INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Kirk Cameron, an actor and Christian children’s book author alleges the Indianapolis Public Library denied a story hour of his book “As You Grow” based on his skin color and religion.
The library refutes these claims.
In an open letter penned to the library’s acting CEO, Cameron said in part, “As I understand from my publisher, your strategic plan for author visits includes a push for ‘authors who are diverse.’ By that, we were told, you mean to limit your diversity purely to ‘authors of color.’ You may understand why it surprised me to learn that the Indianapolis Public Library — committed to inclusivity as it appears to be — elected to exclude me based upon my skin color and the religious beliefs espoused in my new book.” (The full statement of his letter can be found below.)
The library said this is not true and issued a statement to News 8.
There was no “change of position” in handling this request. IndyPL staff never told Mr. Cameron or Brave Books that they cannot rent a room to hold their own program. The publisher has booked a lovely room at one of our locations at our regular events rate. Similar to a wedding, a corporate meeting, baby shower, or a girl scout meetup, any author or community member is able to book a room for an event, regardless of whether or not IndyPL is a “partner” for the event. When events are the result of a paid room booking rather than a planned partnership, we do not promote or advertise them on our website or elsewhere.
We have a programming department that handles Library events, and they do not say yes to everyone who asks to work with them. Declining to partner on or promote a program happens often and is not a unique circumstance.
Indianapolis Public Library
News 8 followed up this statement to ask how the library determines who to partner with and the library said, “There are several factors that determine whether we might partner on an event or program. The Library certainly does not discriminate based on race, religion, or any other protected status when considering these partnerships.”
Cameron said he was “surprised” the library declined to have an official partnership for his story hour. He said in part, “I hope you will revisit that request.”
Cameron will hold a reading of the book on Dec. 29 in the Indianapolis special collections room and will pay the required fee to have a private event in the building.
In his letter, Cameron said he sent a copy of the book to the library. The library also confirms it purchased copies of the book because there is patron interest in it.
Open Letter to Gregory Hill, CEO of The Indianapolis Public Library
RE: BRAVE Books Story Hour with Kirk Cameron
Enclosed is my latest children’s book, As You Grow, published by Brave Books, LLC. In it, the reader follows the growth of a massive tree through its many seasons of life, from sapling to fully matured. While it grows, we learn positive character traits we all desire for our children, such as love, joy, and gentleness. The book is yours to keep and we hope you will stock it on your shelves so your patrons can enjoy it for years to come.
So many of our communities, perhaps like yours, are facing rates of crime, abortion, and murder well above the national average. I believe the children in your community would benefit from hearing a message teaching Biblical wisdom as I explain in my new book.
One of the aspects that has always made this country great is the free expression of ideas essential to an informed citizenry. That is why I was surprised to learn from my publisher that you were not interested in having me join your patrons for a reading of my new book.
I hope you will revisit that request. As I understand from my publisher, your strategic plan for author visits includes a push for “authors who are diverse.” By that, we were told, you mean to limit your diversity purely to “authors of color.” You may understand why it surprised me to learn that the Indianapolis Public Library–committed to inclusivity as it appears to be– elected to exclude me based upon my skin color and the religious beliefs espoused in my new book.
Concurrent with the sending of this letter, my publisher has completed an application for use of the Indianapolis Special Collections Room on December 29th, 2022 at 10 AM. I know that rooms like the Special Collections Room are made available to the community in order to “provide access to ideas representing all points of view on all subjects.” We will of course forward the appropriate rental fee and furnish any further information you may require as you require it.
I hope our mutual commitment to the sharing of knowledge and the free expression of ideas will afford me the opportunity to sit down and talk about my book with your patrons, bringing entertainment and comfort along with a profitable discussion that will be a blessing to everyone who attends. You may coordinate our “BRAVE Books Story Hour with Kirk Cameron,” along with any promotional items you may need, directly with my publication team at Brave Books. Zach Bell, Chief of Staff at Brave Books may be reached at email@example.com at your convenience.
1 look forward to seeing you in Indianapolis on Dec. 29th.
Kirk Cameron’s open letter to the Indianapolis Public Library regarding accusations of discrimination