A pillar of a school library is to be a safe space for exploration.
A 14-year-old child should not, UNKNOWINGLY, select a book with erotically written depictions of sex and have their first exposure to such graphic content be from a book they selected at their school library.
Many teens fight to protect their minds from sex. Why would it be okay for schools to thwart that innocence the child still works to instill? Why should they be responsible for reading a book, investing in the characters and storyline, only to realize it has content that they don't want to ingest thus polluting their minds? How is this the makings of a library that is safe for everyone?
We can't rely on outside review sites. Professional review sites are not regulated and not established for the intent of ensuring books are appropriate for minors. They are established with the intent of informing their audience as to which age groups are capable of understanding, reading and interested in the content contained within the given book. Kirkus's Young Readers' Editor, Laura Simeon, wrote in her April 2022 article, "What Makes a Book "Age Approriate"", the reviews Kirkus provides "are a starting point for consideration, not a substitute for any adult's understanding of a specific community, classroom, or individual child or teen." Our community is our school. Our librarians must be accountable for the content. Professional review sites cannot be entrusted to be in alignment with our school community's values.