Posted on 01/16/2020 at 11:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

A Missouri state lawmaker has proposed a bill that would strip funding from libraries that allow young readers to access books deemed age-inappropriate — and jail librarians who refuse to comply.

The bill would create panels of parents whose job it would be to select books that minors can’t check out and establish public hearings at which others could make suggestions.

Organizations like PEN America and the Missouri Library Association are, of course, outraged by the bill and oppose it, according to the Guardian.

PEN America’s deputy director of free expression research and policy called the bill “a shockingly transparent attempt to legalize book banning in the state of Missouri.”

The library association, meanwhile, pushed back against the lawmaker’s claims that the bill is needed because children are reading inappropriate material.

“Public libraries already have procedures in place to assist patrons in protecting their own children while not infringing on the rights of other patrons or restricting materials,” it said in a statement.

Ben Baker, the Republican lawmaker who proposed the bill, denies that he’s trying to censor books.

“The bill specifies it wouldn’t be taken out of the library, it would just be put in a section that’s not for children,” he told TV station KOAM.

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