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Proposal targets certain library books: Homosexual, explicit content would be moved

Jennifer Mock Modified: March 10, 2008 at 2:04 pm •  Published: March 9, 2006
Editors note: HB 2158 did not pass into law(3/10/08)

Public libraries across the state will risk losing state funding if they do not segregate books with homosexual or sexually explicit material if legislation passed out of a House committee Wednesday becomes law.

Supporters of House Bill 2158, by Rep. Sally Kern, R Oklahoma City, say parents should decide whether their children can have access to these books. The bill would require the state Board of Libraries to withhold state funding if a public library does not comply with the new regulations.

Opponents say the legislation is too subjective and will cost libraries especially those in rural areas with limited staff money and time.

Librarian doesn't know where to begin Jennifer Greenstreet, a librarian at the Ada Public Library for more than 20 years, said she wouldn't know where to begin to find all the books in her library that may contain sexually explicit or homosexual passages.

Greenstreet said the bill does not clearly lay out what books must be included in the special section. She said it would take time to go through all of her books to decide which ones have questionable material.

"A million questions come up, she said. "What books will be put on that shelf? Books with a line or two, or ones with a whole section?

"As librarians, with limited money and a diverse community with diverse needs and interests, I think we try to do the best we can in making book selections to meet those needs.

Greenstreet doesn't see any way to ensure that all books containing a sexual reference are separated into a different section.

Proposal intended to protect children Kern said the bill is meant to protect children and empower parents to decide what their children can read.

"The mind is the greatest computer ever made, and what we put in it will come out later, said Kern, a former teacher. "If we expose children to sexual material without parental knowledge and guidance, we're programming them for destruction.

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