‘Borrower beware’? That appears to be the policy for age-inappropriate books for children at this Kansas City-area library

The Missouri secretary of state last year enacted a rule requiring libraries to “adopt written policies determining what material is age-appropriate.” But at least one Kansas City-area…

The Missouri secretary of state last year enacted a rule requiring libraries to “adopt written policies determining what material is age-appropriate.” But at least one Kansas City-area library seems to have passed the buck on to parents.

In a notice sent to a new cardholder this month, Mid-Continent Public Library essentially tells parents they’re completely on their own – just as before the new rule – when it comes to safeguarding their children from age-inappropriate books, many of which contain explicit sexual depictions or blatant indoctrination into alternative sexual lifestyles.

“If you are the parent or guardian of this new library card holder, please know that the Library does not monitor what is checked out with any library card,” the notice reads. “We respect your right to make decisions for your child, and if you prefer to limit their access to certain materials, you may cancel their library card and check out items for them on your own library card.”

The “policy” is less a procedure for the library than a parable for the parents: Bring your kids here at their own risk.

While no one expects a library to monitor what is checked out, it certainly has the power and authority to decide what materials are made conspicuously available to children and youth in the first place.

While last year’s rule promulgated by Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft seems intended to prod libraries into making such decisions, this library system, at least, is taking a pass.

One parent – Lion freelance writer Michael Dillon – reports he took his young child to a Mid-Continent location in Gladstone, one of about three dozen branches, and encountered the subtly gender-fluid picture book Julián at the Wedding.

In the book young Julián, wearing flowing clothing that could be taken as a dress, is in a wedding party with two “brides.” When Julián and friend Marisol go off to play and Marisol’s dress gets dirty, Julián — definitively described as a boy in the previous Julián Is a Mermaid — offers his oversized shirt as a replacement, and they both grow wings.

Described as appropriate for ages 3 and up, while the book appears innocent enough it may be more subliminal than subtle: The characters’ gender lines are clearly nebulous, as in the two children’s clothing. In addition, one of the “brides” is dressed as a groom but appears to be a female.

In Julián Is a Mermaid, the boy imagines being a mermaid, then dresses like one and is taken to a parade of mermaid-dressers — looking progressively more female all along.

“I did find what I would consider to be inappropriate content,” Dillon said of the library. “Lots of lgbtqia stuff. So, we stopped going.”

It’s not just an alternative sexual lifestyle parents are concerned about, either. It’s premature sexualization of any kind, though the LGBTQ themes run rampant through children’s books today. Indeed, notes the Heritage article, of parental book complaints documented by the Washington Post, “only 7% of parental objections included ‘LGBTQ’ without also including the word ‘sexual.’”

In other words, 93% of parents’ concerns are about sexualization, not which kind it is. 

While most of the media characterize parents’ worries about premature sexualization and political indoctrination of their young children, a Heritage.org summary of some of the most-challenged children’s books shows parents have every right to be concerned.

“School librarians decide to stock sexually explicit books,” reads the Heritage story, headlined “Parents Objecting to Pornographic Material in School Libraries Aren’t “‘Book Banners.’”

“Parents object to the presence of pornographic material in their children’s school libraries. And then the American education establishment and media try to tar them as ‘book banners,’ suggesting they are racists, transphobes, and akin to Nazis.”

Here are some of the most-removed books for minors, as noted in the Heritage article:

  • Gender Queer: The graphic novel features a picture of oral sex being performed on a sex toy.
  • This Book Is Gay: provides a how-to guide to find strangers for sex on gay sex apps.
  • l8r g8r: contains discussions of oral sex.
  • It’s Perfectly Normal: contains drawings of children masturbating.
  • Lawn Boy: contains a passage about 10-year-old boys performing oral sex on each other.
  • Jack of Hearts: talks about a condom that is “covered in s—-.

In addition, per Libs of TikTok, the book All Boys Aren’t Blue, for ages 14-18, “discusses 2 boys having s*x including a*aI s*x and bIow jobs in graphic detail. It also includes p*d*phiIia,, m*sturb*tion, r*pe, i*cest, and contains racist anti-white sentiments.”

The Lion has reached out to two officials at Mid-Continent Public Library, as well as the secretary of state’s office, for comment.