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Public library union opposes Jay Ashcroft's library restriction

A yellow sculpture in front of the Daniel Boone Regional library. The library is brown brick and walls of glass. There is a person walking out of the library.
Meiying Wu

The local public library worker’s union organized a press conference Tuesday in response to Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft’s proposed requirement for state-funded libraries to restrict access of quote “non-age-appropriate materials,” for minors.

The period for public comment on the proposed rule began on November 15 and will last 30 days. Daniel Boone Regional Library United (DBRLU) released a statement in opposition to the proposed rule.

“The Missouri Secretary of State, Jay Ashcroft, is trying to take away state funding for your local libraries unless the library forbids young people from seeing books that Ashcroft doesn’t like,” the statement read. “He wants to empower small groups of extremists to show up at school board and library board meetings to try to take books away from other people’s children, including yours.”

Members of DBRLU and the public also spoke on the proposed rule at the press conference Tuesday.

“They [kids] want to learn and through their library card, they're empowered to learn,” said executive board member of DBRLU and library worker Dakota Hommes. “Those kids are the future of our community and they are reading to prepare themselves for the world. What kind of government doesn't want kids to read, or what kind of government wants kids to read less?”

The proposed rule would have libraries determine what is age-appropriate but would also allow parents to challenge their determinations. According to the proposal, “libraries would be required to honor a parent’s decision as to what material their child has access to in the library.”

After the comment period, the rule could be revised or rescinded. The earliest it could go into effect, according to an interview a spokesperson for Ashcroft’s office did with The Missouri Independent, is next spring.

Ellie Lin is a senior Journalism student at the University of Missouri. She’s studying Cross-Platform Editing and Production with an emphasis in Multimedia, UX and UI Design.
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