SALINE COUNTY, Ark. — After hours of debate and over an hour of public comment— leaders of Saline County approved a resolution that requests the Saline County Library system to ensure that "materials contained within the children's section of the library are subject matter and age appropriate."
This decision comes after the Arkansas legislative session passed Act 372 that "create[s] the offense of furnishing a harmful item to a minor" including loaning a library book, as a criminal act.
Though there was much debate over a possible amendment that would make it so legal guardians had the final say in what content could be accessible to their child, that ultimately did not pass.
Over the course of the meeting, there were multiple questions brought up about what the library's current policy was on content that might not be "age appropriate" for children.
County leaders did not know the answer to that question at the time but said they want to work with the library toward a resolution going forward.
Supporters of the resolution said the decision will protect kids.
"We should be able to allow our children to go into the children's section of the library and not have to worry that they're going to pick up a book that is that they're not able to process," A sponsor of the resolution, Jim Whitley who represents District 10 shared.
Meanwhile protestors of the resolution, including librarian, Dana Bloch explained that they are, "worried because this has been historically the first step to defund libraries. I know that we have said that that's not I truly believe that is not your ultimate goal. But I believe that that is the ultimate goal of some groups."
The resolution passed and a representative from Saline County reports that they'll be reaching out to the library for the next steps.