OIF responds to Missouri legislation that proposes policies and procedures that threaten access to information

For Immediate Release
Thu, 01/16/2020

Contact:

Macey Morales

Deputy Director

Communications and Marketing Office

mmorales@ala.org

CHICAGO – Missouri House Bill 2044, introduced on January 8, 2020, proposes the creation of five-member “parental library review boards” to identify “age-inappropriate” public library materials and restrict access to those materials. The bill proposes criminal prosecution for librarians who make those materials available to minors and would deny funding to libraries that do not employ parental library review boards to restrict access to their materials.

The American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) released the following statement concerning Missouri House Bill 2044 .

“Missouri House Bill 2044 clearly proposes policies and procedures that threaten library users’ freedom to read and violate our deeply held commitment to families’ and individuals’ intellectual freedom, as expressed in ALA’s Library Bill of Rights,” said Deborah Caldwell-Stone, OIF director and Executive Director of the Freedom to Read Foundation.  “We support the right of families and individuals to choose materials from a diverse spectrum of ideas and beliefs. Public libraries already have procedures in place that assist parents in selecting materials that fit their family’s information needs, while not censoring materials or infringing upon the rights of other families or patrons to choose the books they want and need. ALA is working strategically with the Missouri Library Association to identify the best means to address this legislation.”

Libraries are encouraged to contact the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom at oif@ala.org or 312-280-4226 with censorship or intellectual freedom legislation concerns, or contact their state intellectual freedom committee. For further information on defending the right to read in Missouri and elsewhere, please write the Office for Intellectual Freedom at oif@ala.org

Media interested in discussing this issue with OIF experts may contact Communications and Marketing Office Deputy Director Macey Morales at mmorales@ala.org.

About the American Library Association
The American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, ALA has been the trusted voice for academic, public, school, government and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit ala.org.

About the Office for Intellectual Freedom
ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) works to safeguard the rights of library users in accordance with ALA’s Library Bill of Rights and the First Amendment, with the support of the Freedom to Read Foundation, an affiliated legal defense organization that protects and defends the First Amendment.

OIF is charged with implementing ALA policies concerning the concept of intellectual freedom as embodied in the Library Bill of Rights, the association’s basic policy on free access to libraries and library materials. Established in 1967, the office provides guidance, information, and resources on a range of intellectual freedom subjects related to libraries and provides confidential support to anyone undergoing a material or service challenge.