Charlie Parker tells me that Florida has a new bill, S1624, that would require sex offenders (with victims under 18) to immediately identify themselves to library staff before using a public library.
"If the victim was under the age of 18, a prohibition against entering a public library without immediately notifying an employee of the library of the sex offender's presence and intent to use the resources of the library. As used in this subparagraph, the term "immediately" means moving from the entrance of the public library in a straight line to the nearest work station occupied by an employee of the public library. The sex offender may not move from that work station until the employee acknowledges the presence of the sex offender. Any sex offender who violates this subparagraph commits a felony of the third degree.."
The bill also prohibits sex offenders (with victims under 18) from working for pay or as a volunteer at schools, day cares, parks, playgrounds, pet stores, libraries, zoos, theme parks or other places where children regularly congregate...
Minow take: Although I like the prohibition against sex offenders working or volunteering at libraries, I am concerned about the proposed new role of library employee as sex offender check-in officer. Does this mean the library person must then keep an eye on the patron? Is there funding for extra staff to do this? What kind of relationship does this really entail, and does it put the library employee at some risk? Will there be an expectation that the librarian will keep the offender away from the children... and if so, what if she fails?
What chill does it have on the freedom of the offender, who, having served his (or her)time, may be trying to get self-help information to deal with his
A librarian recently asked me about her own scenario, in which a library employee was getting a divorce, and there was a restraining order keeping her ex away from her. We talked about the fact that this meant he was kept out of his own public library, since that's where the employee worked. And yet, in that case, the ex was not kept out of other public libraries. His freedom to receive information in the public library (a constitutional right established at least in the Third Circuit in the Kreimer case) may have been hampered, but it was not curtailed. He just needed to drive further to the next community.
*issues changed to problems per anon's comment below