Breaking News
More () »

CALS proposes lawsuit over new library bills

New legislation on Arkansas libraries is generating mixed reactions— some arguing it keeps kids safe from inappropriate material and others calling it censorship.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Many bills received attention during the 2023 Arkansas regular session, including ones focused on obscenities in libraries. Executive Director of the Central Arkansas Library System, Nate Coulter, explained that it's been frustrating for him.

"I like the great things a library is able to do," Coulter said. "To be targeted and vilified and have the suggestion that somehow we're a part of a threat to your child is offensive, frankly, it's unwarranted."

Coulter said they curate selections for all— and while there may be some that he or others disagree with, it's a choice that they operate on.

"I don't like the authors, I don't like the content, I don't like the viewpoint particularly, but that's not my job," Coulter said.

However, newly signed legislation will change that idea. Act 372 changes how content is classified and even creates punishments if someone were to be caught "furnishing a harmful item to a minor."

"Frankly, harmful to our system of government, harmful to democracy to let the government wade into an issue and decide some things we won't let you see," Coulter described.

Because of that, Coulter said CALS is in the process of getting a lawsuit ready to file. That lawsuit could be approved to file after the next CALS board meeting on May 25.

We reached out to State Senator Dan Sullivan, the bill's sponsor, for comment.

He told us he didn't want to comment until the lawsuit was filed, but did express that CALS is within their right to file one if they'd like.

Coulter said they don't want to have to file a lawsuit, but currently, they feel as if it's their only choice.

"Oftentimes, it's the only way," he said. "In this case, because the legislative process would end up like it did, and because the statute says you don't get any other option, you let the city board or the county quorum court, there's no, that's final. We believe a court should look at that."

Before You Leave, Check This Out