Idaho Trustees Apply Harmful-to-Minors Law to Collection Access

Idaho Trustees Apply Harmful-to-Minors Law to Collection Access

In the process of revisiting for the third time whether minors should be denied access to two books about sexuality, the board of the Nampa (Idaho) Public Library approved June 2 policy changes that restrict children’s access to any holdings that may fall under the state’s harmful to minors statute.

First, trustees voted 3–2 to keep The New Joy of Sex and The Joy of Gay Sex off the shelves and in the director’s office, where patrons must specifically request them to access them. The board moved the books to the director’s office in March by the same 3–2 vote in response to a patron whose quest to have the books removed altogether was first considered by trustees in 2006. “I don’t think it’s inappropriate for a community to say, ‘I think we should limit [access],’” board member Kim Keller said.

Keller, who wrote the motion to keep the books sequestered, also proposed requiring parental permission for minors to access any books the library may purchase that state law deems “harmful to minors”; that motion also passed 3–2, the Idaho Press-Tribune reported June 3. Trustee Bruce Skaug also introduced a policy, which barred the library from buying movies rated NC-17 or X; it passed 3–1 with one abstention.

Library Director Karen Ganske noted that she was unaware of any items in the collection with those MPAA ratings. Trustee Sandi Levi countered that NPL owned an unrated DVD of The Vagina Monologues, which she characterized as including graphic language, and declared, “I would not want my child, my friend’s child, checking that out,” Levi explained, according to the Press-Tribune.

A June 4 posting at the socially conservative blog for the Idaho Values Alliance offers “kudos to [Nampa] Mayor Tom Dale, who appointed family-friendly members to the board to replace members who insisted that gay porn remain accessible for young children.” Dale confirmed to American Libraries in 2006 that he had e-mailed a concerned constituent that he would “help the board understand that they do have broad authority in determining the books placed in the library collection, and their status therein.”

Posted on June 6, 2008. Discuss.