Thursday, November 12, 2009

Restricted Classification Discussion

This question came over the Public Library Network and it raised a good discussion that I wanted to share with you:

Dear Colleagues
I have one book in the collection with the following information attached to the front cover:
RESTRICTED CLASSIFICATION
THIS TITLE IS RESTRICTED TO PERSONS 18 YEARS AND OVER
The book in question is American psycho by Bret Easton Ellis.
I can find no record of a restricted classification recorded in the Australian government classification database, so I was wondering if any other libraries hold this title and, if so, do you restrict its borrowing??




One answer came back very quickly from the State Library:

American psycho by Bret Easton Ellis is restricted as a result of the national classification scheme in Australia see
http://tiny.cc/eziY2 for details of its classification.

The Classification web site has a searchable database so that you can check if any title is under restricted access http://www.oflc.gov.au/www/cob/classification.nsf


Another comment:

Wow, that's a blast from the past. Quite controversial when it came out in 1991, at one point it looked like it would be banned outright. Certainly generated a lot of interest in the author and the book. There are only 8 holdings listed on LA so there aren't many copies around. I believe that you are legally required to restrict lending of the item to people under the age of 18 years. It must be shelved in such a way as to reasonably limit access to people under 18. It gets a bit grey around that last bit and that's really where you need to make a decision about what your local community would think reasonable. Closed stack access, or open shelving in the "adult section".We had a similar predicament with Kubrick's Clockwork Orange, a classic but restricted all the same.

And finally, a legislative answer, also from the State Library of NSW:

There are two pieces of legislation for NSW public library staff to be aware of re: items that have MA material and restricted classifications, ie:

(a) a film classified MA 15+ or R 18+
(b) a publication classified Category 1 restricted or Category 2 restricted
(c) a computer game classified MA 15+ or RC

COMMONWEALTH:
Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 (Cth)

NSW:
Public Library Exemption under the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Enforcement Act 1995 (NSW)
The two Library Council of NSW publications that will be of most assistance are:

1. Library Council of New South Wales | Children's Policy Guidelines for NSW public libraries
(a simple summary of the relevant sections from both pieces of legislation is listed in Appendix 2 and Appendix 2a pp.14-15)
http://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/services/public_libraries/library_mgt/lib_management_docs/childrens_%20policy_%20guidelines.pdf
2. Library Council of New South Wales | Access to Information in New South Wales Public Libraries Guideline
(describes the role of NSW public libraries in relation to censorship)
http://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/services/public_libraries/policies/docs/accesstoinformation2007.pdf


What are your thoughts on Censorship?

1 comment:

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