Protect Your Freedom to Read
Supporting Your Freedom to Read
On Wednesday, November 16th, 2022 the Maplewood Public Library Board of Trustees unanimously passed a resolution opposing the Secretary of State’s proposed administrative rule 15 CSR 30-200.015 that would limit local control over library materials.
You can read the resolution here.
This rule is problematic for libraries across the state. Here is how the rule will affect Maplewood Public Library:
- Taxpayer money that is typically used for books, programming, and technology will need to be reallocated for lawyer review of policies and changing the layout of the library.
- The policies in place at Maplewood Public Library are approved by a locally-appointed board who represent the values and interests of Maplewood. Requiring libraries to certify their policies with the Secretary of State removes the trust from local boards to represent their community.
- By allowing any person to request the removal of any book, this rule will undermine the freedom to read and the rights of parents and caregivers to choose what is appropriate for their own children.
In summary, the rule would require libraries to certify their collection development policies with the State; it also dictates that state funding cannot “be used to purchase or acquire materials in any form that appeal to the prurient interest of any minor.” Non-compliance would mean the loss of any funding that gets released through the State of Missouri.
This rule assumes a problem where there isn’t one; most libraries, including Maplewood Public Library, already have collection development policies in place that outline how and why materials are purchased, as well as how library cardholders may formally object to material in the collection. Maplewood Public Library caters to the interests of its community and attempts to ensure all viewpoints are represented.
Part D of the rule demands that “no age-inappropriate materials in any form, as defined by the library’s collection development policy, shall be knowingly displayed in the library in areas designated by the library as containing materials predominantly for minors.” Due to space constraints in its current building, Maplewood Public Library houses its adult nonfiction collection on the lower level of the building where youth materials are also housed. The rule would require the Library to rearrange its layout, build walls, or create other barriers around the nonfiction section.
You can read the full rule here.
Regardless of the outcome of this proposed rule, The Maplewood Public Library is committed to upholding the freedom to read for all community members.
Support from Maplewood City Council
On Tuesday, December 14th, 2022 the City Council of Maplewood, Missouri passed a resolution opposing administrative rule 15 CSH 30-200.015.
The full resolution can be found here.
- Ashcroft's book ban proposal slammed by ACLU. St. Louis Post Dispatch, December 1, 2022.
- Comment period opens on Missouri Secretary of State's book ban proposal. St. Louis Post Dispatch, November 15, 2022.
- Editorial: Not be outdone by his fellow culture warriors, Ashcroft takes on librarians. St. Louis Post Dispatch, October 18, 2022.
- Freedom to Read Statement. American Library Association, June 30, 2004.
- Library leaders blast proposed Missouri rule change on age-appropriate material. Spectrum News, October 18, 2022.
- McDermott: Ashcroft wants to shush librarians. They're fighting back. You can help. St. Louis Post Dispatch, November 19, 2022.
- MLA Board statement on Secretary of State Ashcroft's proposed rule. Missouri Library Association, October 21, 2022.
- Sultan: When did libraries become such threats in Missouri? St. Louis Post Dispatch, December 2, 2022.