4 sex-related books stay on Topeka library shelves

Posted on 20 Apr 2009 at 2:05pm
By Associated Press

‘The Lesbian Kama Sutra’ among challenged titles

TOPEKA, Kan. — Four sex-related books, including "The Lesbian Kama Sutra," will remain on the shelves at the Topeka and Shawnee County Library.

The Board of Trustees reversed itself Thursday night, April 16, and voted 7-3 to keep the four books available to the public, including minors. The other three are "The Joy of Sex," "The Joy of Gay Sex" and "Sex for Busy People: The Art of the Quickie for Lovers on the Go."

Trustee Bob Harder said the public has a right to find and seek out information at the library. He said the books in question are at least five feet off the floor and in a section of the library he said isn’t frequented by minors.

"We should be thinking about how to balance the budget and how to continue the programs we have," said Harder, a United Methodist minister.

On Feb. 19, the board voted to restrict children’s access to the four titles and told the library staff to recommend a way to put the procedure in place. The books remained on the shelves.

The vote came after Topeka resident Kim Borchers called them "harmful to minors." Borchers, who leads a group called Kansans for Common Sense Policy, complained the books would be considered harmful under a law against promoting obscenity to minors. She didn’t attend Thursday’s meeting.

The board passed an amended version of a recommendation from Gina Millsap, the library’s executive director.

It calls for posting a public service statement explaining the controversy on the library’s Web site and possibly on a bulletin board at the library. The statement would inform parents that sexual health information is available at the library.

Millsap offered two proposals to the board: leave the books where they are and allow them to be checked out by anybody with a library card, or restrict checkout to those age 13 or older.

She told the board about a third option of placing a sticker on each book saying it was harmful to minors. But she said she was told by the library’s attorney that likely would trigger a lawsuit.

Millsap said the library has more than 600 books relating to sex, sex instruction, sexual behavior and fertility.

Information from: The Topeka Capital-Journal, www.cjonline.com

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