Craighead County to Vote on Reducing Millage for Library that Features Sexually Explicit Children’s Books

This November voters in Craighead County will decide whether to reduce the millage for the public library in Jonesboro.

The Jonesboro public library has been at the center of multiple controversies for nearly a year and a half — such as inappropriately hosting an LGBT Pride display in its children’s library, placing books with sexually-explicit images in its children’s section, and failing to adopt a policy that separates sexual material from children’s content.

Some of these books — such as Gender Queer and l8tr, g8tr — contain explicit images or descriptions of teens engaged in sexual acts.

Library officials have stood by their decision to share sexual material with children — even posting on Facebook that it isn’t the library’s responsibility to protect kids from obscenity.

The Jonesboro Sun reports that this November voters in Craighead County will decide whether or not to reduce the library’s millage from two mills to one mill.

Under Amendment 30 and Amendment 38 to the Arkansas Constitution, voters can circulate petitions to place a measure on the local ballot assessing a form of property tax — or “millage” — to provide funding for city and county libraries.

In Jonesboro’s case, property taxes for the library are currently two mills — or 0.002%. The ballot proposal would reduce the rate to one mill — or 0.001%.

Library officials in Jonesboro have said the tax cut would “devastate” the library and could force it to close, but news reports indicate the library has enjoyed a budget surplus of more than a million dollars for the past three years, and documents from the Craighead County Clerk’s Office show the millage tax provided more than $3.1 million in revenue for the library last year.

Even if the library were not spending public tax dollars on obscene children’s books, reducing the millage in Craighead County arguably would help balance the library’s budget and provide relief for taxpayers.

It’s ridiculous to think that a library isn’t to blame if a child finds pornographic or obscene material in the library’s children’s section.

Public libraries are supposed to be for everyone.

Families should be able to take their children to the library without worrying what their children might see.

Taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize graphic novels that depict explicit images of minors engaged in sexual acts.

Unfortunately, many libraries in Arkansas don’t seem to understand that.

Articles appearing on this website are written with the aid of Family Council’s researchers and writers.

State Library Catalog Reveals Graphic Sexual Content, Pro-LGBT Books in Children’s Sections

Above: a page from the children’s book GayBCs.

Arkansas’ statewide library catalog shows several books containing graphic sexual content are in children’s and young adult sections of libraries around the state.

According to the Arkansas State Library’s digital catalog, Mockingbird, the book Gender Queer is at libraries such as:

  • The Main Library in Little Rock
  • Terry Library in Little Rock
  • Fletcher Library in Little Rock
  • Bentonville Public Library
  • Crowley Ridge Regional Library
  • Eureka Springs Carnegie Public Library
  • Fort Smith Public Library
  • Calhoun County Library
  • Garland County Library

Gender Queer is a graphic novel that frequently has been challenged in schools and libraries because it contains illustrations that show explicit sexual acts involving minors.

The catalog also lists the book L8r, g8r — another book that contains explicit content — at the following libraries:

  • Bentonville Public Library
  • Bob Herzfeld Memorial Library
  • Grant County Library
  • Mabel Boswell Memorial Library
  • Malvern Hot Springs Central Library
  • CALS Maumelle Library
  • Arkansas River Valley Regional Library
  • Garland County Library
  • Fort Smith Public Library
  • Tri-County Regional Library System
  • Greenbrier Library

The book It’s Perfectly Normal — a children’s book that includes illustrations of nudity, sex, and homosexuality — was found listed in catalogs for libraries in Conway, Little Rock, and North Little Rock.

Several pro-LGBT children’s books also appeared in library catalogs around the state, including:

  • They, She, He easy as ABC published for children ages 3-7 (Cross County Library)
  • Bye Bye, Binary, a board book for babies and preschoolers (Crawford County Library System)
  • The GayBCs, a picture book for preschoolers and young children (Crowley Ridge Regional Library)

Unfortunately, there has been a growing trend of public libraries in Arkansas placing sexually explicit and pro-LGBT children’s books in their catalogs.

Parents have found graphic sexual material and pro-LGBT books in children’s sections at public libraries across Arkansas.

Communities can take steps to remove objectionable material from their local libraries.

Library boards and librarians have leeway to establish selection criteria and make decisions about the kinds of material available on the library’s shelves.

Library patrons generally can use a Material Reconsideration Form to ask libraries to remove inappropriate material.

And voters can call on their elected officials to enact laws protecting children from objectionable material in public libraries.

Articles appearing on this website are written with the aid of Family Council’s researchers and writers.