teen Boy by Andrew P Smiler.

Local pastor Susan Sisti branded the books “absolutely appalling” and said they “should not even be in a public library”.

On Friday (1 October), County Attorney Mitchell Damsky said he had asked a special prosecutor to offer an expert opinion on whether or not obscenity charges should be brought against library staff.

LGBT+ books branded as ‘disgusting’ by local conservatives

Damsky said the furore had gotten “out of hand”, adding that it would never have escalated if librarians had bowed to public pressure and removed the books from the teen sections.

He is now seeking advice from an outside prosecutor to determine whether they should bring charges.

“Personally, as a parent, I find the material to be just inappropriate for children and disgusting,” Damsky told the Associated Press.

“But as a lawyer I’m sworn to uphold the constitution and that’s why we are dealing with it with a fine-toothed comb.”

The case came to prosecutors’ attention after Sisti, alongside locals Hugh and Susan Bennett, filed a complaint with police about the books. The case was subsequently referred on for obscenity charges to be brought forward.

The incident comes just months after a trans magician was forced to cancel a planned show at the Campbell County Library when she received threats over her gender.

Speaking to PinkNews at the time, Mikayla Oz said she was booked because library staff had heard “really good reviews” about her show.

However, she faced relentless abuse from locals when the library announced that she would be performing in the library to mark Pride Month.

LGBT+ themed books aimed at children and teenagers often find themselves at the centre of controversy – particularly in the United States.

The American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) tracks the most banned and challenged books in libraries across the United States – and LGBT+ themed books have featured heavily on its lists in recent years.