Saline County Quorum Court members vote to remove “inappropriate” children’s books from the county library after a contentious hearing
Saline County, Arkansas – Members of the Saline County Quorum Court voted in support of a proposal to prevent children from accessing books that are judged improperly in the county library after a contentious hearing held Monday night.
The resolution addresses books whose alleged sexual content or imagery makes them inappropriate for young readers.
People for and against the resolution lined up outside the courtroom more than an hour before the meeting even began in order to acquire a space inside. The topic generated considerable debate in the county. Public comment was open to 53 participants for a maximum of 75 minutes.
The resolution’s supporters claimed it was a no-brainer because it prevents children from viewing pornographic material, which could have a serious negative influence on their development at such a young age.
Conservatives, according to opponents, are using this as a negotiating tactic to ensure that children are not reading books that don’t support their ideology. Those opposed to it cited novels about the LGBTQ+ community or racial issues that they believed were singled out in the name of protecting youngsters.
Many erroneous claims have been made regarding what will change as a result of this resolution, such as the banning of books or the defunding of libraries, according to the resolution’s sponsors and supporters.
The resolution will just move the books out of the children’s section and into another area of the library, according to the sponsors, who affirmed that this is not the case.
Members also rejected a Monday night amendment to the resolution that would have enabled a parent or guardian to ask for a child’s moved book, which was a touch more lenient than the initial proposal.
The resolution was passed shortly after a bill from the most recent legislative session was signed into law. Act 372 removes protection for library staff members and expands the definition of sexual content under the state’s endangering the welfare of a minor statute.
Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Jonesboro) and Rep. Mary Bentley (R-Perryville), the bill’s sponsors, attended the meeting tonight.
The members admitted that the new law would have affected their library whether or not the resolution existed, but they are hoping that it will be made easier to comply with by this resolution.
One Saline County Republican Woman, Angela Gray, said that it was she who first alerted the court to books she had discovered in the Saline County Library that she claimed were dangerous for children.
Several court members wrote the resolution, according to Gray, after she addressed the court in two different meetings.
After being passed, the resolution is said to take full effect. The quorum court members indicated Monday night that as they start making adjustments, they will work with the library however is necessary.