Frequently Asked Questions
What are the laws that allow/disallow sexually-explicit materials for minors?
In 1972, Idaho’s legislators clearly codified what’s defined as “obscene materials” regarding minors: LINK
Federal laws were enacted in 2000 and state laws have been enacted to protect minors from obscenity on library computers which were upheld by SCOTUS in 2003.
The Supreme Court has made it clear there is compelling interest in protecting minors from harmful materials.
Minors certainly have constitutional rights, but their rights different from adults. There is no constitutional reason that community libraries cannot take reasonable steps to prevent minors from accessing harmful materials. A library policy can be crafted to protect minors without infringing on the constitutional rights of adults.
Miller Test (1973) to determine whether materials are “obscene”:
(1) whether the average person applying contemporary community standards would find the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest;
(2) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law; and
(3) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value
According to SCOTUS, applying community standards allows for different local values and that communities ought to be able to self-determine according to their local values. Therefore, even though libraries have a legal defense that exempts them from Idaho’s minor obscenity laws (18-1517), there is no reason an elected library board cannot decide to honor the obscenity statute and ignore the exemption.
What’s the big deal anyway since kids know about sex?
Kids need to be ready to understand what they’re reading for this type of subject matter. According to the American College of Pediatricians, if kids are exposed to sexually-explicit materials before they’re mentally able to understand this complex and nuanced subject, there can be very serious consequences. LINK
Why do we need new trustees since the current board “implemented a new kid card policy”?
Facts about CLN’s "minor's library card" policy:
Was voted for the day before the election filing deadline; NOT "enacted" or "implemented" as the Meyer & McCrea campaign claims;
Minutes from the March 16, 2023 Trustee mtg:
McCrea moved to adopt the Library Cards for Minors Policy dated March 16, 2023, with a target implementation date for the Children’s card July 1, 2023, and the Teen card by January 1, 2024.
2. Meyer & McCrea did not tell the truth on their campaign literature.
3. Contains NO provisions for reclassifying sexually-explicit materials
4. Continues to allow access to sexually-explicit materials to minors age 12 and up (for examples, visit: CleanBooks4Kids
5. May cause parents to be more trusting and LESS LIKELY to screen their children's selections
6. Contains NO provisions for defining what is "age appropriate" for each category of cards
7. Has an upper age limit of 15, whereas the legal definition of “minor” is under 18 Source
Do the new CLN library trustees want to ban books?
New trustees Tom Hanley & Tim Plass intend to revise the materials for minors' policy:
Reclassify all the obscene books for minors to 18+ yr. old
Move all the obscene books for minors to 18+ yr. old areas
Use existing Idaho obscenity laws as the criteria
No book censoring or banning
No use of personal religion or morality for book evaluation
Movies and online games have ratings regarding sexual content. Additionally, minors are prohibited by law from all of the following (although various ages apply within various states): purchasing cigarettes, marijuana, alcohol and firearms, signing a contract, getting a tattoo, renting a hotel room or car, voting, entering an NC-17 movie, gambling, joining the military. So, there is legal precedent for restricting access according to age-appropriateness. This is not censorship.
Does CleanBooks4Kids want to ban certain kids’ books?
The “Books to Avoid" list curated by CleanBooks4Kids is solely intended as an information source for parents regarding the books’ subject matter. The booklist has this stated purpose boldly identified on the top of the list. LINK
Former CLN trustees Meyer & McCrea campaigned they would “protect our children.” So, why did voters reject them?
Concerned citizens tried for many months in late 2021 throughout 2022 to get the Community Library Network board to listen and enact changes regarding sexually-explicit books for minors. Dozens of excerpts of these books were read aloud to the board by concerned citizens. Despite that, the majority of the library board, including incumbent trustees Regina McCrea & Judy Meyer, declined to act. In fact, these two trustees asserted - even as late as May 2023 - that there’s “no obscenity in the CLN libraries.” WATCH
Their new minor card policy is riddled with issues and will not thoroughly solve this issue.