Pressure from an angry parent has prompted the Malibu Library to move its bookmobile from the Malibu Community Center location.
The bookmobile had been visiting the Community Center location since 1992, when budget cuts forced the closure of Point Dume library. When Point Dume Marine Science Elementary School opened at the Community Center location, the bookmobile played a prominent role. “Classes came every Tuesday,” said Community Library Manager Corinna Chaney. “They came with a teacher’s aide and they would check out age-appropriate material.”
But Chaney received a complaint last month after a 9-year-old student checked out the CD soundtrack of Howard Stern’s movie, “Private Parts.” “It was returned to us in pieces,” said Chaney, “by a very upset patron.”
That patron was the 9-year-old’s mother, who reportedly found photos in the CD cover objectionable. Chaney said there are safeguards in place to prevent children from checking out material that parents may find offensive. Parents must give written permission before anyone under the age of 18 is given library privileges. Beyond that, she said, the responsibility lies with the parent. “The county policy is that it’s not the library’s responsibility to monitor what the child checks out,” said Chaney, who said the student’s parent had given permission for the child to check out library material.
“We’re not a school library, we’re a public library. We have many different needs in the community and we try to fill all of those,” said Chaney. “He had carte blanche to take whatever he wanted from the library.”
Chaney said if she notices a child with library material that is unsuitable, she will discourage the student from checking it out or suggest that he or she asks a parent. But, she added, “If a kid has full library privileges and is dead set on checking something out, there’s nothing we can do about it.”
Chaney said she spoke with the school’s principal and decided to look for another spot to park the bookmobile. The school now has its own library and the Community Center occupies only a small portion of the property. Starting Nov. 1, the bookmobile will stop at Point Dume Plaza, near Westward Ho market.
Chaney said many Point Dume residents are annoyed by the cause of the move. “It was one angry woman. It was blown all out of proportion,” said Chaney. “Nobody has ever complained before.”
“I’m really upset about it. We use it almost every week. I ride my bike with my kids,” said Teresa Carrigan, mother of three. “If they move it up to the store, we won’t be able to use it anymore.”
Although the move will inconvenience some, it may help others. Chaney said there are a large number of senior citizens who may find it easier to visit the bookmobile at its new location. “I’m hoping there’s a whole market that we haven’t touched,” said Chaney. “Maybe it will be a help.”
The bookmobile will keep the same schedule, visiting Point Dume Plaza Tuesdays from 10 a.m. – noon and 1:30 – 4 p.m.