Missouri state Rep. Ben Baker (R) has introduced a bill meant to “protect children” who visit public libraries. In reality, that bill will lead to censorship and possibly land librarians in jail.
Any library that receives state funding would need to protect minors from “age-inappropriate sexual material.”
The bill would create “parental review boards” made up of five locally elected community members who would review and decide what content would be inappropriate. If that sounds familiar it’s the plot of numerous stories where it’s never worked.
Librarians who “willfully” violate the decisions could be fined $500 or face up to a year in jail.
The concept is censorship and an attack on free expression. It’s book banning and one step away from book burning.
Books with sexual themes, uplifting LGBTQIA+ characters, ones that address sensitive topics, even scientific knowledge, are potentially on the chopping block.
Baker has responded that the books would not be banned but keeps them out of the children’s section. An adult could check the book out for their child. In other words, Baker believes parents are incapable of doing that already and believes in a nanny state.