Board decides to restrict access to ‘Sex for Busy People,’ ‘The Lesbian Kama Sutra,’ ‘The Joy of Sex’ and ‘The Joy of Gay Sex’

In January, we reported on a Topeka, Kansas woman’s push to move books about sexuality to a restricted section. As Rebecca wrote then, “Restricting books may seem like a fine compromise, but it has a serious chilling effect on library patrons’ reading selection, and adopting such a policy would permit one person to enforce her views on everyone else.”

Yesterday, in a 5-3 decision, the library board decided to restrict Sex for Busy People, The Lesbian Kama Sutra, The Joy of Sex, and The Joy of Gay Sex calling the books “harmful to minors.” In an excellent article in the Topeka Capital-Journal, reporter Ann Marie Bush quotes Jason Chaika from the Kansas Equality Coalition, “There is not a librarian’s desk big enough to hide all the books that someone may find objectionable.” Bush also reports on Cecil Washington, who defended the restriction. After asking the assembled audience to “cover your ears,” Bush reports that Washington “read several explicit lines from a book he found online. The material wasn’t from one of the contested books.”


This dramatic presentation undermines the legitimate, vetted content of the books in question, the librarians who select books, and the public who choose to read them. Unfortunately, in this case, the hyperbole served well and the book restrictions were upheld. Staff who opposed the decision now have the burden of restricting access.

While restricting access to these books has been done in the name of protecting minors, this decision actually infringes on the rights of adults. Information about sexuality, and this kind of sexual content, is protected by the First Amendment. As the librarians and many members of the public are aware, it is not the role of the public library to create barriers to accessing information. We strongly disagree with the library board’s decision.

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This entry was posted in Svetlana Mintcheva: Author and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Board decides to restrict access to ‘Sex for Busy People,’ ‘The Lesbian Kama Sutra,’ ‘The Joy of Sex’ and ‘The Joy of Gay Sex’

  1. Pingback: NCAC Joins Book Groups in Protesting Restrictions on Books in Topeka Library « Blogging Censorship

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