UPDATE January 28 STATEMENT NCAC, ALA OIF, PEN America, and Other Organizations Call Upon Missouri Legislature to Reject Library Bill
A Missouri Lawmaker says he wants to keep sexual materials at libraries out of kid’s hands.
But a lot of people are pushing against the idea, saying it’s a form of censorship.
“The main thing is I want to be able to take my kids to a library and make sure they’re in a safe environment, and that they’re not gonna be exposed to something that is objectionable material,” says State Representative Ben Baker. “Unfortunately, there are some libraries in the state of Missouri that have done this. And that’s a problem.”
On January 8th, Baker filed the Parental Oversight of Public Libraries Act, and it’s already getting backlash.
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From The Guardian:
Titles including Sherman Alexie’s award-winning The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five and Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak, a young adult novel about the rape of a teenager, have all come under fire in Missouri over the last decade.
PEN America’s deputy director of free expression research and policy, James Tager, called Baker’s bill a “shockingly transparent attempt to legalise book banning in the state of Missouri”. He said it was “clearly aimed at empowering small groups of parents to appoint themselves as censors over their state’s public libraries” and said that books containing sexual themes, LGBTQ characters and exploring the impact of sexual assault could be “on the chopping block if this bill is passed”.
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Additional Media Coverage
Full Text of Statement From PEN America: Proposed Book Banning Bill in Missouri Could Imprison Librarians