As noted in an earlier LISNews story, the Oklahoma State Legislature is working on a bill to segregate library materials in all state libraries. As widely reported, the relevant text is as follows:
The Oklahoma Department of Libraries Board shall not grant or distribute any state funds that are allocated to libraries on a formula basis to any library, library district, or library system unless the library has taken action to place all children and young adult books and materials that contain homosexual or sexually explicit heterosexual subject matter in an adult or special area in the library and the library has a policy in place to limit distribution of such books and material to adults only.
A version of the House bill, called a "Committee Substitute" has passed the state House Appropriations and Budget Committee. This bill is even broader than the previous version, expanding the blocked funding sources beyond ODL to include municipalities and individual library boards. It also includes requirements for annual reporting. There's no good way to link to the text of the Committee Substitute, so I've included the full text below the cut.
One of the first objections to the original bill was that it didn't define "sexually explicit subject matter". The new text blocks that objection by basing the definition on existing law, specifically Section 1024.1 of Title 21 of the Oklahoma Statutes. That reads, in part:
3. "Sexual conduct" means and includes any of the following:
a. acts of sexual intercourse including any intercourse which is normal or perverted, actual or simulated,
b. acts of deviate sexual conduct, including oral and anal sodomy,
c. acts of masturbation,
Take just a moment and imagine the monumental task of deciding which materials in even a small library collection match that definition. Then imagine that you have to build a physical structure in your small rural library to bar access to these items for your young patrons. Whatever your views on homosexuality or children's rights to read, this bill creates a logistical nightmare and a terrible monetary burden on every library in the state of Oklahoma. -- Read More