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Old 01-22-2020, 11:50 AM   #1
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MO Bill Proposes Parental Review Board for “Age-Inappropriate” Material

A bill filed this week in Missouri would give a specially appointed parental board oversight over public library materials deemed inappropriate for minors and proposes legal ramifications for librarians who don’t comply—leaving library leadership, workers, and supporters up in arms.

When the Missouri General Assembly convened for the year on January 8, Rep. Ben Baker (R-Neosho) introduced H.B. 2044, the Parental Oversight of Public Libraries Act, which proposes to keep “age-inappropriate sexual material” in libraries out of the hands of minors. If passed, the bill would mean that any library staff that violates it would face a $500 fine or a year in jail, and state aid for offending libraries would be cut as well.

Full story here from Library Journal
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Old 01-22-2020, 12:08 PM   #2
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This should be up to the parents and not the libraries.
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Old 01-22-2020, 12:14 PM   #3
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By my reading of the article it appears that it would give an elected board composed of five adults in each community the ability to ban pretty much any book, not just from the children's section, but from being available to any patron.
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Old 01-22-2020, 01:50 PM   #4
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This should be up to the parents and not the libraries.
Agreed

Additionally, I want to know they're only going after sexual material. These people are being extremely hypocritical by not including violent material. If sexual magazines like Playboy are going to be banned, then so should violent magazines like the NRA's American Rifleman and American Hunter.

This is a blatant backdoor attempt to censor materials they find offensive.

If this succeeds, look for this censorship to expand to non-Christian and LGBT material.
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Old 01-22-2020, 02:27 PM   #5
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If this succeeds, look for this censorship to expand to non-Christian and LGBT material.
Or vice versa. If one topic or idea can be banned, so can others. Just look at the current issue with Hallmark channel? I know this isn't the place for that conversation. But the overall discussion of banning anything, is that, if they can ban one thing, they can ban another.

Parents need to be the ones to decide on any reading/watching/gaming content their kids have access to. But there is a lot of content aimed at kids that really isn't suitable.
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Old 01-22-2020, 02:44 PM   #6
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I think I'm more in shock with the librarians facing up to a $500 fine or a year in jail if they don't go along with it.
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Old 01-22-2020, 03:25 PM   #7
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A given: censorship isn't good.

Also: This is an extreme reaction but it is a reaction to an issue that keeps cropping up: parental controls.

The issue is twofold: first thing is, most forms of information and entertainment have parental controls. TVs, gaming consoles, phones, PCs, browsers, Kindles (and Kobos, I assume) all offer parents tools to manage content they deem appropriate for *their* kids. Libraries don't. Parents are expected to trust librarians and libraries.

And the second thing is, many people no longer trust *any* institutions to align with their interests. That is, increasingly, including libraries. A great many things that used to be locally controlled are being overidden by "higher" principles and levels of government (the federalization and homogenization of almost everything).

This is in line with the never-ending debates over sex education, school curricula, and the general culture wars. Look at the location: not California, Not New York, not the deep south.

It's not black and white on either end.
But if the camps do the usual and dig in and resort to the usual demonization of opponents instead of recognizing the real issue, nothing good will come of this. Because libraries are locally funded and if communities start seeing them as unresponsive to local mores, they'll start getting unresponsive come funding time.

This is just round one.

Last edited by fjtorres; 01-22-2020 at 03:30 PM.
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Old 01-22-2020, 04:27 PM   #8
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But if the camps do the usual and dig in and resort to the usual demonization of opponents instead of recognizing the real issue, nothing good will come of this.
The issue is one of one group of people people dictating what another group of people can and can't do in a public library. If they don't want their kids exposed to material of a sexual nature, then don't allow them to view or check out those materials. There's no need to ban those materials, because that then deprives access to those who wish to check them out.
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Old 01-22-2020, 05:20 PM   #9
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I think I'm more in shock with the librarians facing up to a $500 fine or a year in jail if they don't go along with it.
You can disagree with the proposed law, but what you are talking about is what happens when librarians decide to break the law.

If someone willfully breaks a law, I'm not sure what you think the consequences should be. That penalty isn't much different than the maximum penalty for other relatively minor misdemeanors. The penalty for a repeat offender that litters in Texas is up to a $2000 fine and 180 days in jail.

Last edited by SleepyBob; 01-22-2020 at 05:23 PM.
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Old 01-22-2020, 05:56 PM   #10
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The issue is one of one group of people people dictating what another group of people can and can't do in a public library. If they don't want their kids exposed to material of a sexual nature, then don't allow them to view or check out those materials. There's no need to ban those materials, because that then deprives access to those who wish to check them out.
Instead of banning such material, when a kid tries to check out something on the list, if a parent is not present to allow it, then it cannot be checked out. Problem solved.
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Old 01-22-2020, 07:06 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by tubemonkey View Post
The issue is one of one group of people people dictating what another group of people can and can't do in a public library. If they don't want their kids exposed to material of a sexual nature, then don't allow them to view or check out those materials. There's no need to ban those materials, because that then deprives access to those who wish to check them out.
What you are so arrogantly suggesting is for parents to actually BE parents and accompany them to the libraries to make sure they are choosing age appropriate material! WHAT????? HOW DARE YOU!!!!!
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Old 01-22-2020, 07:26 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by tubemonkey View Post
The issue is one of one group of people people dictating what another group of people can and can't do in a public library. If they don't want their kids exposed to material of a sexual nature, then don't allow them to view or check out those materials. There's no need to ban those materials, because that then deprives access to those who wish to check them out.
You're assuming they're saying "nobody should be exposed to that" .
They might be saying "I don't want *my* kids to be exposed to that, until I say they're ready".

Instead of automatically assuming they want to tell everybody what to read, how about figuring out what they *really* want? Maybe they're using kids as an excuse to censor stuff, but what if they're sincerely looking for some control on what kids can do on their own? Parents can't oversee kids 24x7 or inside schools. What happened to "It takes a village..."?

It's not too different from saying liquor stores shouldn't let underage kids buy booze.

Would working with them be so terrible?
Like flagging books that might require a parental sign-off?

Maybe they're crackpot censors. But what if they aren't?
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Old 01-22-2020, 07:31 PM   #13
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What you are so arrogantly suggesting is for parents to actually BE parents and accompany them to the libraries to make sure they are choosing age appropriate material! WHAT????? HOW DARE YOU!!!!!
And what if the kids go on their own?

It's not if parents can have kids on a leash and monitor everything they ever do. Even kids with attentive parents find ways to get into mischief.

If anything, worrying about this is a form of parental involvement, istead of just dumping them at school or handing them a tablet or game console and forgetting about tgem.
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Old 01-22-2020, 07:44 PM   #14
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This should be up to the parents and not the libraries.
Reminds me of the time my mother went into a frenzy and whipped me for reading Darwin's Voyage of the Beagle, because it's about evolution. "Spare the rod and spoil the child."

Last edited by hobnail; 01-22-2020 at 08:24 PM.
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Old 01-22-2020, 09:16 PM   #15
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Would working with them be so terrible?
Like flagging books that might require a parental sign-off?

Maybe they're crackpot censors. But what if they aren't?
As far as I can tell this is about keeping those books out of the library altogether. After all kids can pick up a book and read it inside the library without ever checking it out.

You wouldn't want a 17 year old reading books about human sexuality or some young impressionable child exposed to Mommy, Mama, and Me.
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