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Livingston Parish passes resolution seeking content restrictions for children at libraries

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LIVINGSTON PARISH - Library censorship in Louisiana is an issue that’s getting mixed reviews. The Livingston Parish Council passed a resolution supporting two legislative bills that will aim to take books with sexually questionable content off shelves.

The library is a historic and peaceful hub of public information. However, the Livingston Parish Council meeting was just the opposite when the idea of censoring certain material in the library was the topic of public discussion.

“When my son goes to the library with his class, and he sees a 12-year-old is looking up how to build guns, and the guy is so upset that he can’t find the information to build a gun, we have problems more than just pornography. Where’s the oversight on this?” one speaker said.

The resolution by Councilman Garry Talbert expresses that Livingston Parish will support Attorney General Jeff Landry’s push to control what children are able to access at the library.

Three bills have been introduced to the state legislature. Two have to deal with library card restrictions, making it the parent’s job to censor certain material. The third bill gives local government control over the library board members and employees.

“We have an outstanding library system and a director, and I appreciate all that they’ve done to make our library system one of the best in the state, but I would hate to see what it’d be like if our local government messes with that system. Frankly, I don’t think we need more government; we need less government," one speaker said.

After hiring a private investigator to test the library’s firewall system, it was revealed that pornography was able to be accessed through social media sites like Reddit and Twitter. Talbert says this is in no way a ban on books, but instead, it's a concrete way for parents to censor explicit content.

“We’re trying to give parents the right to consent. They think we’re trying to eliminate these things, and that’s not the case. It’s about taking sexual content, whether it be pornographic or not, and letting parents determine at what point and time it’s okay for their children to be presented with this stuff,” Talbert said.

The resolution was passed by the Livingston Parish Council. The three bills will be up for discussion at the next legislative session.


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