FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Arkansas Senate Bill 81 would change the state’s criminal code to include library staff as being liable for “knowingly” giving out obscene materials to kids.

SB 81 uses Arkansas’ definition for obscenity as “means that to the average person, applying contemporary community standards, the dominant theme of the material taken as a whole appeals to prurient interest.”

Republican State Senator Dan Sullivan sponsored the bill and said it’s about making sure children don’t have access to sexually explicit content.

“This bill seeks to add library materials to that list of things that the state of Arkansas is willing to do to protect our children,” Sullivan said.

Some Arkansas librarians spoke against the bill during a committee meeting Monday.

“I also make sure that our students see themselves in the books housed in our library,” one librarian said.

She also noted, “as an African American librarian, I understand the importance of literacy and technology.”

Under the proposed bill, school districts and public libraries would need to have a written policy for selecting and removing materials from their collections. Anyone could challenge a book, have it heard by a committee, and then could appeal that decision to the school board, mayor, or quorum court.

“Parents and other people have questions about material in the library, and right now that appeal ends within a bureaucracy with appointed people,” Sullivan said.

Fayetteville parent Clint Schnekloth said he trusts librarians to do their jobs.

“It just seems really intrusive to be coming in with this kind of a legislation that just implies that they’re not doing their job well,” Schnekloth said.

The bill would also allow parents or guardians to be able to see all the books their children checked out of the library. SB 81 now heads to the full state Senate.