Speak Up for Libraries campaign challenges Ashcroft’s proposed media restrictions

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Kansas City Public Library Plaza location. // Photo by Jim Nimmo

Libraries across the state of Missouri are reprimanding restrictions on minors’ access to library materials proposed by Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft. The proposal requires that state-funded libraries seek parental permission before allowing children to check out materials and seek community approval on age limits for content. 

The Kansas City Public Library is joining libraries across the state with their Speak Up for Libraries campaign, asking patrons to review the proposal and take action in expressing their concerns over the restrictive measure. The motion contradicts the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, stating, “A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.” 

Opposition to the proposal is growing statewide, but it is important to gather community support against the measure to preserve libraries as a space for reliable, open access to information. In addition to censoring children’s material, the movement presents an expensive challenge to libraries as they would have to navigate new infrastructure in order to uphold state expectations. Libraries that are seen as noncompliant risk losing state funding for their facilities. 

The 30-day window for public input on the proposal runs Nov. 15 through Dec. 14. Readers should send an email to comments@sos.mo.gov with the ruling number “15 CSR 30-200.015″ in the subject line.

Additional questions regarding the proposal can be directed to Carrie Coogan.

Categories: Politics