Patrons must stay vigilant on library materials

As far as I know, our library is well run. I have always been treated well and the staff has gone out of their way to be helpful. I think we have a very capable and devoted library director.

Great! So is there a problem? I don’t know? I hope not. But I read the T-R article of Feb. 9, 2024 titled, “There is a war on libraries.” The focus was on Iowa HSB678 which, if I understand right, would take power for library decisions from library boards to “elected officials” of a city council.

Why? This bill was sparked by an incident in Pella, where the book Gender Queer was placed on the shelves of the library. Parents objected because they saw it as too sexually explicit and not age appropriate. The library board refused to remove it. What to do? Give the decision to “elected” officials?

In the T-R Feb. 12, 2024 editorial written by Gladbrook librarian Lynne Sash, she said this did not happen in a vacuum. She states: “A primary trigger is the availability in public libraries of explicit sexual materials aimed at minor children.” Maybe this is a “War on Children.”

One would hope that library staff and board would have a high standard of putting developmentally appropriate material for children first over the agendas of political activists who care nothing about what is appropriate for children outside of their narrow aims. However, we see respect for parents and their children eroding all over the United States. Who do you trust?

If staff or board members of our library are aligned with a political party that promotes such radical ideas and has no respect for traditional family values, then I get concerned. I am NOT saying any wrongdoing has happened, but it makes me uneasy. Can I trust their judgment?

The “NO” from the library board on allowing a conservative and what I consider an excellent newspaper, “The Epoch Times,” (I am a subscriber), even if it didn’t cost the library anything, sent me a signal about where the decision makers might stand politically.

I want to trust. But if conservative Pella has faced this problem then what could happen in liberal Marshalltown? The safety and development of our children is too important not to be guarded. I am not making any accusations, I am only saying we need to stay vigilant.


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