New letter campaigns speak out against widespread book bans in Missouri

With hundreds of books banned in Missouri schools this year, the removals have come under fresh criticism from librarians and authors, including such high-profile writers as Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, Louis Lowry, Laurie Halsey Anderson and Art Spiegelman.

that open letter By PEN America Wednesday has a growing list of signatories criticizing the state’s removal of titles including art history titles like “Leonardo and The Last Supper” and illustrated literature takes on classics like “The Giver” and “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

Even amid an avalanche of book bans this fall, Missouri’s takedowns stand out, Jonathan Friedman, director of free speech and education programs at PEN America, said in a press release. The pen is important 300 books It has been banned from Missouri schools, effective November 15.

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The removals took place this year in response to concerns about a new law (SB775) threatens misdemeanor charges against any school official who “provides sexually explicit material to a student.”

In September, post education reporter Blythe Bernard Detailed school districts In the St. Louis area books were removed which were not. The pen numbers do not include some of those areas that removed books.

The law allows exceptions for books where explicit images are educational or of artistic and literary value, and some pen list books have been pulled from school shelves for “revision”.

This week, PEN’s Friedman stated: “These counties — and perhaps others — have mandated their censorship, sweeping up all kinds of educational material often with little documented justification. It appears that these counties have sought to purge any potentially offensive visual material.” To avoid running ran counter to the new law. In doing so, they gave up students’ rights to read and learn, as well as the essential mission of public education and school libraries.”

Also this week, the St. Charles City County Library sent out a message to the beneficiaries He urges them to provide feedback on the Secretary of State’s proposed new administrative rule targeting public libraries in the state, thus expanding the possibility of banning more books.

Rule 15 CSR 30-200.015 means that public libraries may lose state funding if they do not “take measures to protect minors from materials inappropriate for their age.”

Like schools, public librarians already have standards and methods for grouping materials by age. They also already have procedures in place for visitors to challenge subjects.

St Charles Library says:

“The St. Charles City-County Library, like all public libraries, was founded on the idea that all citizens should have free access to materials regardless of their origin, age, background, or viewpoints. No citizen should be able to decide who On the other hand, what is appropriate for them. In the case of children, we also believe that the decision should rest solely with the parents or guardians. We also believe that the parents or guardians are responsible for this supervision, not the library. “

Not only can the new rule be a financial burden, she says, but it is also “a politicized measure to address an alleged problem that is not widespread in day-to-day public library operations.”

It tells recipients that comments on the Secretary of State’s proposal are accepted between November 15 and December 15 and must include “15 CSR 30-200.015” in the subject line.

The library provides addresses for comments:

Office of the Missouri Secretary of State

PO Box 1767, Jefferson City, MO 65102

Subject line: 15 CSR 30-200.015

Friday, November 18, 2022

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Friday, November 18, 2022

Friday, November 18, 2022

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