I started to make a comment on social media, but instead decided to write an opinion piece/editorial here on FishersTOS.com. I want to address the elephant that one library board member keeps dragging into the room – so to speak.
Many of you have seen pictures. Pictures that are very questionable. Pictures which many define as sexually explicit. If you attended HEPL board meetings earlier this year, these pictures were printed on a poster board and fully displayed for anyone (kids and adults) to see. People have messaged these pictures to me – unsolicited. People have tried to post them on to my social media page that has focused on our local schools. I rarely delete comments on that page, but I deleted the pictures. Library board member Micah Beckwith held them up to the camera in a webcast this past week, has displayed them on his own page, and often references them.
I agree – the pictures are not something I would want my kids to be exposed to, especially when they were younger. I consider the images not appropriate. That’s my opinion, thus I don’t display them. After all, it is my belief anyone that thinks something is truly inappropriate, would not then turn around and share it publicly. That would also be inappropriate.
The pictures are all over the internet as the prime example of “porn in the kids section”. The pictures are from the book “Let’s Talk About It.” You can find this book at the library or order it online if you are so inclined.
Let’s clear up some confusion.
Our library (HEPL) reviewed this book. They reviewed it before Mr. Beckwith and some of the other radical members joined the library board. The used the review policy the library had at the time.
And the book was moved out of the kid section.
The old policy was in place. The book was moved. The issue raised regarding the book was resolved regarding shelving. There might have been other discussion points involved in moving the book, but it was moved and has been out of the kid section ever since. There was not a lot of fanfare, there wasn’t social media campaigns, and there wasn’t a lot of people showing up at library board meetings protesting the move.
I mention this because that book continues to get brought forth as the example of “porn in the kid section.” That book is even referenced by the current HEPL board members as examples of where the library is failing to protect kids. Yet that book has not and has not been in the kid section of the HEPL buildings during the time several members have been on the board and since the time the current lawyers has been on the board. Yet a new policy was created using that book as an example even though the old policy worked.
The summation of this is that when someone starts yelling fire about a given topic. It is worth stepping back and seeing if the fire has already been put out before you start fanning the flames. It seems to be coming a regular occurrence that the examples used on social media and by politicians to get people riled are often examples that are no longer relevant or have been disproven. A little research can shed a lot of light onto a topic.
And before you start naming other books, it is worth pointing out that the library has an average of less than one book a month challenged. The last book that was challenged and brought up in an HEPL board meeting was the book “Why? A Conversation About Race“. It contained nothing sexual. It was also moved out of the kid section by a decision of the HEPL board (which went against their review committee’s recommendation of leaving it). If here are books with issues, then challenges can be filed. Hopefully, however, anyone filing a challenge is doing it for themselves and not because they want to dictate what access others have to books.