The Madison Public Library said Thursday it will not be able to host Saturday’s Moms for Liberty Brave Books event due to space limitations.
However, Moms for Liberty is not making alternative plans, organizer Emily Jones of Madison said.
And, the library may face legal repercussions if it fails to accommodate the event, according to a law firm representing Brave Books and actor Kirk Cameron, who is slated to appear at the event.
“We write to inform you that, should you persist in the cancellation of this event, you will have engaged in unlawful and unconstitutional religious viewpoint and content discrimination in violation of the Alabama Constitution and the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” said a statement from the First Liberty Institute law firm. “We therefore request that you respond by Noon Friday, August 4, 2023, confirming Brave Books and Mr. Cameron may utilize the Madison Public Library to host the ‘See You at the Library’ event on Saturday, August 5, 2023.
“Should you refuse, we are prepared to vindicate this violation of our client’s civil rights in court.”
In its statement, First Liberty said, “Until yesterday, you supported the event in Huntsville, AL at every step, including offering a large room at the Madison Public Library branch to accommodate the 250 local residents who plan to attend. However, upon learning that Mr. Cameron and his friend and Brave Books author, Riley Gaines, will be attending in person, you abruptly cancelled the event citing ‘security concerns’ from a potential protest of Mr. Cameron and claiming the event exceeds the library’s capacity.”
However, the Huntsville-Madison County Library System never mentioned “security concerns from a potential protest” in its statement Thursday.
The library system said, “Due to the event’s anticipated attendance increasing beyond the Library’s capacity, the Library will be unable to host the event. Initially, the organizers of the event reported 20 attendees to library officials. On Tuesday the Library learned that event organizers are now expecting over 300 people, a number that far exceeds any meeting room capacity within the Huntsville-Madison County Library System.”
On Wednesday, the library notified Moms for Liberty and Brave Books it was no longer available to host the event.
“The Library explored options to make the event logistically possible by consulting the Madison City Police, the Madison City Fire Marshal and City officials,” the news release said. “After discussing the logistics of the event with both the Library and the event organizer, the Madison City Police Department and the Madison City Fire Marshal have recommended that the event be held at an alternate location.”
Madison city officials said the anticipated attendance grew quickly and Moms for Liberty wasn’t able to apply for a permit in time to host the event in Madison.
“The City of Madison applies permitting regulations for outside events equally to all groups and organizations,” the city said in a statement. “While the initially planned event was suited for the Madison Library’s capacity, the scope of attendees quickly grew. The Moms for Liberty group failed to apply for an event permit in advance, and it was determined that city resources cannot support an event of this size on such short notice.
“Alternative accommodations have been recommended to the organization to ensure a safe and well-attended event.”