Topeka library to restrict access to 4 books on sex

Posted on 24 Feb 2009 at 12:31am
By Associated Press

Attorney says he has already been approached by citizens who want to sue to challenge decision

TOPEKA, Kansas — The public library in Topeka, Kansas, will restrict access to four books about sex, including "The Lesbian Kama Sutra," after a woman complained about them being available on the shelves with other health books.

The library’s Board of Trustees voted Thursday night, Feb. 19 to prevent minors from having access to the books after reviewing the complaint. Topeka resident Kim Borchers called the books "harmful to minors."

The staff of the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library must now develop a plan for handling the books. 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."

Borchers, who leads a group called Kansans for Common Sense Policy, contends the books would be considered harmful under a law against promoting obscenity to minors.

"I am grateful that a board is responsive to their community," she told The Topeka Capital-Journal newspaper. "I think this is a great day for minors in the community. I think this speaks volumes."

The board’s vote was 5-3. Chairwoman Kerry Onstott Storey, who did not vote, said she was shocked and disappointed. Board member Michele Henry, who voted no, was in tears.

"I can hardly sit here," she said, her voice trailing off. "I am sickened to be a part of something like this."

Pedro Irigonegary, a Topeka attorney who attended the trustees’ meeting, said he already has been approached by people who want to file a lawsuit challenging the board’s decision.

"It really disturbs me greatly that our community has taken a step backward," he said. "These individuals who voted should be ashamed of themselves. Our community deserves much better than this."

In a letter presented to the board, Gina Millsap, the library’s executive director, said its collection has more than 600 books relating to sex, sex instruction, sexual behavior and fertility.

"Will staff be expected to review all of these titles and assign some or all of them to a restricted collection?" Millsap wrote.

But Borchers said she does not plan to challenge any more books.

"This is sexually graphic material. It is harmful to minors," she said. "I’m not going to apologize for this."

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