Nothing wrong, as such, with the idea of a private as opposed to a public library.

Henry Huntington created a rather outstanding private library at his estate in San Marino, and now it’s very much open to the public, including the rarest books therein, especially if you are a scholar who can simply show your work would benefit by access to them.

But I somehow think that the greater good of scholarship and freewheeling literacy isn’t exactly what the City Council majority is up to down in HEH’s namesake community of Huntington Beach as it seeks to privatize its longtime public library system.

During the meeting last month in which they authorized the city to explore contracting with a private company that runs formerly public libraries, the majority pretended that they made their move out of a mere interest in economic efficiency.

They did not. They authorized the negotiation to jettison the public library “after former Mayor Mike Posey reached out on behalf of his employer, Library Systems and Services, to ask if the city was interested in having them take over running the library,” as the Voice of OC reports.

It’s not about saving money for taxpayers. It’s about establishing an adult review board intentionally made up of non-librarians overseeing which books are purchased for the children’s section.

This is part of the national conversation started by MAGAs who don’t want to say gay, don’t want those bad trans kids switching sexes just so they can win swim meets, don’t want interesting books on the shelves.

Mayor Gracey Van Der Mark made it clear this is part of the anti-pointy-headed-intellectual movement during the meeting. “It seems a little elitist that you don’t think we’re as worthy as you are ‘cause we don’t have a degree,” she said. “(The government) are the only ones that have any control right now, so I will bring the parents in.”

Lucky me, I got the best of both worlds as a kid. My school-librarian mother had a master’s degree in library science. She filled the house with so many books, both as a mom and a pro. When I flew the coop, she gifted me a subscription to The New York Times Book Review so it could be in loco parentis with the recommendations.

The craziest part here, really, is the books the MAGAs are freaking out about. “City Council candidate Chad Williams was one of the most outspoken supporters, highlighting a picture book titled ‘The Big Bath House’ that is carried by the local library,” the Voice reports. “‘This is normalizing adults bathing nude with children, this is a pedophile’s dream,’ Williams said. ‘You’re wondering why we need to resort to this so-called privatization. It’s because the city staff can’t stop showing adult privates to our children.’”

This sounded nuts, so I looked the book up. You know what it’s really about? “A joyful celebration of Japanese cultural traditions and body positivity as a young girl visits a bath house with her grandmother and aunties.” Named one of the best books of the year by Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews and The American Library Association.

Talking to a group of the bookish at a recent convention of archivists, Duke University professor Paul Jaskot told them, at the outset, “It’s wonderful to be with some of my favorite people in the world, the librarians who hold the world together.”

That’s what they do. To characterize that profound and happy work as elitist, especially when it comes to teaching our children that glories abound, is a slur against our culture, which the librarians bring to us.

Huntington Beach, don’t let the snide local pols close the book on the big and beautiful world.

Larry Wilson is on the Southern California News Group editorial board.