Should minor's library cards be restricted?

Shouldn’t there be parental controls on the things that children should be able to view or sign out at the library?

We often get DVDs out of our local library.  I had never really given it much thought what the ratings were on the movies that were on the shelves there, but one day a movie came home that was unrated.  It turned out to be a movie that would be completely inappropriate for teens and children.  The movie started with inappropriate scenes being flashed across the screen and because I had not been expecting that, my son almost got an eyeful of it .  That just got me to thinking…”I wonder if minors have a restriction on their library cards that would not allow them to take out materials like this”.  I was mostly just curious at this point.  So, I called the library and asked them.  There is absolutely no restriction on the children’s cards.  I was told that the library assumes that parents are with the kids when they are signing things out.  HA!  That’s quite a BS answer!  Do they honestly want us to believe that they don’t notice all the teens who come into the library without their parents hovering over them?  Give me a break!  It seems to me that if a movie restricts entrance of certain ages at the theater, then those restrictions should apply at the library also.

I don’t necessarily think that the library should censor things, but I do think that there should be a system for parents to be able to restrict what their child signs out on his or her card.  I think that it is my job as the parent to determine what is and isn’t appropriate for my child.   So, shouldn’t there be some kind of restriction that makes it possible for a parent to say “no, you can’t sign that out”?  The library should not assume that the parents are with the child (or teen) during check out.  They should  either require that the parent be present…or that there is permission for certain materials.

Often the argument of censorship turns to the problem of whether there is control over the exposure.  People will say things like “If you don’t like what’s on television, then turn it off”.  Well, that’s easier said than done.  For example :  I was at a friend’s house and her child was playing a video game.  As he switched the cartridge from one game to another, the television came on for just a few seconds.  It was a very up-close commercial for Victoria’s Secret…on at 4:00 in the afternoon on a major network.  Or how about when you turn on the radio, even for a second of scanning to find something you want to listen to, and you hear Howard Stern blaring out something nasty?  And how about this?  My teenage son had a subscription to WIRED magazine.  You might wonder what could be wrong with that.  It’s a computer magazine.  Well, as I was bringing the magazine in from the mailbox one day, one of those subscription postcards fell out of it.  It was for another magazine…GQ.  And on the front of the magazine that was being pictured, was a nude picture of  Jennifer Aniston.  Now, I don’t have anything against Jennifer Aniston.  And I frankly don’t give a hooey whether or not she wants to pose naked for the whole world.  But I felt that content was inappropriate for certain ages.  How is a parent supposed to have any control over what their kids are exposed to in situations like that?  If that card hadn’t fallen out of there, than the card would have been floating around my kid’s room.  Now, at his age, that wouldn’t alarm me too much, but I probably would have wanted to talk with him about it.  And what if it had been a younger child?  I guess the issue here to me, isn’t necessarily the age, but the fact that parents may not know that their child has been exposed to certain material.  I would want to know so that it could be discussed with the child.  It’s not a matter of what our judgement of the material is, but that I would like to be able to discuss it with my child.

Should minor’s library cards be restricted?



*Now I’m curious about the video rental places, too.  Do kids have to show ID when they are trying to sign out R rated materials?

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