The library is about to have a significant Sister Sunshine Charlotte Moment on its hands.
We were checking out books at our local library (the bigger one) and hanging out in the children's section, when my 5-year-old handed me a comic book and said, "This is nasty, Mommy. Very nasty." I took it from her, and this is what I gazed down upon.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Graphic Novel. Like a fancy comic book. With pictures and text.
Naturally, I flipped through it. (You would have too.) I'd give anything to get that 20 seconds of my life and hit rewind. Nasty isn't the half of it.
I want to be crystal clear about this so that I am not misquoted. I am absolutely and completely in favor of the library carrying this smut. It's free speech in action. We should not be in the business of banning materials, books, videos, etc., based on any set of subjective criteria. It's dangerous and leads no where good, because if They can ban one thing They will ban Your Thing eventually. Adults should be able to make informed decisions about what we view and read without being prevented by the Government or Religion.
We need ratings like "R" that (at least attempt to) prohibit 12-year-olds from going to see certain material/movies/etc. without parental consent. It's just a good idea and helps us make better decisions. You can't drive or drink or vote until a certain age; guidelines aren't the enemy. They are a tool, a help.
So, before anyone gets in a twist, I am all for you being able to check out a graphic novel where half-naked women are sawed up and cut up and hacked to death by a homicidal maniac. Knock yourself out. (And stay away from my house.)
When I picked up the comic book and hauled up to two library workers, I wanted to know how and why it is being stored at eye level where my preschool child had instant access to it.
Why? Because it's in the Young Adult Section. And the Young Adult Section in the library is right next to the Children's Section. (On top of it, in fact.)
I asked what qualifies as "Young Adult". The Librarian told me 16-24 year old people are "Young Adult Readers".
No, Sister, not exactly. You might recall that stink when The Golden Compass came out? Well, I distinctly remember that the qualification "Young Adult" can refer to anyone TEN YEARS OLD AND UP.
WIKI says: The distinctions between children's literature, YA literature, and adult literature have historically been flexible and loosely defined. This line is often policed by adults who feel strongly about the border.  At the lower end of the YA age spectrum, fiction targeted to readers age 10 to 12 is referred to as middle grade fiction. Some novels originally marketed to adults have been identified as being of interest and value to adolescents and, in the case of several books such as the Harry Potter novels, vice versa.
So, my next series of inquiries involved asking pointed questions about restrictions on checking out this sort of book to minors, you know, since every single filthy word that has ever been thought of appears at least once per page. And I'm talking the choice, four-dollar words. The ones that are reserved for Very Special Occasions like you wind up on an episode of Cheaters or you come home and find out your wife has left with your best friend. Stuff like that. The page I flipped open to? F-bombs to the left and right. Lovely.
No, the librarian informed me, there are absolutely no restrictions for checking out any book in the library. I mentioned that children can't rent R movies, so there are some restrictions in the library.
(This is where it gets rich.)
Librarian: "No, there are no restrictions on checking out print materials. We rely on the parents to police their own children and their reading materials."
Me: "Well, what about the self-check-out station? Anyone can take his/her library card and books and simply check them out without a librarian's help."
Librarian: "Again, we rely on parents to handle this."
Pause. (Because I know that isn't the answer she meant to give me. Surely.)
Me: "You just had 20+ children in this building with the Boys and Girls Club of America. No parents at all--two childcare workers who were browsing around for themselves. Not a single parent in the building with that group. And yet I watched every one of those kids use the self check out. So, you're telling me that every one of those children can check out anything in this library, and that The Texas Chainsaw Massacre can go home with any of them?"
Librarian: "Yes. Again, we are counting on the parental supervision to take effect."
Me: "But they can check out without having a parent sign or present the family library card or whatever, so you're counting on their 'figurative' and not-present parents to supervise them?"
Me: "Who is in charge here? I mean, specifically, who do I address a letter to?"
Librarian: "Me. I'm in charge of the Children's Section."
Of course you are.
And now, when boys come to call on my daughters, in order to leave the house, they are going to have to bring a list of every single book they've checked out from the library. Ever.
A lot of Somebodies are getting "A Letter" today.