The Plainfield Library can help you with resources to make those decisions! Unlike a school library, public libraries serve all ages, reading levels and a wide range of interests. That does mean that there is likely something in the Library's collection that would shock or offend you - and it most certainly means that not everything in the Library is suitable for children. While it is your responsibility as a parent to decide what is appropriate for your own child, we can help by providing the resources to make that a little easier.
The simplest way the Library does that is by the way books and DVDs are classified. Their location says a little something about their content!
For DVDs, the Library classifies by MPAA ratings and intended audience. DVDs in the Children's AV area (purple shelves) are all G or PG. Anything PG-13 will be found in the Teen AV area (red shelves). Anything R rated will be in the Adult AV area (dark grey shelves). That does not mean that PG movies will not be in the Adult AV area. Especially for classic films, if the intended audience is adults, the DVD will be located in that collection. So you can let your middle school "shop" the teen DVD area knowing that anything she chooses will be no more than PG-13.
For books, Easy and Easy Readers (E or EZ) are for very young children and emerging readers. Topics may include things like divorce or non-traditional families, but are presented in a manner appropriate to young children. Juvenile (J) runs the gamut from readers just delving into independent reading to older elementary student levels. Young Adult (YA or Y) begin to introduce more adult subject matter, but in a way most middle school students can handle. The most sensitive topics are in the Teen section - and, of course, upstairs in the Adult areas.
Library staff can direct you to resources that can aid in the decision-making, without you, as the parent, having to watch every DVD or read every book before they do. Readers advisory resources like the online database NoveList Plus K-8 can help you choose appropriate reading material. Even the Library's catalog may have reviews that can help you make an informed decision. For DVDs, they can show you online resources like IMDb.com which includes a parents guide that states the content of the movie for sex & nudity, violence & gore, drugs/alcohol/smoking and frightening/intense scenes.
In the end, what your child checks out of the library is up to you because anyone under the age of 18 cannot get a Library card without parent or guardian's consent.