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An Alabama public library reversed its decision to cancel a Moms for Liberty book reading event featuring actor Kirk Cameron and women’s sports advocate Riley Gaines. It will now allow it to take place on Saturday.
The Huntsville-Madison County Public Library System announced Wednesday that the Madison Public Library could no longer hold the event after the scope of attendees quickly grew from approximately 30 to 300, citing concerns about security and capacity. After backlash and a letter from law firm First Liberty Institute, the library system reverted back to allowing the event, Fox News reported.
“I’m happy to announce that Madison Public Library has reversed course and are now rightfully inviting us to come host the story hour for the community in Huntsville,” said Brave Books CEO Trent Talbot.
“We must stand our ground and fight for our public institutions,” he added. “The foe we fail to meet at the gate in our own generation is the foe we let into the city for the next.”
The event, held by publishing company Brave Books, is part of a “See You at the Library” national tour in nearly 300 libraries in 45 states. After Cameron announced on social media that he would attend, protesters threatened to crash the event.
As more people began expressing interest in attending, the library asked if the organizers needed additional space to accommodate a larger crowd. They initially declined, suggesting holding the event outside. However, after local law enforcement confirmed threats of protests from a group out of Birmingham, they were advised to move the event to a private location. But the organization stayed firm on its position to hold the event in the public space.
Brave Books immediately challenged the decision to cancel the event, and law firm First Liberty Institute sent a letter to the library system, stating it was “prepared to vindicate this violation of our client’s civil rights in court,” Fox News reported. Moms for Liberty organizers Emily Jones and Elizabeth Stewart previously told The Daily Wire they disagreed with how the library system and the Madison City Police Department wanted to address the safety concerns.
“It was a directive on how to manage our group and not the protesters,” Jones, the organization’s Madison County chapter chair, said. “To me, that just indicates that [the police chief] is not interested in making this event go well. He wants it to go away.”
The event, led by Cameron, star of the 1980s sitcom “Growing Pains,” seeks to allow conservative Christian families to meet at public libraries around the country as an alternative to the controversial drag queen story hours targeting children.
Cameron and Gaines were not originally scheduled to appear at the Madison County event, but Jones said she received a separate email earlier this week stating that the two national conservative celebrities planned to attend.
“I freaked out on Elizabeth and shouted and kind of did a happy dance,” she said.
The organization and Cameron shared the news on social media, drawing more attention to the event.
“The response was overwhelming,” Jones said.
Join me this Saturday, August 5th, for the first National 'See You at the Library’ day with thousands of faithful Americans for a day of singing, praying, and reading.
1. TENNESSEE: We will be at the… pic.twitter.com/N9fK2EirAz
— Kirk Cameron (@KirkCameron) August 3, 2023
Brandon Drey contributed to this report.