Librarians across Arkansas are preparing in different ways for a new state law set to take effect next week that changes how libraries handle controversial material.
The Faulkner County Library community meeting rooms that used to be yours for the asking are now off limits to everyone equally as the library tries to stay clear of a political storm. Not everyone is happy about it.
UPDATE: Faulkner County library cancels community-led events after public officials get upset over drag queen
The Faulkner County Library Board recently canceled more than a dozen public meetings in the Conway library, even noncontroversial ones, after the county judge warned members they needed to "avoid what happened in Craighead County."
Senate committee OKs bill allowing government censorship, criminal charges for teachers and librarians
Among other things, Senate Bill 81 creates a new crime. Should this bill become law, it will be a misdemeanor for teachers and librarians to knowingly allow minors access to materials that include "nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement, or sadomasochistic abuse."
"If this turns into an arms race to see who can read to children more, whatever," said Faulkner County Library Director John McGraw, who finds himself hosting dueling story hours Saturday: A "biblical message" from a pastor or "crafts, cookies and community" from the Faulkner County Coalition for Social Justice.
Books about gay penguins, transgender teens and school integration have some Arkansas conservatives calling to defund public libraries. First Amendment defenders are fighting back.