LITTLE ROCK (KATV) — On Tuesday night at 6 p.m., the sixth day of the sixth month (June 6), both branches of the Saline County Library system received copies of a Satanic picture book for children, published by the Satanic Temple.
The diabolical bedtime story is titled "The Satanic Temple Presents: Goodnight Baphomet."
"I don't agree with being able to put Satanic books in the children's area...really, I don't think it belongs in the library, period," said Deborah Leigh, a Saline County Library patron.
"There's enough evil in the world, we don't need to teach more," Leigh said.
The books were submitted by LeeWood Thomas, who expressed in a letter accompanying his donation that he submitted the books as a response to recent efforts by groups in Saline County to censor and effectively remove certain books, such as those featuring LGBTQ subject matter, from the children's section of county public libraries.
Saline County has been the latest Arkansas battleground in a nationwide fray over children's book censorship for several months now.
In April, the Saline County Quorum Court passed a resolution to remove books deemed inappropriate from the County Public Library's children's section.
In May, the Saline County Republican Committee and Saline County Republican Women sponsored a billboard saying "stop X-rated books" in Benton.
Books currently in the children's section of Saline County Libraries have already been challenged by concerned library patrons, notably the Saline County Republican Women.
"We've had some community members who are concerned about books in the library and relocating some books. And we have a couple of book challenges that we're working through right now," said Patty Hector, Director of the Saline County Library system.
Yet to be challenged, "Goodnight Baphomet" teaches children the seven tenets of the Satanic Temple.
"The donation is just like any other book, we're going to go through a selection process, we're going to see if it meets the criteria," said Kari Lapp, Community Engagement Manager for the Saline County Library system.
"If you read the book, the content really only goes through some good character traits for children. That's pretty much all that's in there. It's actually very similar to things that are already on our shelves as far as the overall content," Lapp said.
The Satanic picture book, unsurprisingly, has not received a warm welcome from several mothers enjoying the day at the Benton branch of the Saline County Library system expressed disapproval upon being presented with the book.
One who did not wish to be named said that "innocent children should not be subjected" to such material.
"The Saline County Library system is a public library for everybody in the community. In our collection policy, it states that we have a wide range of viewpoints, a wide range of ideas, that are for ethnicities, religions," Lapp said.
"I just say, come into the library and look at the books, and then we'll have a discussion about them," said Hector.
The Saline County Library has not yet accepted "Goodnight Baphomet" into its collection, and the book will undergo the same selection process as any other book.