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As Burley Library expansion gets ready to break ground, the library prepares for age restrictions on materials

Posted at 4:44 PM, May 24, 2024

BURLEY, Idaho — Burley Public Library expects to break ground on a 1900-square-foot expansion which will include a new teen area, telehealth space, study areas, and more. With the expansion already in place before the passage of HB710 which creates limits on access to materials deemed harmful to minors, the library prepares to close off a large part of the library to visitors under 18.

  • The language of HB710, which takes effect July 1st, has many libraries going to great lengths to ensure they comply with the new law.
  • The Burley Library will require minors to be accompanied by a parent to browse the majority of the library's collections, which includes nonfiction, genre fiction, and materials considered at an adult reading level.

(Below is the transcript from the broadcast story)

In Burley, the Public Library is humming with activity.

“We have weekly classes to create confidence in our children in the community and during the school year,” Library Director Tayce Robinson told me. “We easily have around 50 kids that come in and participate.”

From art and educational events for kids to offerings for adult entrepreneurs, the library serves as a community hub.

The library recently received a grant to expand 1900-square-feet -- focused on serving teen visitors.

With the growth and ongoing programming, library staff have their hands full. And now -- accommodating changes for House Bill 710.

"We have to make some changes to our library,” Robinson said. “It makes it so we have to spend a lot of time and resources to change some things."

Libraries around the state are working to get into compliance with the new law that aims to restrict minors from accessing certain materials that the state has deemed harmful.

In July - the one-room library in Donnelly, near McCall, will no longer allow children.

In Burley:

“There's some monitoring that will have to happen because of this bill and we're going to have to close off a portion of our library to minors, which is really unfortunate,” Robinson said.

We asked why the library felt it needed to close off a whole section in order to comply with the law.

“There are 40,000 materials in here even with my staff and we can't know every detail of every single book,” Robinson said.

Unlike movies, that have ratings based on content — Rated G. PG-13 or Rated R, for example — The library sorts items into collections based on reading ability.

“These are books that are designated reading levels for adults. It doesn't mean content. It's only reading levels. ” Robinson said. “But, because it's already designated that, that area is just going to be for adult readers.”

Adult collection includes most of the books we think of when we think of a library

“Westerns, mystery, nonfiction-where we’ve got biographies and just general health books and more information, economics,” Robinson said.

So to get into compliance with the new law, Burley Library will not allow minors into the adult collection without a parent, and library staff will pull selections that have been evaluated, and create a separate teen collection.

"Our purpose, our mission is to support the needs of our community not to promote any ideology,” Robinson said. “We are here as a support system for our schools for our homeschool for people just trying to get a job. Learn how to raise chickens that's it."