Missouri SB 775

NOTE: Only visual materials (defined as any pictorial, three-dimensional, or visual depiction, including any photography, film, video, picture, or computer-generated image) are affected by SB 775

The Missouri Association of School Librarians (MASL) is committed to protecting the Freedom to Read, the American Library Association’s (ALA) Library Bill of Rights, and the essential tenets of intellectual freedom. We are aware that some school districts may be taking action in response to Senate Bill 775. We want to inform membership of the recommendations from MASL in regards to SB 775.

We encourage all school librarians in Missouri to become familiar with the language included in SB 775, available here: https://www.senate.mo.gov/22info/pdf-bill/tat/SB775.pdf SB 775 includes language regarding providing “explicit sexual material” in the school setting. Some materials may be exempt from the bill’s requirements if considered artistic or informational in nature. The bill clearly defines what is considered “explicit sexual material.”  School librarians are encouraged to consult with their administration and Board of Education for guidance with regard to school library materials on the basis of SB775. These talking points listed above can be used proactively by school librarians with their administration and Boards of Education to fully understand what is defined by SB 775.

To assist school librarians, outlined below are general steps each school librarian should follow if faced with book challenges. 

First, all school districts should have in place both selection and reconsideration of materials policies. These should clearly outline steps to purchase books and deal with book challenges when they arise from stakeholders. These policies should be written with librarian input and adopted by the district’s Board of Education. We are also including an infographic about the elements of a Selection of Materials Policy to assist our members.

Second, any school librarian facing book challenges has the following options:

  • Missouri Library Assocation’s Intellectual Freedom Committee may draft a letter that can be sent to the school district’s administration and/or Board of Education.
  • ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom may assist with book challenges, including finding reviews in support of challenged material.
  • MASL’s Executive Council may draft a letter in support of the school librarian and challenged material if requested by the school librarian.

Finally, MASL will be presenting a session at the annual Missouri School Board Association’s (MSBA) conference in November on the topic of Navigating Book Challenges. We would like to educate and support Boards of Education on the policies and procedures surrounding challenges. We encourage librarians to share information about MASL’s presentation to their Board of Education and our office will provide more details closer to MSBA’s conference, which occurs on November 3rd-5th in Kansas City.

MASL stands with all school librarians. We understand the immense impact of facing a challenge and will support our librarians to preserve intellectual freedom. Please contact the MASL Office at info@maslonline.org or 573-893-4155 if you have any questions or concerns.

Leave a Reply