MASL Statement on Missouri Secretary of State’s Proposed Rule Change
For the full statement, please view here.
Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft has proposed an Administrative Rule (15 CSR 30-200.015 Library Certification Requirement for the Protection of Minors) that would withhold and/or restrict funding from libraries across the state of Missouri. Funds to be potentially restricted include not only state and federal grants but also public library funds allocated by the General Assembly.
Sec. Ashcroft has proposed a variety of requirements in order to, according to the Secretary, “bring back local control and parental involvement in determining what children are exposed to.” By imposing a state-level administrative rule regarding what can and cannot be purchased with certain funds, the Secretary is thereby contradicting the very idea of local control. This measure is restrictive and against the ideals that libraries uphold, including intellectual freedom and access to information. It is not in the best interests of Missourians, our library patrons, and our students.
Librarians at all levels and all institutions currently follow collection development policies to select materials based on their community’s needs. Public libraries have diverse collections that represent a variety of age levels, with materials shelved according to age, developmental, and/or reading levels. School librarians abide by school district selections of materials policies to select developmentally appropriate materials for our students.
In short, librarians are professionals who support our communities in a multitude of ways. Restricting funding based on misguided information regarding access to materials is prohibitive of every library’s mission – to support the needs of our communities across the state of Missouri.
We encourage all Missouri citizens to participate in the public comment period set to open on Nov. 15th. Support libraries – public, academic, and school – across Missouri and provide feedback on this restrictive and harmful rule change:
This proposed administrative rule will be published in the Missouri Register on November 15,
2022, and then have a 30-day comment period. Secretary Ashcroft welcomes and encourages
comment submission by mailing the Office of the Missouri Secretary of State, P.O. Box 1767,
Jefferson City, MO 65102 or by email to email@example.com.