Library Board to consider HB-710 ramifications June 20

Boundary County LibraryAs of July 1, Idaho libraries will have to adhere to the “Children’s School and Library Protection Act,” otherwise known as HB-710 that amends section 18-1514 and creates 18-1517B in the Idaho code. This law prohibits libraries and ‘their agents’ from promoting, giving or making available to any minor materials that may be harmful to them.

For the Boundary County Library, this law may require a number of changes to be decided upon at the June 20 meeting. Board Considerations:

  • The law makes very clear the kinds of materials that are definitively harmful to minors, namely those sexual in nature and delivered by reading, observation or sound. Books included in the minors section will need to be screened for these kinds of situations in accordance with the definitions in 18-1514.
  • The enforcement mechanism is a $250 reward for individuals who bring a successful lawsuit against an offending institution, as well as civil damages. No criminal penalties are attached to offenders beyond what is already in Idaho law. Only the child directly harmed or their parent/guardian can make a claim.
  • With minor changes, the library’s existing materials reconsideration policy is sufficient to provide the necessary prerequisite steps before legal action but will need to include
    18-1514 per the new law (18-1514B(7))
  • 18-1514B(2c) broadens the definition of offensive material to “Any other material harmful to minors”. Since this is a subjective definition, the safest way for the library to avoid liability is to close the entire adult collection to minors. Using the existing coding system that labels books as “Adult” “Young Adult” and “Children” the library doesn’t need to expend precious time and resources reviewing and reclassifying every book in the collection, especially considering that time is a factor.
    • ‘Closed to Minors’ may have to be defined as to whether a parent can bring a minor child into the adult stacks with them.
  • ICRMP (The insurance company for the Boundary County Library) has declared hands-off on this issue and any legal action stemming from this law will need to be defended using the library’s own budget and resources.
  • Separation of minor collections: all visual materials, magazines, coffee table books, book sale items, etc. will need separate homes in the adult and children’s sections.
  • Patrons with minors on their library account may need to sign an additional release of liability, as well as review the appropriate policy changes before their children can check out books after July 1.
  • Even with prior approval, minor children may not be able to check out books from the adult section without a guardian present.
  • Discussion of appropriate signage and responsibilities of library staff to enforce restrictions, as well as appropriate level of scrutiny will be had.

For the full text of the law, click here. Questions or comments concerning the law itself can be directed to state lawmakers who enacted it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.