Neither rain nor wind deterred Kirk Cameron fans from turning out for his latest library appearance.
Patrons lined up outside in the rain Saturday to hear the Christian actor read his children’s book “As You Grow” at the Placentia Library in Orange County, California, the first West Coast event of his anti-woke counter-cultural library tour.
He wound up reading his book five times to accommodate all the parents and children who came to hear him, said Erin Kukowski, public-relations coordinator for Amplifi Agency.
“I’m very excited to be joining forces together with you, so keep up the great work, you guys!” Mr. Cameron told the crowd.
Mr. Cameron has drawn full houses since he began his book tour last month, renting space in meeting rooms after more than 50 libraries rejected or ignored requests to host the former teen star despite previously hosting Drag Queen Story Hour events.
“Wow! What a beautiful day at Placentia Library!” tweeted Brave Books, the book’s publisher. “Thank you to every parent, child & grandparent who showed up today to make this event a smashing success!”
Wow! What a beautiful day at Placentia Library!
— BRAVE Story Hour (@BraveBooksUS) January 14, 2023
Those promoting the event included Calvary Chapel Chino Hills, a prominent megachurch that encouraged its members to attend, tweeting, “No more will the family of faith be shut out from the public square!”
On the other side was the LGBTQ Center Orange County, which issued a “call to action” for its supporters, noting that Mr. Cameron “recently has publicly opposed drag queen story times.”
“We encourage our network to gather in support of LGBTQ individuals/youth and show that this rhetoric is harmful to our community,” said the center in a social-media post.
A small band of protesters came out to demonstrate, as shown in photographs. Drag Story Hour executive director Jonathan Hamilt said he has discouraged protests, warning that they could fuel a “right-wing media” narrative pitting drag queens against Mr. Cameron.
Like other libraries renting space to Mr. Cameron, the Placentia Library issued a statement distancing itself from the reading, emphasizing that “Mr. Cameron’s reading is not a library program, and therefore, not a sponsored or partnered-event with the Placentia Library District.”
“The use of the room does not constitute an endorsement of policies, or beliefs of the group or individual using the room,” said library director Jeanette Contreras in a Thursday statement.
The library, located about 30 miles southeast of Los Angeles, appeared to anticipate a good-sized audience, warning that parking was limited and that “[d]ue to the room capacity, it is expected groups of attendees will be rotated throughout the event.”
Brave Books estimated the crowd at 1,000 people, while the library administration pegged attendance at about 700. The room rental was $250, said Ms. Kukowski.
Mr. Cameron, who drew overflow crowds at previous readings in Indianapolis, Scarsdale, New York, said he wants to take his free library readings to as many cities nationwide as possible, citing the enormous public enthusiasm for his book’s Christian-themed message.
“I don’t think any of us really realized how strongly this message of wanting to return to biblical wisdom and the fruit of the spirit was going to resonate in the hearts of these moms and dads,” Mr. Cameron told The Washington Times in an interview last week.
He added that “my book should not be controversial.”
“We’re talking about teaching children about love, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control, and yet we were denied by over 50 woke libraries who have hosted drag queen story hours,” he said.
Mr. Cameron’s next reading is scheduled for Jan. 18 at the Williams Public Library in Williams, Arizona, according to the Brave Books website.