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From the Acting Director: State Proposal on Public Libraries

Mid-Continent Public Library Acting Director Susan Wray

October 21, 2022

Earlier this week, the Missouri Secretary of State announced a new rule that, if enacted, would establish new certification requirements for public libraries receiving state funds. The proposal includes a number of requirements that primarily affect library policies as they relate to minors. In his press release, the Missouri Secretary of State said, “We want to bring back local control and parental involvement in determining what children are exposed to.”

At Mid-Continent Public Library, as at other public libraries, we already have policies in place that support and encourage parental involvement in their children’s library use. In fact, MCPL’s Board Policy regarding Collection Development states, “The responsibility for selecting what a minor may read or view lies solely with the parent or legal guardian.”

Because we know that every family is different, the Library strives to build a collection that meets everyone’s needs. MCPL’s Board Policy addresses this objective by saying, “The Library will offer a wide-ranging collection that represents a diversity of age, background, religion, ethnicity, culture, education, socio-economic level, and lifestyle. The Library will provide without bias a collection of print, non-print, and electronically accessed materials to meet the informational, educational, recreational, and cultural needs of all customers within our service area.”

At MCPL, we believe in the freedom for each customer to make choices on behalf of themselves and their families. We will continue to talk with state officials and other libraries about whether the current proposed rule might limit this freedom or otherwise impact our customers.

You can share your thoughts and feedback about the Secretary of State’s proposed rule beginning on November 15 by mailing the Office of the Missouri Secretary of State (PO Box 1767, Jefferson City, MO 65102) or by emailing comments@sos.mo.gov. To be considered, all comments to the proposed rule must be received between November 15 and December 15 and must include “15 CSR 30-200.015” in the subject line.

Susan Wray
MCPL Acting Director

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