Clean up public library’s shelves
Letter to the Editor | June 15, 2012
I never realized that public libraries were in the business of loaning out pornographic books filled with bondage, sadism and masochism (“Library agrees to supply controversial bestseller,” news, June 7). I was especially surprised to learn from this article that our local library is planning to do so.
Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I thought public libraries were there for the public good, to enrich people’s lives and minds. How does a book such as “Fifty Shades of Grey” enrich people’s lives or their minds? And why does our local library feel the need to supply this book to its patrons?
Vicki Patterson, a local librarian and one of the review board members who approved the book, says it’s because “a book this much in demand should be available to the public.” Well, Ms. Patterson, the book is available to the public through various other means than a library, including countless bookstores, online, etc. Her reason that the book is in great demand is not a valid reason for the library to supply a pornographic book to the public. That used to be what X-rated bookstores were for.
Another member of the review board who also approved the book, Jim Boyd Jr., stated that he absolutely did not want a 12-year-old to read “Fifty Shades of Grey.” He went on to say “the library cannot assume the responsibility of requesting identification at the check-out counter …” If that is the case, that no one’s age will be verified before they can check out this book, then there is nothing that I can see that will prevent a young child, such as the 12-year-old Mr. Boyd is referring to (or an 11-year-old or 10-year-old), from checking out and reading this book. Could a lawsuit against the library then ensue from a parent who claims the library personnel allowed their young child to “view” pornography?
I don’t know the answer to that question. I do know it’s very sad that in Bay County, gone are the days when parents could drop off their young kids at the local public library and know they were in a safe and “clean” environment, reading about interesting and wonderful things like bugs, polar bears, the solar system, ocean creatures and so on. Now at the library, parents have to worry about their kids getting their hands on a pornographic book.
Other public libraries across the country took the high road and refused to offer the book. Shame on you, Northwest Regional Library System, for not doing the same.