Maziarka said she first learned about sexually explicit teen literature by looking at the library's Web site. "I couldn't understand why we were recommending books on sex to teens ... and we're not talking about hickeys; these are crude and raunchy books."
Maziarka said she is not in favor of book burning or banning but would like several books, including "Baby Be-Bop," moved to a separate section in the library and be clearly identified with a warning label indicating the book is "sexually explicit." She said her organization has nothing to do with the Christian Civil Liberties Union.
West Bend Library Director Michael Tyree has been at the 62,000-square-foot facility for 15 years. Until recently, his library meetings have been placid affairs, sparsely attended by the public. But lately, Tyree has had standing-room-only crowds in excess of 300, all clamoring for a chance to speak.
Meetings are now regularly posted on YouTube, and tensions run high. "I heard one city council member say we are a porn shop," Tyree said. "People go to church now and hear we have a porn pit here ... you know many of these people making the accusations don't even have library cards."
As the father of twin 16-year-old boys, Tyree thinks the protestors and the book-burners are missing the point. "My son, Josh, said, 'Dad, nobody our age reads anymore."
Tyree said his son wonders why people are so worried about a book that will take three hours to plow through because kids in study hall can get to explicit sex sites in 20 seconds on their phones. "Reading is not where kids get information about sex acts these days," Tyree said.
The author at the center of this literary firestorm, Francesca Lia Block, has published dozens of books for young adults and adults. Block is upset by the calls to publicly burn her book and defends her work.
In an e-mail message, Block said the themes in her books cover "equal rights, self-expression and the healing power of art and love."
Block added, "I am certainly not anti-Christian in any way and respect true Christianity."
Braun said the library board has three months to act on his claim, which was confirmed by city officials. The city of West Bend's insurance company is looking into the matter.
In an apparent attempt to soften his complaint, Braun did say that fire codes may prevent any actual burning of the book, so he would be satisfied if the library "buried it, ripped it up, or shredded it."