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Landry takes aim at 'sexually-explicit' library books he says minors should not have access to
BATON ROUGE – On Tuesday, Attorney General Jeff Landry released what he calls the "Protecting Innocence Report."
It includes information about public libraries, the access children have to material that he considers inappropriate sexual themes and imagery and what he considers possible solutions to prevent them from accessing it, such as new controls on library cards for minors.
Landry, who is running for governor, says solutions are not about banning books or censorship, but about "protecting the innocence of children in this state."
“I welcome parents, guardians, librarians, lawmakers, local officials to read and view this report and decide for themselves if the information it contains – if they believe this sexually-explicit material is appropriate for all children,” Landry told reporters during a press conference. “What we have in this report is some of the findings of the material we found in public libraries in Louisiana.”
Critics quickly pounced on Landry, saying he was ignoring issues that need immediate attention.
"It is telling that in a state with staggering murder, teen pregnancy and child poverty rates, Landry chooses to ignore the very serious issues facing Louisiana in favor of creating fictional problems that further marginalize the LGBTQ+ population while demonizing librarians and teachers who have spent their careers supporting and educating our children,” Mel Manuel, a spokesperson for the St. Tammany Library Alliance, said in a prepared statement.
Mary Stein, Assistant Library Director, said the library already has a system in place to keep adult books, out of little hands.
"The children's room has material that's already been reviewed and deemed appropriate for children aged 0 up to 11," Stein said.
EBR Library cards come with restrictions.
"We already have a process in place where children's cards are for children materials, teens cards are for teen material, adult cards are for adult material," Stein said.
State Sen. Heather Cloud, R-Turkey Creek, and state Rep. Julie Emerson, R-Carencro, said during Landry’s press conference that they will file bills for the 2023 Legislative session aimed at adding new rules for library cards for minors.
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