NAMPA, Idaho — The Nampa Public Library Board has voted to permanently remove two sex-education books from library shelves, storing them instead in the library director’s office and making them available only on request.
The board voted 3-2 June 2 to have The New Joy of Sex and The Joy of Gay Sex kept off shelves for good, following up on a March meeting when the board voted to temporarily move the books to the director’s office.
The books, which contain drawings and photos of sexual activity, first drew criticism in 2005 from Randy Jackson, director of a Christian activist group called Youth 4 Revolution, based in Nampa.
Board members in 2006 unanimously rejected Jackson’s request to remove the books from the shelves. But three new board members had since been appointed by Nampa Mayor Tom Dale. All three, Bruce Skaug, Kim Keller and Sandy Levi, voted to remove the books.
The board also voted to prevent readers under age 18 from checking out the books unless they have parental approval.
“I think this is a huge victory for our community,” Jackson told the Idaho Statesman. “That’s pretty much what we wanted. I would hope the people who were opposed to removing the books would see this as a compromise.”
Library Board Chairwoman Rosie Delgadillo Reilly and member Barry Myers opposed keeping the books off the shelves.
“Putting them in an inaccessible area goes against what a public library is all about,” Reilly said.
Keller said the vote would not establish a precedent for possible future challenges of books or other material in the library.
“I will not vote now, or ever, to consign them to the same fate as the two titles of discussion today,” Keller said.
The board also voted to amend library policy to restrict minors from having access to any new books the library obtains that have graphic sexual illustrations.
The board also prohibited the library from obtaining X- or NC-17-rated movies. Library director Karen Ganske said she didn’t think the library had adult-rated movies in its collection.
Ganske said material in the library has been challenged before but, in her 30-year experience, that resulted in the removal of just one book, one on marijuana because it contained outdated research. She said that book was replaced with an updated book.
As for the two books consigned to her office, she said June 3 that they were both checked out. She said there’s conjecture some people have been checking out the books to limit the opportunity for other people to view them, and that some check them out because they want the information the books contain.
“We’ve got some of both, I’m sure, but I can’t prove either one,” she said.