The ALA Defends Sexually Explicit Books: Where are our Virtues?

By: Mary Miller

Early exposure to sexually explicit or pornographic material can harm young children. This proven concept seems logical, well-founded, and sensible – not one that should require discussion or create divisiveness. There are even laws against exposing minors to pornographic material. Yet there has been a continuous swirling debate centered around the placement of obscenity and pornography, in our school libraries. 

There are two wildly divided sides to this debate. 

The two parties do not even seem to be speaking the same language. Questions asked in parental vernacular are answered with ideological jargon. 

Parents want to curate content sensibly. In American Library Association (ALA) jargon, there is no such word as curate, only censorship and book banning. 

Parents are concerned about their children’s sanity and the American Library Association is concerned with the children’s “rights:”

Library policies and procedures that effectively deny minors equal and equitable access to all library resources available to other users violate the Library Bill of Rights. The American Library Association opposes all attempts to restrict access to library services, materials, and facilities based on the age of library users. Amended 2019” 

What is really going on here?

Though it does not take a degree in psychology to conclude that adult material is inappropriate for children, plenty of professionals have weighed in on the matter.

The American Academy of Pediatrics warns that:

“Children suffer many negative effects due to modern society’s exposure to and acceptance of pornography. These negative effects include mental disturbance and unrest for the young school-age child, including acting out and violent behavior. Because of its harmfulness to children, pornography must never be used as a tool to teach children human sexuality.”

A randomized controlled study, cited in the same paper by the Association of Pediatrics revealed troubling outcomes for the group who participated in viewing pornography. Here are just a few examples:

“Male subjects demonstrated increased callousness toward women.”

“Subjects considered the crime of rape less serious.”

“Subjects showed a greater acceptance of female promiscuity.”

 It’s not far-fetched to suggest that the exposure of a child to pornography in a library could lead to mental disturbances and acting out – which in turn could easily lead to “labeling” and medication. There are even signs in some public libraries advertising how to get help for mental health problems. 

What does the ALA think about all of this?

Predictably the ALA has not rationally responded to concerns with earnest review or study. Instead, they placed instructions on their website on how to spew their jargon at school board meetings and take parents to task.

Furthermore, The ALA and the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network fight back against parental common sense with glib, sometimes well-articulated arguments, surrounded by a veil of ideology – but a full look reveals nothing of substance. No facts, no studies – just emotion, justification, and opinions. There is even an attempt to conflate their attempt to expose children to pornography as a staunch defense of the Bill of Rights and “democracy.” One article even purports that their views align with what our founding fathers had in mind. 

The machinations around the asserted rights of librarians to expose children to pornography are symptomatic of a profession gone mad. Many librarians seem to have forgotten that their role is that of custodians of knowledge for the civilization they serve. 

What is a librarian anyway?

Librarians have been around since man learned to write. It was (and is) the job of the librarians to protect, organize, and store written information so it can be accessed by citizens and preserved for future generations. Early librarians were called “men of the written tablet” by the Assyrians. 

An article from Wikipedia entitled “Librarian” is rich with the history of the profession throughout the centuries. Here is just one excerpt that puts today’s library shenanigans in perspective: 

John Dury is considered to be the first English library theorist. He wrote two letters to Samuel Hartlib concerning the duties of a professional librarian, which were published in 1650 as “The Reformed Librarie-Keeper”. He held that librarians should not only care for the books but should also be well-educated and accomplished to raise the standards of librarianship. …. Gottfried Leibniz upheld that the librarian was the most important factor in the aid of learning.    

Makes one almost feel sorry for our modern-day librarians.

While there is plenty of discussion about what shouldn’t be in our school libraries, where is the research about what should be in there?  Are the librarians, so eager to promote the Bill of Rights and “freedoms” even aware of the history behind these divine rights? 

Had librarians been educated in the real history behind the Bill of Rights, there would be a discussion on placing books that align with the classic tradition that our founding fathers were educated in – a tradition that goes back 2500 years to the age of Pericles. It is based on the knowledge that it was the duty of the culture to educate its citizens in certain traditions, so citizens can sensibly give back to the culture. Cultures endure through knowledge. And that knowledge is in libraries. 

Sadly, ridiculous distractions have kept us far away from the discussions we should be having about our school libraries. 

What can we do to help?

But fortunately, there are several good groups, with members who have risen above the clamor and can still think – trying to point the way to better reading and education.

For example, Freedom in Education and Rated books have partnered up to teach parents how to challenge the presence of pornography in school libraries. That is the first step.

Good Book Drive

And Freedom in Education has partnered with groups that advocate for better curriculums and reading for our children. 

If you want to help fix our libraries and curriculums, reach out to these groups. They need your help. 

The future is shaped by what our children see and read now.

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