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Legislation to expand confidentiality of young Vermonters in public libraries moves forward

A paper tree stands tall behind two leather arm chairs. In the foreground, bookshelves full of colorful books.
Andrea Laurion
Vermont Public
The Varnum Memorial Library in Jeffersonville.

The Vermont Senate on Wednesday gave its approval to legislation that expands the confidentiality rights of minors who use public libraries.

Under current law, parents and guardians of kids under 16 have access to what books their children have checked out at a library.

This bill reduces parental access to these records for children under 12.

More from Brave Little State: Not just ‘academics and diversions’: How libraries remain at the heart of Vermont towns

Senate Education Chairman Brian Campion says that would give teenagers more freedom to investigate controversial issues on their own.

"Prevent the sort of bullying and I'd say discriminatory culture that they sometimes feel in American society, so we thought this was a particularly important provision that kids could go in and just sort of go in on their own, not have their parents be able to access this information," Campion says.

Opponents of the bill say it unfairly restricts the rights of parents.

The bill now goes to the Vermont House for its consideration.

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Bob Kinzel has been covering the Vermont Statehouse since 1981 — longer than any continuously serving member of the Legislature. With his wealth of institutional knowledge, he answers your questions on our series, "Ask Bob."