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Idaho Falls Public Library card policy allows parents to choose children's accessibility

The library has been drafting and discussing the policy since October 2022; IFPL adopted the policy last month.

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — The Idaho Falls Public Library (IFPL) is addressing the growing concern regarding what content is available for minors while also preserving the rights and interest of others.

Parents now choose if their child will receive one of two library cards available at IFPL for children under the age of 18.

  • Unrestricted Card: allows a child to check out everything in the library, except for adult graphic novels, and any movies.
  • Restricted Card: allows a child to check out materials only from the children's Library collection located on the first floor of the library.

"It allows parents to make the choices they want to make and doesn't infringe on anybody's rights," IFPL Director Robert Wright said. "We don't want to be the parent. We don't want to tell you what's right for your family."

The Idaho State Legislature overwhelming passed House Bill 314 in the 2023 legislative session, later vetoed by Gov. Brad Little (R-Idaho), to hold libraries financially accountable for allowing children to access inappropriate materials as defined by the bill.

The bill looked to restrict library content depicting "nudity, sexual excitement, sexual conduct, or sado-masochistic abuse" that is harmful to minors.

The IFPL policy is influenced in part by the proposed legislation outlined by HB314, according to an IFPL press release. IFPL discussed the implications of this pending law before asking Gov. Little in a letter to veto the bill.

IDPL has discussed their policy with other library districts since implemented to change on May 17, 2023.

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