ST. LOUIS – A Missouri proposal would require certification for libraries receiving state funds, specifically for state officials to ensure no works offered at the libraries “appeal to the prurient interest of any minor.”

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft submitted a proposal last month as part of an effort to institute measures to protect minors from non-age-appropriate materials.

Supporters say the latest proposal is among several measures in the bill that attempt to address child trafficking. Opponents argue such action could deprive students of the freedom to read in Missouri.

The St. Louis County Library’s Board of Trustees passed a resolution Monday in opposition of the Missouri proposal, citing the following concerns:

  • The Board subscribes to the principles embodied in the Library Bill of Rights and its interpretations, the Freedom to Read Statement and Freedom to View Statement adopted by the American Library Association
  • The Board believes it should be the right and responsibility of parents and guardians to make determinations on what library materials are suitable for their own children
  • The Board opposes the possibility of censorship and restrictions on the equitable access of books and library materials
  • The Board believes that policy and collection development decisions should remain at the discretion of the local library board, as permitted by Missouri Statute

According to a statement, the St. Louis Country Library “upholds the rights of each individual to privately read, listen to, and view the full range of published thought and ideas.” The library also has a collection development policy to explain how specific materials are purchased and retained.

Ashcroft’s office opened a 30-day public comment period on his new proposal earlier this week. Missourians can offer feedback on the proposal via email ( or by mail to the Office of the Missouri Secretary of State at this address:

P.O. Box 1767
Jefferson City, MO 65102

After the public comment period, the Secretary of State’s Office will decide whether the rule could be submitted as is, rewritten or rescinded. The office will review comments, then hand over legislation to an advisory committee. The Secretary of State’s Office tells FOX2 a decision on the proposal could be made next spring.

The proposal comes after Missouri enacted a law in August that led to nearly 300 book bans at state school libraries over works deemed to contain “explicit sexual material.” However, the new law is considered independent of the current proposal.