A new library system in Hillsborough County allows parents to place restrictions on their childrens access to mature content.
A new library system in Hillsborough County allows parents to place restrictions on their children’s access to mature content.
(Photo Credit: Brooke Fechtel/Canva/Achona Online)

Hillsborough county library places restrictions on younger card holders

After January 1 of 2024, younger library cardholders in the Hillsborough community will be restricted with what books they can check out. Voted unanimously by county commissioners, this plan hopes to limit the amount of mature content that is available to younger audiences.

Through categorized library cards, this new library system will provide greater power to parents who wish to regulate the content their children are checking out of the library. There are three levels of access that a child may receive based on their age:

Restricted: simple and age-appropriate articles

Plus: more mature articles along with nonfiction and classic texts

Unrestricted: complete access to all library content

Concerns were raised over potentially banned novels or censorship, but the library workers claim that no books are being removed from the libraries. The workers compare this system to the equivalent of movie restrictions at a theater, as more mature content is not available to younger customers without parental permission or accompaniment. 

There are 30,000 library card holders under the age of 16 in Hillsborough County. Will these new rules affect the traffic of youth in the library? In 2021, a report by the Pew Research Center found that 39 percent of youth in high school or younger had not read a book in the past year. As society enters an age based on social media and technology, less emphasis is placed on the importance of reading. By placing restrictions on what texts younger cold holders have access to, is the library indirectly contributing to the declining interest in reading that plagues American youth?

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