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Idaho library rejects ban, agrees to put sex books on top shelves

By The Associated Press
06.24.06

NAMPA, Idaho — The Nampa Public Library Board, saying that a small group of people should not be allowed to impose their will on the community, has decided not to remove a sexually explicit book from library shelves.

But the board at its June 19 meeting did approve moving The Joy of Gay Sex, along with as many as 60 other books with sexually oriented topics, to the highest shelves where they would be out of the reach of children.

Library Board Chairman Sharon Brooks said the issue was not about the content of one book, but about whether individuals should be able to remove material they don't like from a public library.

"If one title is challenged, what will be next?" she said.

In December, after being rebuffed by the library board, Nampa resident Randy Jackson asked the Nampa City Council to remove The Joy of Gay Sex and The Joy of Sex from the Nampa library. The books contain drawings and photos of sexual activity.

"I'm very disappointed that the library has decided not to represent the needs of the family," said Jackson. "It's hard, even if you are an involved parent, to keep them away from that. I don't feel like I should have to blindfold my kids when I take them through the library."

Trustee Laurene Stanford participated in the meeting by telephone.

"A public institution cannot guarantee protection from ideas we don't agree with," she said. "Parents are responsible for their children."

Jackson said he planned to meet with concerned citizens and city leaders to discuss what step to take next.

Nampa Mayor Tom Dale and Councilman Stephen Kren told the library board on June 19 that they wanted The Joy of Gay Sex removed.

"This is about a particular book that is particularly graphic," Dale told the library board. "This needs to be a safe place for our kids."

Dale said there was a clear consensus in the community that the book should be removed.

Library Board Vice Chairman Barry Myers disputed that, and said he had received mixed feedback from the community.

Board Trustee Bruce Skaug offered a motion to remove The Joy of Gay Sex from the library but it was not seconded.

"I'd rather my 9-year-old take up smoking than see the pictures in this book," Skaug said.

A motion was then made to relocate sexually oriented books to the highest shelves and for library employees to make more checks so that sexually explicit materials are not left on tables or furniture.

That motion was approved.

About 50 people attended the meeting.

Holly Franklin, a Nampa mother of four visiting the library on June 19, said she didn't worry about her children selecting books with inappropriate material.

"Usually I kind of let them roam," she said. "My 6-year-old has a good head on her shoulders and she'll get Christian books."


Update
Idaho library takes 2 sex-ed books off shelves
Nampa board votes to store The New Joy of Sex and The Joy of Gay Sex in library director's office, making them available only on request. 06.07.08

Related

Idaho library board: Kids can keep access to disputed books

NAMPA, Idaho -- The Nampa Library Board will not overrule a decision by the library's staff to keep two controversial books in the juvenile nonfiction section. 07.09.99

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