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Idaho Falls Library introduces new restricted library cards for children under 18

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - The Idaho Falls Public Library has introduced new library cards for children under 18. Parents will be able to choose if their child should have a restricted card or unrestricted care.

The new restricted cards allow parents to limit the type of content their children are exposed to. All restricted card holders will only be able to check out books from the ground level children's section of the library.

Library Director Robert Wright says making the change is as easy as clicking a few buttons.

"We want to preserve first amendment rights for everyone in the community," Wright said. "So this allows parents to limit what their children can check out."

The cards were announced during the controversy surrounding Bill 314 in the Idaho house of representatives. The bill would have prohibit certain materials from being  made available to a minor by a school or public library, and would have allowed parents to bring civil action against librarians who violated the law.

The bill was vetoed by governor Brad Little on April 5, but book challenges continue in libraries throughout the state.

"A lot of the books that are being challenged currently and in years past are either black lives matter related or LGBTQ+ related," said Audra Loftus, president of Friends of the Library. "I think the question that comes to mind is are the books that are being challenged  being challenged  due to actual content or personal beliefs?"

According to the american library association out of the top 13 most challenged books in 2022, more than half contained LGBTQ+ themes. None of those titles or books with similar content were in the children's section of the Idaho Falls library.

"They would literally be located up in the adult fiction nonfiction area," Loftus said. "And if a child is literally all the way up there and has already gotten a book, where are their parents at? That's my question."

While children's the section does contain some book's meant for LGBTQ+ families, the content level is age appropriate.

Director Wright says it's the library's responsibility to represent all members and taxpayers of the community. He says, if you find a book that you disagree with, just don't read it.

"We encourage parents to parent their children. In other words, they need to be the ones to say this is appropriate for our family, this isn't appropriate for our family," Wright said.

"If they run into an issue that they believe is not appropriate for their family,  then it's a perfect opportunity to explain to their child what their family values are and what they believe and preserve the dignity for everybody."

Article Topic Follows: Idaho Falls

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Seth Ratliff

Seth is a reporter for Local News 8.


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