INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– The library is a great place for children to explore new books and learn to love reading. However, what if your child came home from the library with an erotic romance novel?
That happened to one family. After they couldn’t get the library to make any changes to protect children from this type of material, they contacted Fox59 for help.
“It is very sexually explicit, graphic,” said Jeannine Deeren about the book her 9-year-old grandson brought home.
He used the self-checkout at the West Indianapolis library branch on Kappes Street to borrow Night Games by Crystal Jordan. Deeren said her grandson was checking out books for the library’s summer reading program. He is into video games and didn’t understand the meaning of the book.
“He saw the ‘games’ and just picked it up, thinking it had some of the cheat things on there,” Deeren said.
However, this book is not about that kind of game.
Many passages are far too graphic to show on TV, but cover reads: “Warning! This is a really hot book. (Sexually explicit).”
Deeren said she followed library protocol in an attempt to get books like this removed.
“This is what I did. I went through three different people, filled out paper and then they sent this back,” Deeren said, referring to a letter that was sent back to her.
The letter indicated that Night Games has been nominated for several awards and that it’s the guardian’s responsibility to monitor a child’s book selection, which is indicated in the library application for people 18 and younger. Basically, Deeren learned that nothing will change.
“I figured if I can’t do something I figured the media could help me get something going,” Deeren said.
We contacted Indianapolis Public Library leaders to ask about putting age limits on certain books, similar to what they have done with the adult DVD selection. We also wanted to ask about a bar code system so librarians would know when a child was attempting to borrow an adult book.
Library officials declined to give an interview.
However, Indianapolis Public Library communication specialist Jon Barnes said this over the phone:
“We’ve communicated with the patron and explained our reasoning. We serve a population with varying tastes and interests.”
Barnes also said:
“The library has many suitable books for children and this book was in the adult section.”
However, the adult section is right next to the children books, with nothing to define the sections except signs, which are displayed high.
On one side of the bookcase is literature for children, on the other side of the bookcase, there is literature for adults, including other erotic selections.
Barnes also said over the phone:
“We encourage parents, grandparents and caregivers who don`t want their children to have access to certain materials to discuss how to use the library.”
That’s exactly how Deeren said her son found out about the content of her grandson’s book.
“Yeah he went through the books before he read them,” Deeren said.
While her grandson’s books are monitored, other children’s selections might not be, Deeren said.
“There is a place for these books and that’s an adult book store. If they want to keep it at a library, I want them to keep it behind a door,” Deeren said.
She is not giving up.
“I want to get this (Night Games) out of there. I want to just keep talking to people about getting these kinds of books out or putting them behind closed doors. One or the other,” Deeren said.
The library does have a special library card for children 6 years old and younger, but there is no differentiation for the library cards of people older than that. The application for that card is here.
To read the full library card application and terms listed for guardians, click here.