The St. Louis County Library board rejects Missouri’s new proposal

ST. LOUIS — A Missouri proposal would require certification for libraries receiving government funding, particularly state officials, to ensure that no works offered in the libraries “appeal to the lustful interest of a minor.”

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft last month introduced a proposal to introduce measures to protect minors from inappropriate materials. It comes after Missouri enacted a law in August that resulted in nearly 300 book bans in Missouri school libraries for works believed to contain “explicitly sexual material.”

Supporters say the book ban and recent proposal are among several measures in the bill that seek to address child trafficking. Opponents argue that the book bans deprive students of the freedom to read in Missouri.

The St. Louis County Library Board of Trustees passed a resolution Monday against Missouri’s proposal, citing the following concerns:

  • The Board of Directors is committed to the principles of the Library Bill of Rights and its interpretations, the Freedom to Read Statement and the Freedom to View Statement adopted by the American Library Association
  • The Board believes that it should be the right and responsibility of parents and guardians to make decisions about what library materials are appropriate for their own children
  • The Board rejects the possibility of censorship and restrictions on equal access to books and library materials
  • The board believes that policy and collection development decisions should remain within the discretion of the local library committee, as permitted by the Missouri statute

According to a statement, the St. Louis Country Library “reserves the right of every individual to read, listen to and view in private the full range of published thoughts and ideas.” The library has one too collection development policy to explain how certain materials are purchased and stored.

Ashcroft’s office opened a 30-day public comment period on his new proposal earlier this week. Missourians can provide feedback on the proposal by email ( or by mail to the Missouri Secretary of State’s office at this address:

PO Box 1767
Jefferson City, MO 65102

After the public comment period, the Office of the Secretary of State will decide whether to table the rule unchanged, rewrite it, or repeal it, although the exact timeline for such decisions is unclear. The St. Louis County Library board rejects Missouri’s new proposal

Sarah Y. Kim

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