Library board sticks with policy despite parish president’s letter

The Livingston Parish Board of Control opted to maintain its current policies on challenging books despite a letter from Livingston Parish President Layton Ricks asking to remove certain books from the children’s section to the adult section of parish libraries.

The motion passed unanimously Tuesday night to uphold the current policy for challenging books and display the policy in each library branch and online.

The Livingston Parish Council passed a resolution in August in support of the letter from Ricks.

“The age of consent in Louisiana is 17. The legal drinking age is 21. That is important because it is evidence that our society believes young people below a certain age must be protected,” Ricks said in his letter. “They are too young to make certain decisions because the wrong decision could be very harmful.

I don’t want my grandchildren picking up a book in the public library that contains questionable sexual content,” Ricks added. “Why can’t our children be children anymore? When they become adults, they can frequent adult bookstores if that is what they choose. But for now, they are vulnerable children.”

Despite the letter and public comments, the board decided that anyone who has concerns about a book is to follow policy and fill out a Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials form.

The form allows residents to file complaints against books they may consider inappropriate, which then goes to the library staff to review and suggest action to be taken if deemed necessary. There is no set timeframe on the process, according to a staff member at the Denham Springs-Walker branch.

The argument over restricting access to certain books began at the library board meeting July 19th when member Erin Sandefur brought an item titled “book content” to the agenda.

During that meeting, Sandefur had a list of eight books to consider restricting access to, with content including a preschool-level picture book about transgender identities and a dating guide for teenage boys with a sexually explicit illustration.

As of Sept. 21st, no books have been banned or moved to another section of the library.

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