Putting adult and children's nonfiction books on the same shelves is an assault on families and children and should be stopped immediately, a group of patrons told the Carroll County Public Library's board of trustees last night.
"In just 15 minutes [we] found as many as 15 books which were very adult in nature, intermingled with books intended for elementary-aged children," said Donna Schott of Manchester, who has two children who frequently use the North Carroll branch library. "There were books containing explicit sex, nudity and graphic violence and crime."
Schott's comments, and remarks made by about a dozen other patrons - including Commissioner Robin Bartlett Frazier - did not persuade the board to change the North Carroll system. Instead, the seven-member panel decided to review the situation for three months and vote on the issue at its January meeting.
The North Carroll library branch consolidated its 31,581 adult and children's nonfiction books into the adult area in June.
The system, known as interfiling, was started in North Carroll to make more room for children's fiction books in the children's section and to allow patrons to get information in a single place, said branch manager Lisa Hughes.
Frazier implored the board, made up of area business people, a lawyer and a college professor, to return the shelving system to distinct nonfiction areas: one for adults, the other for children.
"Things were good the way they were before," said Carolyn Yaeger of Manchester, who has three children.
Dels. Carmen Amedori and Joseph M. Getty, both Republicans, also attended the meeting. Getty, a Manchester resident with six children ranging in age from 2 to 17, is an active patron at the library branch in Greenmount.
Although interfiling has been in use in Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties for more than a decade, North Carroll is the first library in the county to use the system on an experimental basis, said Linda Mielke, the county's library director.