Dear Library Friends,

Librarians love intellectual freedom. For everyone. Young, old, and in between. Allow me to share a statement that describes what this means:

‘The “freedom to read” is more than just a shorthand for encouraging curiosity and inquiry. It is a pillar of our democracy. Intellectual freedom means that all of us have the right to explore and engage with the ideas we choose, and to be informed about the world around us. Adults have intellectual freedom, but so do youth.’

–From a statement on intellectual freedom
by Cindy Thompson, Missouri Library Association Past-President, Members of the Missouri Library Association Board, and Members of the Missouri Library Association Intellectual Freedom Committee

Secretary of State, John Ashcroft, has proposed an administrative rule that challenges this idea of intellectual freedom by making it mandatory for libraries that receive state aid (a majority of our state’s public libraries) to certify that state money does not go towards buying materials that “appeal to the prurient interest of any minor.” Who decides what content is considered “prurient”? The arc of childhood is long and varied. What is appropriate for one age is not for another, though both might be considered minors in the eyes of the law.

In our view, it is the parent that has the right to weigh in on their children’s reading choices. Our professional job is to make sure that all children are represented in the materials that we purchase.
All children. All people.

You get to decide what you want to check out. Your neighbor will decide what they want to check out. Don’t see yourself represented in the collection? Fill out a request for purchase form and we will look into it. We want everyone to have access to the book that they need when they need it.

We hope that you will consider taking the time to comment on this proposed rule between November 15th, 2022 and December 15th, 2022. You can write directly, call, or fill out a form letter. Links and contact information is at the bottom of this letter.

Please consider writing a personal message. If you take the time out of your busy life and write a letter in support of the intellectual freedom of the children and families in our community and in our state, then we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We feel strongly that Brentwood supports and celebrates the intellectual freedom of all of its constituents. And for that, we feel lucky to serve in this community.

Public comments may be mailed to:

Office of the Missouri Secretary of State
PO Box 1767
Jefferson City, MO 65109

or emailed to

or call (573) 751-4936.

To be considered, all comments to the proposed rule must be received during the comment period of November 15, 2022 to December 15, 2022 and must include “15 CSR 30-200.015” in the subject line.

You can also click here to participate via the Missouri Library Association campaign. This is a form letter that allows you to personalize the content.

Thank you and see you in the library,

Gina Gibbons, Library Director