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Goshen Public Library and Historical Society

Across the Director's Desk

by Pauline J. Kehoe

May 17, 2000

In recent months the Library has changed its video circulation to allow holders of juvenile cards to check out videos if they have parental consent on file. This is convenient for the parent who wants his/her child to pick up a video being held and is an extension of the Library Bill of Rights, which recommends that all Library card holders have the right to use materials in all formats.

Because videos are visual, and images of certain themes may be more powerful than printed words, parents are encouraged to beware of the rating code printed on the cover. Most films released in the United States have been rated by the Motion Picture Association of America Rating Board. Details of their rating system and the composition of the Raiting Board (a print out of which is available in the library) may be found at their web site These ratings were originally intended to enable theater owners to assist parents in determining which movies they want their children to see but have since been adopted by home video producers as well. Parents should be aware that any rating other than G (General Audiences - all ages) may require prior viewing on their part if they are concerned about their children being exposed to strong language or images of violence, nudity, sensuality, and drug abuse. Rating beyond PG (Parental Guidance suggested) are all age sepecific in the recommended restrictions of viewing and contain higher levels of content that may be considered objectionable; PG-13 (parents strongly cautioned, some material may be inappropriate for children under 13); R (Restricted, under 17 requires accompanying adult); NC17 (No one under 17).

The disclaimer attached to these ratings is that it is intended for the use of parents. Each child has a different maturity level and/or tolerance for certain themes which you know best. I have known parents who felt that the violence depicted in G-rated Bambi was too intense for their child.

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