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Controlling 'R'-rated movies at county libraries

SAN DIEGO — On December 9 the San Diego County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a recommendation by Fifth District Supervisor Bill Horn to control “R”-rated DVDs and videos at its 33 library branches and two bookmobiles.

“Parents have voiced concerns to us that children under the age of 18 have been checking out ‘R’-rated DVDs and videos without their consent,” said Supervisor Horn. “Ultimately, protecting a child from viewing inappropriate material is a parent’s responsibility. However, we want to make sure there is a system in place that allows parents to exercise their rights in doing what is best for their underage children.”

Supervisor Horn asked the Chief Administrative Officer to report back the costs and recommendations for a system that:

1. Creates a new library card application which clearly states the County Library DVD and video check-out policy and provides an option for restricting a child’s access to “R”-rated videos

2. Requires that a parent must check the appropriate box on their child’s library card application to restrict their child from checking out any film rated “R” by the Motion Picture Association of America

Currently, parents provide passive consent to allowing their children to peruse and check out “R”-rated film titles when a child’s library card agreement is signed.

“Five years ago, the board approved my recommendation to install commercial Internet filters to prevent the viewing of obscene or pornographic material by library patrons,” Horn said. “While the county controls the content of its library collections in all formats, I think this adds another layer of protection that supports parental supervision.”


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