“We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?” – Guy Montag (character in Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451)

On February 2nd, a pastor in Tennessee, “hosted” a burning as a part of the church’s “Deliverance from Demons” series. “We have a Constitutional right and a Biblical right to do what we’re going to do tonight. We have a burn permit, but even without one a church has a religious right to burn occultic materials that they deem are a threat to their religious rights and freedoms and belief system.” – Greg Locke

The community was encouraged to bring items associated with witchcraft, Locke specifically mentioning the Harry Potter and Twilight books. It was a spectacle that, according to Locke’s Facebook page, brought out Homeland Security. Guess what it also brought out? A counter protester, one that brought another item to burn. The item, a bible. Hmmm, from the video taken of the event, it took a minute for the other participants to realize what had happened. There was cheering, then silence when he yelled “I burned the Bible!” Keepin’ my copies of Darwin’s Origin of Species and Fahrenheit 451!” – Chris Hardin, the crowd then turned on Hardin and he was escorted off the premises.

Personally, I am not cool with the burning of ANY books, yep, that is right, NONE of them. Come on people, the least you could do is have a recycle event, giving the books you don’t approve of to your local recycling center, or better yet, let it be. Let people make their own choices. Just because you don’t approve of something, does not mean that everyone agrees with you. I am speaking about Hardin AND Locke’s congregation. Don’t worry, I can hear Christians telling me that it is their duty to witness by spreading the word and saving all the wayward souls. I get it, I mean Jesus told them to do so. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Jesus – Matthew 28:18-20

“Books and libraries have been targeted by people of all backgrounds for thousands of years, sometimes intentionally and sometimes as a side-effect of war.” – Lorraine Boissoneault, Smithsonian Magazine. In 213 B.C., Chinese emperor Qin Shi Huang ordered a bonfire of books as a way of consolidating power in his new empire. The destruction (contents and structure) of the Library of Alexandria occurred multiple times, including in 48 B.C. when Caesar chased Pompey to Egypt and when Caliph Omar invaded Alexandria in 640 A.D. The destruction of the US Library of Congress during the war of 1812, Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, Mao Zedong, the list goes on, all the way up to a Tennessee pastor in 2022.

It is okay to be bothered about things, things you think are important, or real. You, not everyone else. Did you get that? Be bothered, but don’t assume all are on your side. I have a couple of patrons that I thoroughly enjoy, even aware that there are a multitude of things we do not see eye to eye on. I know one of them reads the bookworm faithfully, he has told me that his mom and him would fight over who would get to read it first. He recently lost her and I have not seen him for a while, we miss him. I am pretty sure neither of these guys would ever condone burning books, see, they respect knowledge, choices, individuality, yes, they know where they stand, right beside their fellow man, or even that crazy woman at the library that likes the Potter and Twilight books, right along with the Bible.

I will leave you with 2 quotes: “One must always be careful of books,” said Tessa, “and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.” – Cassandra Clare and “‘Remember, the firemen are rarely necessary. The public itself stopped reading of its own accord.’” – Faber, Fahrenheit 451

Don’t burn the books, and for heaven’s sake, don’t stop reading.

Upcoming Events: 2/16 Story Time at 10am, 2/19 Story Time at The Ranch House at 9am. 2/21 CLOSED. We have a few weeks left for the Young Adult Reading Challenge (Adults can participate), swing by the library for more information. See less