Frequently Asked Questions
How You Can Respond
1. Is there pornography in the Lafayette Public Library?
A. Of course not. The Lafayette Public Library does not have obscene or pornographic material in its collections. To say otherwise is fearmongering in order to cause controversy. Books which contain topics of sexuality or sexual health are not pornography, and to label them as such is a gross disservice to the librarians who carefully curate the collection.
You may hear the term "community standards" thrown around in library meetings, as a test of what may be called "pornography." This term comes from the Supreme Court case Miller vs. California (1973). However, the definition of pornography as ruled by the Supreme Court in this case has THREE parts. 1) whether ‘the average person, applying contemporary community standards’ would find that the work, ‘taken as a whole,’ appeals to ‘prurient (morbid, shameful, unhealthy) interest’ (this is where the term 'community standards' comes in), 2) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law, and 3) whether the work, ‘taken as a whole,’ lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value (community standards do not govern this last part). ALL THREE of those conditions must be satisfied for a work to be considered pornography.
Books on sexual health, even those that have graphic depictions of sex, do not fall under the definition of pornography. Neither do books on gender identity or other LGBTQ content.
Say this again: IT IS THE PARENT'S RESPONSIBILITY TO MONITOR WHAT THEIR CHILD CHECKS OUT OF THE LIBRARY. To restrict what AN ENTIRE COMMUNITY has access to based on what makes a few people uncomfortable, is WRONG.
2. How do I respond to someone on social media with concerns about books they've found in the library?
A. First, see question #1.
Second, not every book is for everyone. Libraries are great that way - if you find a book you don't like, or don't agree with, you can simply return it! However, taking away access to that book for every member of the community is NOT the answer.
3. If I find something on the library shelf, does that mean the library endorses it?
A. Nope. That simply means the librarians are doing their job - providing materials that represent the widest variety of viewpoints in our library. Their goal is to represent ALL voices in our community - NOT the majority, NOT the biggest voting bloc, NOT the largest church denomination. ALL VOICES. This is why the library is so vital, and why it is such an important reflection of our Democracy.