I’d like to believe a bill like Missouri’s HB 2044, the “Parental Oversight of Public Libraries Act”, has no chance of passing. State legislators often introduce things to spark headlines.
That said, Missouri is Missouri. (Sorry, Missourians)
Each public library shall establish a parental library review board
The board shall be composed of five adult residents of the public library’s geographical area.
The board shall determine whether any sexual material provided to the public by the public library is age-inappropriate sexual material.
The board may order any material deemed to be age-inappropriate sexual material to be removed from public access by minors at the public library.
Any public library personnel who willfully neglects or refuses to perform any duty imposed on a public library under this section, or who willfully violates any provision of this section, is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction shall be punished by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars or by imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed one year.Selected sections from the full text of HB 2044.
There’s much more text in the bill, but that’s the gist. Parental boards are formed to determine what books should end up on a future “can you believe this book was actually banned back then” lists. If a librarian provides access to a banned book, they pay a fine or go to jail.
Anyhow. The American Library Association has a page with a very large number of projects you can donate to. Seems like as good a time as any.
I’m allocating part of my donation to the “Freedom to Read Foundation”, which is listed under the Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) and “supports the right of libraries to collect – and individuals to access – information“. The FTRF has its own site as well.
And I’m allocating another portion to the “21st Century Fund”, which is unrestricted and gives the “ALA the flexibility to respond quickly to unanticipated challenges.”
I’ve bookmarked HB 2044 to check in on it every once and a while, though I’m hopeful it remains in its current form (or disappears) as just another reason for me to show my support for libraries. 📚
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