Library Board Votes to Restrict Access to Sex-Themed Books

By: 13 News
By: 13 News

The Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library Board voted 5-3 to restrict access to four books with sexual themes.

The vote came just after 6:30pm Thursday and followed more than two hours of testimony and discussion. The board then continued discussion on what exactly would be the best way to go about restricting access. They ultimately decided to let staff decide the best way to go about it.

The vote stemmed by a request by Kim Borchers and her group "Kansans for Common Sense" to place four books behind the library counter. She did not request they be banned, but did ask access by minors be restricted.

The books were "The Joy of Sex," "The Joy of Gay Sex," "The Lesbian Kama Sutra," and "Sex for Busy People."

Board members in the majority, including Terry Kimes, Jim Rankin, Suzanne Robb and Dan Guenther attend church with Borchers. Kimes and Rankin denied on Thursday there is any conflict of interest involved. Robb and Guenther did not comment.

Board Chair Kerry Storey said it was the most disappointing moment in her 25-year association with the library. She said she did not choose the board members. Her fear is the library could go from being a source of pride for the community could become an embarrassment.

The board will decide whether to put the books on the top shelf, put them behind the counter or do something else with them at next month's meeting.

The three-pronged statute to determine if something is harmful to minors is as follows:

1. The average adult person applying contemporary community standards would find that the material or performance has a predominant tendency to appeal to a prurient interest in sex to minors.

2. The average adult person applying contemporary community standards would find that the material or performance depicts or describes nudity, sexual conduct, sexual enticement or sadomasochistic abuse in a manner that is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community with respect to what is suitable to minors.

3. A reasonable person would find that the material or performance lacks serious literary, scientific, educational, artistic or political value for minors.

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