The office of Missouri’s secretary of state wants public libraries to act in the very best interests of our children. We’ve long done that at the Kansas City Public Library and have no doubt that is the priority and practice of libraries across the state.
The secretary of state’s office wants parental oversight. Again, agreed. Parents and guardians should be interested and involved in all their children read, see, and hear. We invite and encourage that.
The Library is reviewing the potential impact of an administrative rule proposed by the secretary of state that would require state-funded libraries in Missouri to institute policies to “protect minors from non-age-appropriate materials.” Parents could challenge any age designation.
We urge all in our community and state to review the measure as well. A 30-day window for public input opens November 15. You can submit comments …
Like libraries throughout the state, the Kansas City Public Library already has collection development policies in place that assign the selection of books and other material for youth to experienced, professional collection development and children’s librarians. They also spell out a process for a citizen’s request for reconsideration of library materials.
The Library has released this statement on the secretary of state’s proposal:
Missouri’s secretary of state is proposing a new administrative rule that would require state-funded libraries to institute policies to “protect minors from non-age-appropriate materials.” Parents could challenge the age-appropriate designation for any material.
The Kansas City Public Library has long supported the best interests of children – of all in our community. And we value parental oversight. Parents and guardians should be interested and involved in everything their children read, see, and hear. We invite and encourage that.
Our current collection development policies assign the selection of youth material to experienced, professional collection development and children’s librarians. When selecting materials for children and teens, they seek titles that reflect the experiences and interests of those age groups.
From our board of trustees to management to every librarian and member of our staff, the Kansas City Public Library adheres to the Library Bill of Rights, which maintains in part: A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views. That pertains to children as well as adults.
We remain sensitive to any specter of censorship and restriction of equitable access to books and other vital Library materials. Yes, parents and guardians should be arbiters on what is suitable for their children. They shouldn’t impose those choices on others. Nor should the state of Missouri.