Missouri bill would allow groups to decide what goes in children’s sections of public libraries

Capitol Bureau
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A proposed bill in the Missouri House would change the way communities determine what belongs in the children’s section of libraries.

State Rep. Ben Baker (R-Neosho) filed HB 2044, which would create an elected board for each public library. That board would have the authority to determine if any material or event is not age-appropriate for children.  

Baker said the bill is the result of concerns raised about drag queen story time hours taking place in some communities. 

Drag queens and other groups plan to rally against the bill at the Missouri Capitol on Saturday. They said they believe drag queen story time is an opportunity for children to see positive role models who are part of the LGBTQ community.  

They also call Baker’s bill a form of censorship.

Librarians face a misdemeanor if they fail to remove material or an event from the children’s section if the elected board deems it inappropriate.  

“Now that doesn’t mean that they would remove that from the library,” Baker said. “That’s something that’s a misnomer that’s been misrepresented a lot about this bill. It would still be in the library it just wouldn’t be in those sections that’s [sic] for children.”

Baker said the material or event could still be moved to an adult section.  

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