Dems don`t want parents to know what their kids are reading.

The article, please read before commenting.

From the article;
"Public libraries would be required to tell parents of children under 16 what books, CDs, videotapes and other library materials their kids check out, under a bill approved by the Legislature Tuesday."

Please tell me why this is not good.
"“It’s a major invasion of the right of privacy of children,” he said. “Children need to understand their rights are protected, and if government won’t protect their rights nobody will.”"

Could there be a more ridiculous reason? Since when do children have privacy rights that trump the parents?
"Albers said the issue of parental access to library records was raised after two of her constituents received an overdue book notice from their local library for an item checked out by one of their children. The couple were told by library staff that they couldn’t tell the parents the name of the overdue book."

Assinine, how can the parents help find the book if they don`t know what the title of the book is?
"“This bill provides parents the opportunity to be informed and involved in the lives of their teenage children,” "

Of course, makes perfect sense
"*“I think we should encourage kids to use libraries, encourage their minds to be open to new ideas,” Risser said.

“I don’t know why we should have the public libraries be an investigative arm for parents.”"*

Theyre not, they should simply provide the information when/if its requested by the parent. They`re not going to mail reading lists to every kids parent proactively.
From one of the kids;
"“Definitely, they have a right to what their kids are checking out,” Van Eerden said. “They’re our parents.”"

How can he see this but the liberals don`t
I actually agree with this argument;
"Grobschmidt said he that instead of changing state law, each library should be allowed to set its own policy on disclosure of records."

But that still doesn`t speak to the reason why the Dems are generally against this

Why is this a partison issue?
What possible motives do the Dems have for their opposition to this bill? Besides the ones stated in the article, which I think are foolish and shallow.

Though it passed the State Assembly it appears as though our Democratic Governor will Veto the bill !!


Interesting article. But maybe it’s different in different jurisdictions–when I get an overdue notice, it HAS the name of the book right on it already!

It seems to me that there are only two times that the parent would see the record and both would be rare: book is overdue (kids should make sure to return the book then) or parent requests the records. The eviiiiil parents so feared by the Dems don’t seem to be the type who’d make an enquiry like this to begin with. In fact, it does bug me in discussions of this type that opponents so quickly bring up the but 'what if it’s a horrible abusive parent??!!" aspect. Yes, we have problems like this but the default should be wondering about the rights and responsibilities of the NORMAL, GOOD parents, not the bad ones.

I’ll just ignore all of the inflammatory generalizations about “those damn liberals” in the OP and discuss why I think the policy has the right idea.

We think of children as people who require the protection and the restraint of thier parents, but there is a limit to this restraint. We do not allow parents to use children as slave labor. We do not allow parents to dictate what the child learns in school. (Even home-schooling is regulated, both by the market and the government.) Most importantly, the government is loathe to DICTATE the sort of control a parent can hold over thier child.

I agree with the OP to a certain extent- in reasonable circumstances, the parent should be notified of what the child has checked out. Not being told the title of an overdue book is a bit extreeme- I would think that this would be fine. And in many places, I dont think any prohibition on what a child takes out of the library is necessary; it won’t be a social problem.

However, the legislature may decide a legal restriction of a parent’s ability to pry is necessary if the facts in a state demand it. And it isn’t hard to see how they could; recall the witch-trial-like nonsense that goes on concerning books like Catcher in the Rye every few years. If the legislature has reason to believe that parents are going to actively abuse thier supervisory role to stop their children from learning, or restrict them to learning only about the narrow worldview the parents want them to see, then I can see justification for that bill.

The article, of course, doesn’t contain the legislative history. So passing judgment on whether or not this bill is necessary or wise is premature.


I’m having trouble figuring out circumstances under which this would be a GOOD thing. Overdue books? Ask the kid what the book’s title is. Kid can’t remember? Have the kid request the information.

When would this law ever help matters?


This only holds for public libraries. Parents already can and regularly do police the holdings of those libraries, leading to the temper tantrums over Vonnegut and such. I can see little if any legitimate reason why parents would need, in addition to the ability to shut out any books not acceptable to the general public, to then pry into what their children are reading from a publically approved microcosm. This is a measure for over-controlling idiots to try and turn their children into half-witted copies of themselves by abusing them for learning. There isn’t porn in the public library, and if there is, the public concerned has olny themselves to blame considering the microscopic stink it takes to get books pulled off the shelves.

