New bill would require Idaho school boards to develop review policies for library materialsJan 18, 2024 10:31AM ● By Mia Madonado, Idaho Capital Sun
One week into the Idaho Legislative session, and Idaho Republicans have brought forth a second piece of legislation concerning the limitation of library materials.
On Friday morning, the Idaho Legislature’s Senate State Affairs Committee introduced legislation to add a new section to Idaho Code 33-512 that requires Idaho school boards to develop policies to select, review and reconsider library materials.
Coined the “School Library Material Care Act” by its sponsors, Senate Bill 1221 would also require school boards establish a “library materials review committee,” or a group of parents, educators and administrators who review requests for reconsideration of school library items.
Sen. Geoff Schroeder, R-Mountain Home, presented the legislation to “address the controversy” surrounding library materials in Idaho schools. The proposed legislation has already garnered support from 11 cosponsors in the Idaho House of Representatives.
According to the legislation, library materials review committees in Idaho schools would have 45 days to discuss a community member’s request to remove a material from its shelves.
If a library does not comply with the committee’s decision to remove a library material, then it would have to close until doing so.
Schroeder, who has experience teaching at Mountain Home High School, said the goal is to avoid “the availability of pornography” without denying access to educational materials.
“There needs to be a fair way to evaluate whether or not that material is useful in the classroom or isn’t,” he said. “And this allows the people in that local community to make the decision about whether these materials are appropriate or not.”
Friday’s legislation comes two days after Republicans in the House State Affairs Committee introduced a new bill to allow community members to sue libraries if they provide “harmful materials” to minors.