Feb. 20, 2007
Hey kids, want to see a R-rated movie? Whats that? Your parents wont take you to see and the video clerk wont rent it to you because youre under age? No problem. Just get the movie from your local librarian.
Libraries in Johnson County will let anyone, regardless of age, check out an R-rated movie. This news surprised Sally O’Rear. She found out the hard way. She saw her 13-year-old daughter with the movie.
ORear said, I want people to know you can go out there to the library and check these out. I want to be that voice to say, ‘Hey parents wake up. Look this is what’s going on.’”
For O’Rear, it is not so much that the movies are available. She wants the staff to help monitor what kids are doing inside the library. She said, I feel the parents should keep an eye also, but I feel the library needs to put up notification.”
North Liberty librarys assistant director Jennie Garner said, We can’t be baby sitters. We can’t monitor everyone’s age.” Library staff will tell you blocking kids from any material at the library is unconstitutional.
Garner said, Anyone, including minors, has the right to access any materials under the First amendment.”
The American Library Association’s website offers a “sample answer” that librarians can give when parents ask about such policies:
Kids can’t rent R-rated movies at the video store, or buy Playboy at the newsstand. Why won’t you use the same common sense restrictions at my public library?
* Those types of rating systems are voluntary, and libraries make them available to assist parents and others in making decisions for their families and themselves. As librarians, we strongly encourage parents to take an active role in monitoring what their children see and view, but as public employees, it’s not appropriate for librarians to make those decisions for them.