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Working group to study allegations of explicit library books

Posted at 4:13 PM, Mar 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-29 18:31:50-04

BOISE, Idaho — Idaho Republican lawmakers are forming a working group to study allegations that Idaho libraries are making explicit materials available to minors.

Earlier in the session, lawmakers tried to pass a bill fining librarians and sending them to jail if they check out harmful materials to minors, but it failed. So instead, they passed a resolution to create a working group to study the subject.

“This is not the solution we had hoped for today. We do have something before us that I think will help us continue to protect minors," Rep. Gayann DeMordaunt said during debate Friday.

The Idaho Press reports the Senate Republicans announced the plans for a working group over the weekend. The group will include eight lawmakers and representatives from the Idaho Commission for Libraries and the Idaho Library Association. The allegations came from some right-wing lawmakers who objected to what they said was pornographic material.

“It's a false narrative to suggest that obscene materials are all over in our libraries. They aren’t. You might be able to find one of two examples that make certain members of our communities uncomfortable, but this is a false narrative," Rep. James Ruchti said.

They cited examples that came mostly from the adult section of libraries as well as some teen memoirs and a sex education book made available to kids over age 10.

“To report this narrative, that this is a false narrative is absolutely false. It is not true. The good gentleman from 29 was not in the committee hearing and did not see the books parents brought from the Meridian Library and said 'this Mr. chairman is exactly what’s occurring in the Meridian Library.' So I'm not going to stand here on the house floor and allow us to say this is a false narrative. It's not,” Rep Brent Crane said.

According to Senate leadership, “The Working Group will make sure libraries remain a haven in our communities and a safe place for children.”