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Library board votes against changing book purchasing policy

Published: Nov. 8, 2021 at 7:51 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 9, 2021 at 9:31 AM CST
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - The Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library board voted not to change the sensitive materials policy on Monday evening.

After months of discussions from community members and the board on books with sexual content and a display observing Pride Month in June, the board voted 4 to 2, deciding not to change the sensitive materials policy.

Former board member Amanda Escue initially proposed the policy before resigning from the board.

“I don’t know what makes y’all think that this is going away because you voted against this proposal,” said Escue.

Under the proposal, the board would have to approve any “sensitive material” before the library could make a purchase.

Over a dozen people made comments on the proposed policy, most against it, but some for it.

If changed, it would have required the board to approve books before being purchased.

As of now, library staff approves the purchase of materials.

Some of the content people want to be removed from the teen section or for the board to look at before being bought dealt with sexual topicals like the LGBTQIA+ community and material topics.

After the board vote. Some thanked them for voting against the policy

“Thank you to this board for listening to my story, listening to all of our stories,” said John Caldwell, a speaker at the meeting.

Others were not happy with the outcome.

“The topic is not about religion, the topic is not about your sexual orientation, the topic is why do the children, the young children need to see the pornographic explicit material,” said Michelle Reese, another speaker at the meeting.

On Nov. 1, the Sensitive Materials Subcommittee voted 3 to 1 against the recommendation of changing the current policy of reviewing sensitive materials.

A case is set to be heard on Nov. 10 involving a lawsuit filed against the Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library.

The lawsuit was filed against the library after a former board member who spearheaded the policy change, accusing it of not following the law.

A controversial topic received an outcome, at least for now.

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