Odious of so many levels!

ALA responds to potential legislation in Missouri

Banned book display at the Springfield–Greene County (Mo.) Library DistrictMissouri House Bill 2044, introduced on January 8, proposes the creation of five-member “parental library review boards” to identify “age-inappropriate” public library materials and restrict access to them. According to its sponsor, State Rep. Ben Baker (R-Neosho), the bill grew out of concerns with drag queen story hours at public libraries. It proposes criminal prosecution for library workers who make those materials available to minors and would deny funding to libraries that do not employ parental review boards. The ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom released a statement on the legislation that reads, in part: “We support the right of families and individuals to choose materials from a diverse spectrum of ideas and beliefs.” The Missouri Library Association has also issued a statement.

This is the United States and EveryLibrary has a petition ging:

“A newly proposed bill, HB 2044, in Missouri would send librarians to jail for checking out books… Seriously!

The worst part is that we are seeing similar tactics begin to circulate in other states. We need to stop it here, in Missouri, before it spreads to other states.

Sign the petition today regardless of where you live.
Then, help us reach more Americans like you by clicking here to share it on FACEBOOK and TWITTER

House Bill 2044 sets up a crisis that does not exist in libraries. Materials in libraries are already reviewed by librarians who are specifically trained in collection development. They select age-appropriate materials based on a wide range of guidelines. Library users may also already challenge the placement of materials in a library through a process for reconsideration. In many cases, this process already includes the library board, elected officials, and members of the public. HB 2044 would create an unnecessary, unwieldy, unfunded, duplicative, and overly bureaucratic mockery of a long-standing and working review process.


Ultimately, the decision to access materials in the library should be a decision made between a parent and their own children and not a new bureaucratic, unregulated government tribunal.

The high cost of enforcement also means that Missouri will see an increase in taxes to pay for this overarching government censorship. If we start sending librarians to jail over the content of books, it costs approximately $31,000 to house an inmate in prison for one year in Missouri. The cost of this bill is also exacerbated by the fact that each library in the state must hold a publicly funded review panel election for every 5 person review board required. Is this how we want our tax dollars to be spent?”