Reject bill restricting libraries

While Ohio libraries face a potential funding crisis due to an expected shortfall in property tax revenue, some members of the state House of Representatives want to twist the knife.

State Rep. Al Cutrona, R-Canfield, introduced House Bill 622, “to require each board of public library trustees to adopt a policy that prohibits its libraries from displaying matter harmful to juveniles and to redistribute the public library funds of libraries that fail to do so.”

Horrifying, isn’t it?

As has become painfully obvious in recent years, what many of these politicians mean when they say “protecting our children” is “making sure they learn as little as possible about the world they live in.”

Surely other lawmakers will understand the dangers in passing a bill that leaves it up to … who, exactly? … to determine what is “harmful” to juveniles. According to News 5 Cleveland, “harmful” could mean anything describing or showing nudity, sexual conduct or obscene behavior.

But, again, who gets to determine whether nudity when found in a picture book that includes fine art such as Michelangelo’s “David” is “harmful to juveniles?”

“The whole purpose of this bill is not to limit any one particular book, but rather the topic areas,” Cutrona said, according to News 5 Cleveland.

You read that right. He’s not stopping at just one or two specific books. He wants to go after all the things that some of his constituents said they find disturbing or challenging.

Lawmakers can’t allow this bizarre attempt to wrest control away from parents and local library boards to gain ground. Of course parents who are concerned should keep an eye on what their minor children are checking out from the library — and allow their children to ask questions about books that perhaps parents ask them to save for later.

But that responsibility falls purely on the shoulders of parents and guardians, NOT on Cutrona or anyone else with an agenda in Columbus.


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