EXCLUSIVE: In comments to Fox News Digital over the weekend, actor and writer Kirk Cameron declared that he has “won” against two public libraries in this country that previously denied him the space and opportunity to hold a children’s book story hour program in their facilities — and that now are offering to work with him on room bookings after he challenged their denials and threatened to “assert” his “rights in court.”
In short, “they caved,” his publisher told Fox News Digital this weekend.
The public libraries — both of which held “drag queen story hours” in their facilities this past June, as well as other programs that promote and celebrate diversity of thought and belief — now are in communication with his publisher about the bookings for his story hour program for kids, he said.
Fox News Digital was shown the email exchanges between him and the two libraries as proof of the forward progress, as well as the details of the room bookings for later this month at the libraries.
Cameron, a well-known actor, writer and producer who first found fame on the TV sitcom “Growing Pains,” is the author of the new book, “As You Grow.”
It’s an illustrated children’s book and 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 its monthly subscription books service for families and children.
“Because you’ve been cared for, care for others,” Cameron’s book says, in part.
“Let your strength and gentleness be what draws others to you,” it also says.
Cameron is scheduled to speak at the Indianapolis Public Library in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2022.
He and his publisher were quoted a room rental fee of $725 plus taxes in order to secure a room at that library, Brave Books shared.
The following day, on Friday, Dec. 30, 2022, Cameron is scheduled to hold a story hour reading at the Scarsdale Public Library in Scarsdale, New York, roughly 25 miles north of Manhattan.
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.)
Said Cameron this weekend, “I’m happy that the two libraries changed their decision and will allow my voice to be heard and my book to be read,” in comments to Fox News Digital.
He added, “I hope they realized that their position of denying me a story hour reading was not only unfair and illegal, but that we would all be better off if we listened to each other’s perspectives.”
He said he hopes that “children from Indianapolis and Scarsdale can learn something about biblical wisdom and the fruits of the Spirit from ‘As You Grow.’”
Cameron also said, “I hope that this victory acts as a source of courage for Christians and conservatives across the country to be brave and not back down, making sure that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the darkness.”
Trent Talbot, CEO of the Texas-based Brave Books, told Fox News Digital over the weekend, “I love situations in which we have two ways to win and zero ways to lose. We forced these bullies to either take off their masks and show their true colors of unabashed anti-Christian and anti-American bias (as well as catch themselves in a spicy lawsuit) OR the bullies were going to realize that Kirk and Brave were here to fight and they would back down.”
As Fox News Digital has reported in the past few weeks, over 50 public libraries in major cities across the U.S. either outright rejected Cameron’s requests for a story-hour program for children or did not respond to his publisher’s inquiries, Brave Books said.
Recently, the library employee in Indianapolis who received the request for a Cameron story hour was not encouraging. The person’s response was that the library has “a strategic plan in place,” Brave Books related.
The individual added over the phone, “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.”
Similarly, the Scarsdale Public Library told Cameron and his representatives, “Thank you for thinking of us, but we are not interested in this program,” as both Cameron’s book publisher as well as the library itself confirmed.
Cameron and his publisher pushed back on rejections they felt were inequitable and inappropriate, given the array of other programs that are regularly held at public libraries across the country.
The Scarsdale Public Library, on its website, shares a message about its “vision.”
“Our transformed library will be known for its welcoming culture of possibility and accessibility, treasured as a place to read, write, create, discuss, listen, debate, connect and reflect,” the library says on its website.
“Committed to institutional reflection, innovation and professional excellence, Scarsdale Public Library will be a dynamic asset for our community and a leading public library.”
Fox News Digital reached out to both libraries for comment.
“It is incorrect to state that the library has changed its position,” said Elizabeth Bermel, director of the Scarsdale Public Library, in an emailed message to Fox News Digital on Sunday evening. “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.”
She added, “The library first received an inquiry on December 13th (and an application on December 16th) from the publisher to book the meeting room for December 30th.”
An attached statement went into more detail, noting that on Friday, December 2, the Scarsdale Public Library did receive a message via its website about a request to “schedule a story hour at the Scarsdale Public Library for a book by actor Kirk Cameron.”
The library said it sent Cameron’s representatives a link, and that they responded a few days later, saying, “We would love to schedule a story hour for Mr. Cameron’s book where we read ‘As You Grow’ and speak to families about following the wisdom of the Bible, as well as discussing the harmful effects of woke ideologies, specifically CRT and the transgender agenda.”
The library said it replied, “Thank you for thinking of us, but we are not interested in this program.”
Cameron and Brave Books told Fox News Digital that while they’re glad the book programs at the two public libraries are now moving forward, “neither library has offered any assistance as far as promoting [the] book reading, sponsoring it or simply asking more information about it to be able to better serve those who inquire about the event from library staff,” they said.
The two libraries “recently hosted and openly promoted events that solely favor diversity, equity and inclusion, but only for the few groups of people that these woke libraries cater to,” they said.
The Indianapolis Public Library has hosted events that it promoted on its site, including events that support Black Lives Matter — while in November of this year, the Scarsdale Public Library hosted a discussion about “Abortion in America Post-Dobbs.”
For another book-related event — this one in connection to the book, “The Nation That Never Was: Reconstructing America’s Story” by Kermit Roosevelt III — the Scarsdale library’s description read, “Should confederate memorials be torn down? Should we expand the Supreme Court? Is critical race theory valuable? Is our standard story of American history working for our country?”
It added, “These were all questions asked of University of Pennsylvania professor Kermit Roosevelt III by members of an audience of about 40 people [on] Nov. 19 at Scarsdale Public Library during a talk and book signing hosted by the library’s Teen Advisory Board.”