Governor Little signed House Bill 710 (“Children’s School and Library Protection Act”) into law on Wednesday April 10, 2024. We at the Idaho Commission for Libraries are sharing a few best practices to guide school and public libraries in complying with this new requirement. School and public libraries have until July 1, 2024, to implement any changes, as the requirements and procedures outlined in this bill are not in effect until that date.

First, remember that libraries and school districts have lost court cases where they have removed or restricted materials, violating the First Amendment rights of minors and adults. If your staff or board considers relocating or removing books, follow your policies that are in place for your collection to ensure that you are not creating any liabilities for your organization. This LibGuide provided by the Thomas J. Meskill Law Library lists previous court cases that relate to libraries and intellectual freedom.

Second, your governing Board of Trustees or School Board should review and update your Collection Development/Request for Reconsideration policies to comply with the law. This will include detailing your process for the relocation/reconsideration of materials and citing the appropriate sections of Idaho Code. Consult with your legal counsel/risk manager to ensure that your policies are legal according to all applicable laws and regulations. In your policy, confirm that if you have previously detailed something as being up for reconsideration that you also include language to request relocating the material to an adults only section.

Third, in your library’s Request for Reconsideration form, either add an option to request materials be relocated instead of removed from the collection or create a separate form for relocation requests. These forms must cite Idaho Code § 18-1514. The relevant Children’s School and Libraries Protection Act is cited as Idaho Code § 18-1517b. You may wish to cite that when referring to the timeline for reconsiderations or appeals and next steps. Note that:

“Each school and public library shall have a policy and readily accessible form allowing a person to request review of material the person considers to be harmful to minors. Such form shall contain the definition of ‘harmful to minors,’ as provided in section 18-1514, Idaho Code.”

Finally, we would like to invite you to join us for an “Office Hours” session on Friday, May 3rd from 10:00 a.m. – Noon MT. This will be a collaborative session where participants will be able to ask questions and share their successes and challenges. Here is the Zoom link for that meeting:

We know that challenging times lie ahead, but we will all find a path forward for our communities and continue to provide the vital service of education to the residents of our state. The staff of the Idaho Commission for Libraries are available to assist you and we encourage you to reach out with any questions.