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Kids Get R-Rated Movies at the Library

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NORTH LIBERTY - Movie theaters say they do not let anyone under age 17 into R-rated movies, but those same films are readily available at public libraries for anyone to check out.

That news came as a shock to one Iowa mother. Now the North Liberty woman is asking the library for help.

Libraries in Johnson County will let anyone, regardless of age, check out an R-rated movie. This news surprised Sally O'Rear. She found out the hard way. She saw her 13-year-old daughter with the movie.

O'Rear said, "I want people to know you can go out there to the library and check these out. I want to be that voice to say, 'Hey parents wake up. Look, this is what's going on.''"

For O'Rear, it is not so much that the movies are available. She wants the staff to help monitor what kids are doing inside the library.

She said, "I feel the parents should keep an eye out also, but I feel the library needs to put up notification."

North Liberty Library's Assistant Director Jennie Garner said, "We can't be babysitters. We can't monitor everyone's age."

Library staff will tell you blocking kids from any material at the library is unconstitutional.

Garner said, "Anyone, including minors, has the right to access any materials under the First Amendment."

O'Rear said, "I don't want them to censor it. I just want them to be a voice to parents knowing your kid can come in here."

Monday evening O'Rear will ask the library board to consider putting up signs in the library. She thinks that will help make parents more aware. The library director tells TV-9 the board will consider compromises. Those could include possibly putting a notice on the library's Web site.

Most libraries around the country follow the Library Bill of Rights. It says a person should not be discriminated against because of age.

E-mail Steve Nicoles at

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