Rogers Public Library Declines to Remove Sexual Content From Children’s Section Despite Objections

Last week Family Council wrote about sexual material and pro-LGBT books in the children’s section of the Rogers Public Library.

Family Council has obtained a copy of a letter from the Rogers Public Library rejecting a patron’s request to remove one of the books — Sex Is A Funny Word — from the library.

As we have written before, library patrons typically can use a Material Reconsideration Form to ask a library to remove inappropriate material from circulation.

According to the rejection letter, the patron asked the Rogers Public Library to remove Sex Is A Funny Word because the book promotes gender dysphoria and child sexuality — particularly masturbation.

The letter notes that the library opted to keep the book, because it “is a uniquely inclusive and diverse resource on the topic of sex education.”

Below is a copy of the library’s letter opting to keep the book.

According to the American Library Association, Sex Is A Funny Word was frequently challenged at libraries nationwide in 2017 and 2019 because of its LGBT content and sexual material and because of concerns that the book would lead children to “want to have sex or ask questions about sex.”

Libraries don’t have to put books like this one in the middle of their children’s sections.

There is only so much shelf space available in a library. That’s part of the reason why library boards and librarians have leeway to establish selection criteria and make decisions about the kinds of material available in a library.

With that in mind, it would be entirely appropriate for a library to remove a book like Sex Is A Funny Word from circulation — or at least separate it from other children’s books.

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

Children’s Books at Rogers Public Library Contain Pro-LGBT Material, Sexual Content

The Rogers Public Library’s catalog includes children’s books that are overtly pro-LGBT and contain sexual content.

Picture books and board books like ‘Twas the Night Before PRIDE, What Are Your Words?, and Bye Bye Binary promote transgender ideology to preschoolers and young children.

The library’s online catalog indicates that these books are available among other children’s picture books at the Rogers Public Library.

The children’s section also hosts the book Sex Is A Funny Word by Cory Silverberg. The library describes Sex Is A Funny Word as, “A comic book for kids that includes children and families of all makeups, orientations, and gender identities, Sex Is a Funny Word is an essential resource about bodies, gender, and sexuality for children ages 8 to 10 as well as their parents and caregivers. Much more than the ‘facts of life’ or ‘the birds and the bees,’ Sex Is a Funny Word opens up conversations between young people and their caregivers in a way that allows adults to convey their values and beliefs while providing information about boundaries, safety, and joy. . . . Sex Is a Funny Word reimagines ‘sex talk’ for the twenty-first century.”

The library catalog also includes titles such as Making A Baby — a book written with help from LGBT leaders that “covers sex, sperm and egg donation, IUI, IVF, surrogacy and adoption” — and When Aidan Became A Brother — a book about a little girl who decides to become a boy.

These books are intended for children as young as five years old.

Sex education material and pro-LGBT picture books don’t belong on the same shelves as Goodnight Moon. Families should be able to take their children to the library without worrying about what their kids might accidentally find in the children’s section.

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident.

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

So what can families do if they find pro-LGBT children’s books in their libraries?

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.

Updated: Jonesboro Public Library Doubles Down on Exposing Children to Pornography and Obscenity

Updated 3/2/2022 at 11:00 AM: As of Wednesday morning, it appears Jonesboro Public Library’s Facebook post has been taken down. Original blog post is below:

Above: A screenshot of the Jonesboro Public Library’s statement implying that it is the parents’ fault if children encounter pornographic or obscene material at the library.

On Monday the Jonesboro Public Library made a statement on Facebook asserting that the library isn’t responsible if children see pornographic or obscene material on its shelves.

Last year the library made headlines after a lawsuit revealed that extremely graphic material was on the shelves in the children’s section of the Jonesboro library. Some of the material was so explicit that it could not be shown on television, and Family Council did not feel comfortable sharing it on the Internet.

Since then, the library’s board has failed to adopt policies that would move explicit material out of the children’s section of the library.

Under Arkansas law, it is a crime to distribute obscene material — that is, material that depicts or describes sexual conduct in a patently offensive manner and lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value. Arkansas law restricts pornographic material as well, and it is generally against the law to sell or loan pornography to minors.

However, Arkansas law contains exceptions for obscene material distributed by a school, museum, or public library. It isn’t against state law for one of these institutions to distribute obscene material — even to children.

Obviously, that is a loophole in state law that many people find troubling.

The Jonesboro Public Library’s Facebook post from Monday quotes the American Library Association on censorship and pornography, writing,

What About Protecting Children From Pornography, Whether Or Not It Is Legally Obscene?
The primary responsibility for rearing children rests with parents. If parents want to keep certain ideas or forms of expression away from their children, they must assume the responsibility for shielding those children. Governmental institutions cannot be expected to usurp or interfere with parental obligations and responsibilities when it comes to deciding what a child may read or view.

The statement tries to use parental rights and responsibility to justify putting obscene material where kids may find it in a public library.

The Jonesboro Public Library basically is saying that if kids see obscene material on the shelves in the children’s section, it’s the parents’ fault — not the library’s.

Despite all of this, communities still can take steps to remove obscene or 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. That is something that many people have asked the library board in Jonesboro to do.

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

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

It’s ridiculous to think that the library isn’t in any way to blame if a child finds pornographic or obscene material in the library’s children’s section. Unfortunately, the Jonesboro Public Library appears to be saying exactly that.

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