This won’t help normal, good parents. They already have recourse. This measure will, and is intended to, help petty, abusive parents whose views are on the fringe and who want to force those views on their children.

If a child is old enough to have their own library card, get to the library, and take books out by himself, then he is old enough to decide whether or not his parents should be told what library materials he is using. If they parents have a problem with that, don’t let him get a library card or don’t let him go to the public library unaccompanied.

Man, why no editing. That should read:

If a child is old enough to have his own library card, get to the library, and take books out by himself, then he is old enough to decide whether or not his parents should be told what library materials he is using. If the parents have a problem with that, don’t let him get a library card or don’t let him go to the public library unaccompanied.

There is just no need for a law like this. It uses the law to try and enforce certain parents’ wishes. If you need the law to do that, then you’re going to have a lot more problems than just finding out what books your kids are reading.

How does it hurt?

You guys are coming up with all these obscure reasons not to allow passage of this bill.

In general, if a parent works during the day and the kids go to the library right after school there is no way to monitor their material.

Laigle, if the parents need only make a microscopic stink to remove books, then why not allow them this control too, if that`s what they want? If this is something the constituents of this state want, why not give it to them?

We all know that few and far between parents will realize this law exists and even fewer will make use of it. However, in the end the parents are responsible for what their children are exposed to and should be allowed to manipulate their exposure until they reach legal age.
The argument that if a child is old enough to get a card he should be able to have carte-blanche with it is silly. If a parent deems that the child has abused the card by checking out material that the parents find offensive then the parent should be able to restrict the use of the card (via monitoring) without removing the material from the library which would cause restrictions on others.
This law will only help parents who are willing to take steps in being part of their childs learning experience, whether it be censor, or something else.
Those of you who dont want the law enacted dont have to excersize the use of this provision. Simply continue to let your children do what they want. But at least let those of us who may be concerned have some way to monitor the material if we so choose.

This is just common sense, there need not be all this divergence into the emotional aspects of the bill.

Thats also like saying if a child is old enough to have a TV in their bedroom, then the parent cant tell them what to watch on it. How silly is that? If I don`t want my child watching NYPD Blue, or The Gospel Hour, then I should be able to control or monitor their veiwing habits. Same with the library material.

Well, I’m as leftist as they come, but I CAN see a real need sometimes for a parent to know his or her child’s reading material.

Although, I think it should be anyone FOURTEEN and younger, perhaps. After a kid turns fourteen, then I think that the parents don’t have to be so restrictive with reading material.

But, for example, my sister wanted to read Stephen King’s IT when she was about twelve. My mother asked for my opinion, since I own the book, and I said I thought it was a little too old for her at this point. I let my mother peruse through it a bit, and she agreed with me.

Why shouldn’t my mom have had that choice? She wasn’t saying my sister couldn’t read the book-just that she had to wait until she was older.

Common sense is that law can’t trump reality, and reality is that a parent and a child are two seperate entities, and one can’t have total control over the other. Nobody, including the government should be obligated to entertain your pathetic fantacies of a perpetual umbilical cord by hawking over information that it may have about your child. No matter how much you really, really want to know, there’s no reason why you should expect the librarian to be required to tell you anything. You have the full legal right to homeschool your child and keep him on a physical leash if his autonomy is that threatening to you. You may then accompany him to the library and monitor all of his borrowing activity in person. But if you choose to waive that right, that’s on you, not the government. Blame God making a severed umbilical cord a condition of being born, not the Democrats.

What whuckfistle said.

The people saying kids should be allowed to check out whatever they want are the same people who would be screaming “WHERE WERE THE PARENTS” at the top of their lungs if a kid, say, checked out a bunch of books about how to make a bomb, and then took it to school and detonated it.

Make up your minds, people. Either completely strip parents of their right to parent, or support their right to raise their kids with minimal government interference. Don’t take away the right of a parent to know what their kid is up to and then cry foul when the kid turns out rotten because he/she has had no adult supervision or guidance.

In my first post, I assumed that the OP was ranting against a bill that legally prevented libraries from disclosing information, and I was in error. Apparently what we are discussing is a bill that would force libraries to turn over information as a matter of course.

A parent can already monitor their children’s habits by looking in their backpack when they come home; searching thier room- or all other manner of draconian measures, if they feel like it. How the hell does forcing libraires to foot the cost of sending notices to parents every time Jimmy does research help? This sort of requirement offers nothing that the parents can’t already achieve in the status quo, and it takes liberty/property away from the taxpayers through public libraries.

