The library board meeting took a turn from routine business June 12 at Loma Colorado Main Library as many people signed up for public comment to speak on the topic of banning books. It was also interrupted by someone hacking the meeting’s Zoom link.
The conservative group Mass Resistance(MR), which has targeted LGBTQIA books in several states this year, promotes itself as a pro-family activist group while others classify it as a hate group.
Mass Resistance has also targeted several books at the Rio Rancho City Council meetings and now the library board meeting.
Michael Jackovich, the only MR speaker at the board meeting, repeated his concerns that these books are against library code in that they are pornographic.
Prior to public comment, Jackovich and Claude King had a short tiff over King’s shirt.
After someone said they liked King’s shirt, Jackovich turned around. King said, “Turn around because you’re not going to like it,” in reference to his shirt.
Jackovich started to bless King with prayer for his soul. Then he said, “I hope you die and go to heaven.”
King and his wife both said, “We don’t believe in that.”
Library staff told Jackovich he couldn’t harass people while in the library boardroom.
“His shirt is harassing me,” Jackovich replied.
The staff insisted that he maintain a professional manner or he would be removed, so the bickering ended.
Following the altercation between the two, the board meeting begain, and Jackovich used public comment to address the board.
“We will be challenging a variety of books which we have checked out to review their contents,” Jackovich told board members.
He also asked the question: “Do we want our children, our grandkids, to view pornography or transgender documentation materials in our library?” to which the pride group answered, “Yes” in unison.
Shortly after he addressed the board, he left the room.
Then, to Library Director Jason Shoup’s dismay, the Zoom link was taken over by videos of men pleasuring themselves and moaning.
Shoup apologized to the group as a whole saying, “For the record, whoever participated in that is banned from the library.”
The city is currently investigating the Zoom incident but has yet to uncover a culprit.
The public comment continued, though several people were laughing afterward.
While Jackovich focused on the library code, many of the pride supporters thanked library staff for writing a resolution for the library card policy.
State Rep. Kathleen Cates, District 44, returned to support her LGBTQIA constituents as well.
“I am grateful to the peace officers being here. Please protect our libraries. It just really scares me. I don’t want to see anything happen to them over something so subtle,” she said with tears in her eyes.
Many librarians in the media have been attacked on social media and some have been reported to law enforcement over the book ban issue in other states.
State Sen. Brenda McKenna, whose district covers parts of Rio Rancho, Bernalillo and Albuquerque, got emotional as well.
“I can’t think of anything more upsetting to me than in light of everything that this country has been through and what we’re witnessing in other countries right now that we would be entertaining the very notion of putting public literature away from those who want to read it,” she said.
In the end, library board members thanked everyone for showing up and thanked the city for understanding the resolution.