Community standards being respected by the local library. Topeka hits a home run.
(FYI: Your unsafe WB Library carries "The Joy of Sex - 613.96 C734" for minors to access. One of many.....)
Vote, 5-3, goes against director’s recommendation
Mixed public reaction
In a 5-3 vote that contradicted the recommendation of the library director, Gina Millsap, and has drawn warnings of a lawsuit, the board of the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library agreed yesterday to restrict minors’ access to four books: Sex for Busy People (LJ review); The Lesbian Kama Sutra; The Joy of Sex; and The Joy of Gay Sex.
“We believe our request will maintain a consistency with other restricted access that is already in place at the libraries, i.e., Playboy, R-rated films, and computer access,” Kim Borchers, of a group called Kansans for Common Sense Policy, had written the library. “We believe these books are [harmful to minors]. If you have any doubt, upon viewing ask yourself the following: If these books were in film what would they be rated, could the local paper print excerpts, if the “affirmative defense” were no longer in statute could the library maintain its current policy?”
Millsap, the library’s executive director, sent a letter to the board warning that Borchers’s request violated the library’s materials selection policy, which says customers may not restrict the access of others and that the library does not label materials to make value judgments. Borchers’s request that the books be shelved behind a desk, thus requiring patrons to ask for them, would violate the library’s user confidentiality policy.
However, Millsap warned of unintended consequences and a slippery slope should the library start restricting materials by age.
Millsap asked that the board affirm its current policies but make two changes that, in a sense, responded to Borchers’s argument: to lift the restriction on R-rated films in the collection and discontinue the practice of putting certain magazines behind the service desk, including Playboy. (It is not uncommon for libraries restrict magazines like Playboy and Consumer Reports to prevent theft.) Those changes were not approved.
Deborah Caldwell-Stone, deputy director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, told LJ the action most resembled the decision last year by the board of the Nampa Public Library, ID, which voted to move two books, The New Joy of Sex and The Joy of Gay Sex, into the director’s office.
(A very busy lady, indeed, fighting to keep your community under national control.)