The Iowa legislature is considering HF 2055, a bill that would open the library usage records of Iowa minors to inspection by parents and guardians. The bill passed the education subcommittee on Feb 4.
These records are already open to law enforcement in the course of criminal investigations, if the records could yield compelling information. This proposed revision to the law requires the release of these records upon a simple request by a parent or guardian.
While the parental role and accompanying responsibilities are of critical importance, this bill appears to devalue the privacy of minors, especially those who may be seeking information of a highly personal nature, such as gender identity or religious beliefs. It could also pose a chilling effect on the free and open discussion that characterizes an educational system devoted to maintaining a democracy.
This affects secondary education more than higher education, except for the students enrolled in Iowa’s robust Senior Year Plus program, which includes dual enrollment.
The bill and bill history can be found at http://coolice.legis.iowa.gov/Cool-ICE/default.asp?Category=billinfo&Service=Billbook&menu=false&ga=85&hbill=HF2055