The Jackson Parish Library Board held a Special Called meeting this past Thursday primarily to discuss the disposition of two controversial books that certain individuals had asked to be removed.
In additional action, board members Paula Essmeier, Judy Cooper, Lisa Nunn, Ann Standley, Vicki Jenkins, Robin Tew, Carol Massey, and ex-officio Police Juror, Amy Magee, agreed to sale the old bookmobile to the highest bidder and acknowledge upcoming training dates and trustee meeting.
The books in question were Families, Families and Families and London Séance Society. Each was asked to be removed from the shelf due to their content which some felt was not appropriate.
The verdict is in.
The books will remain on the shelf.
Only it wasn’t really the Library Board that made the decision to keep them available. Rather it was the guidelines set forth by 2023 LA Acts #436, which was enacted as LA R.S.25:225 to assist parish and municipal libraries in the implementation of this law.
Act #436 puts forth procedures that gives public libraries the ability to censor inappropriate reading material and limit the access of minors to sexually explicit materials. It also goes into detail on what is to be considered as “inappropriate” and “sexually explicit material.”
The issue about Families, Families, and Families was first brought to the attention of the Library Board in June when a few parents said it carried a veiled reference to LGBTQ beliefs.
Knowing the sensitivity of the situation, board members reviewed the book and then sought advice from officials of the Louisiana State Library and the Attorney General.
What was received was a letter from the State Library of Louisiana, who provided Act 436 Implementation Guidance after receiving counsel from the state Attorney General’s office.
“Selecting materials that serve the needs of our community is a vital part of operating a library. The Board of Trustees takes this responsibility very seriously and has established a materials selection policy for selecting materials to appeal to a community of diverse opinions, tastes and beliefs.” – State Library of Louisiana
Neither of the books in question met the guidelines that would allow for censorship of the material.