Absolutely asanine legislation. It should be laughed out of commitee.


This is an interesting issue. Look at this from an economic standpoint: If libraries hold parents financially liable for their children’s decisions (damage to property, overdue books), then it seems one can make an argument that parents should have some level of control over what their kids do in a library, including what books are checked out.

No, we don’t allow parents to completely controll a kid’s education, but we allow them to choose which school the kid goes to (public, private, religious). This seems like it would be a much greater control than knowing about library books. Kids also have the option of earning some money and buying the book in privacy.

But clearly parents should be able to choose what books their kids read at some age. Should a 5 yr old be able to check out any book she wants? So, in my mind it really comes down to an argument about the age where the restriction comes into play. This law picked 16, whcih I think is reasonable. Note that it recognizes some autonomy of kids 2 yrs below the typical age of majority.

I’m not clear what this law is proposing.

Situation A: Library is forced to send me a list of books Johnny is checking out every time he uses the library.

Situation B: If I’m worried about Johnny’s sudden fascination with guns, I contact the library and request a list of books he’s checked out in the last month.

Very different. Situation A is too onerous for the libraries. Situation B is very resonable.

I agree that people got so upset at the families of the Columbine killers because they didn’t check up on them enough, and weren’t aware of what their children were into. But then ligislation is proposed that would make it more difficult for a parent to do exactly that.

If parents are expected to be responsible for their childrens actions, don’t make it impossible to be responsible.

What are you debating? Parents have as much control over what their kids check out as they want. The issue is whether libraries should be obligated to release borrowing records after the fact.

Poor parents! It takes them so long to realize that their kids are not their property. Thank Darwin for the WWW, which will soon spell the demise of public libraries and permit kids access to whatever the hell it is they want to read or view. It will also save taxpayers all that wasted money.

I don’t know about y’all, but when I was a small child of ten I spent every Saturday walking around the Chicago loop alone, enjoying the Chicago Public Library, the Art Museum, the Planetarium, Aquarium and Natural History Museum, all within short walking distance of each other.

My family consisted of dozens of educators on both sides, and controlling a kid’s access to a library is the last thing that would have occurred to them.

What can keep a kid out of a private internet café or a private library (like the John Crerar) anyway? Any kid with sense figures out early on what it is that his parents prohibit and goes right for that, of course. My parents knew that if they had tried to control me, I’d have been gone or they’d have been dead!

Check out your copy of the US Constitution. Every person is guaranteed the right to liberty, and no age is specified. Where do parents get the idea that they can treat their kids as property, as slaves surely were in the bad old days before the 5th and 14th Amendments?

I’m no Dem, but I firmly believe that kids have the right to sex partners of their choosing and that modern Amerikan parenting is the equivalent of child abuse.

What pizzabrat said.

Parents can still take their kids to the library, look over their kids books while they’re there and instruct the kid to reshelve books they feel are inappropriate. They can look over the books once the kid gets home and say “I don’t think so” to the ones they don’t want little Jaime reading. They can still tell their kids which books are inappropriate and not allowed in the house (and administer appropriate discipline if the kid breaks the rules.) They can do exactly what Guin’s mother did. And tell their kids that they’ll have to wait a few years before they’re old enough to read the book in question.

Having the library hand over a list is not the only way a parent can be aware of (or control) what their child reads.

What about a 15-year-old…
[li] child of fundies who thinks he may be gay and wants to get more accurate information on homosexuality then “fags burn in hell!”?[/li][li] child of Christian Scientists seeking medical information?[/li][li] girl, from the first American-born generation in her very traditional family, who seeks knowledge that could lead to a more fulfilling life then producing children for some guy her parents pick?[/li][li] child of fundies who wants to read about evolution? Or Buddhism?[/li][li] child who wants more accurate information on drugs then “Marijuana will blow your legs off and cause terrorism!”[/li][li] child who wants more information on sex then his abstinence-only school program will provide?[/li][/ul]
Intellectual freedom is important. There’s a reason why it’s first in the Bill of Rights.


Like TheR said, parental supervison should come first. If you want to know what you’re kid is checking out at the library, go with him or make a rule that he has to tell you. But getting the public involved is unnecessary.

I see this as one of the big problems in the US. The government should only get involved in an individual’s life if there is a reason. “What does it hurt?” is not a good reason. If there is no justifiable answer to the question of “Why is this a good thing?” then the default should be not to pass the law.