HomeSchool Reform NewsUniversity Center Opposes Requirement that Libraries Share ‘Age-Appropriate’ Books

University Center Opposes Requirement that Libraries Share ‘Age-Appropriate’ Books

Missouri Secretary of State John Ashcroft introduced a proposed requirement for libraries to develop polices on age-appropriate materials

The Saint Louis University (SLU) Center for Social Action (CSA) recently opposed a proposal requiring libraries to develop policies around age-appropriate books.

CSA’s Instagram page shared a “Call To Action” to “Reject Book Banning in [Missouri] Libraries.”

SLU is “one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious Catholic universities” with “a strong commitment to faith and service,” according to its website.

Missouri Secretary of State John R. Ashcroft proposed the rule in November, leaving the opportunity for public comment open for 30 days. The CSA Instagram post said to send comments to his office.

“We encourage those who talk of a ‘book ban’ to read the rule,” Ashcroft’s office told Campus Reform. “There is no mention of banning any books. As well, the rule directs each library to come up with their own determination of what is age-appropriate.”

Ashcroft, “a[n] SLU Law alumnus,” told Young America’s Foundation “that he’s disappointed by the university’s actions,” according to an article sharing CSA’s campaign.

“‘I think it’s quite unfortunate that there are individuals who would be against parents having more visibility and control over what their children read,’” Ashcroft continued.

CSA’s website describes efforts in “Advocacy and Civic Engagement.” “The Center for Social Action works to encourage lifelong personal and social responsibility by transforming student volunteers into effective servant leaders and advocates for social justice,” the description reads.

Students participating in a “Social Justice and Advocacy Training” have the opportunity to receive funding up to $1,000 “to engage in a paid social change internship for the semester, at a community organization of their choice.”

[RELATED: REPORT: U Memphis cancels $3k ‘social justice’ stipends]

The details of Ashcroft’s proposal include requirements that libraries adopt policies “addressing how selections are made in considering the appropriateness for the age and maturity level of any minor,” “allowing any minor’s parent or guardian to determine what materials and access will be available to a minor,” and allowing anyone to “challenge the library’s age-appropriate designation.”

The proposal also bans libraries from using state funds “to purchase or acquire materials in any form that appeal to the prurient interest of any minor,” a reference to the legal evaluation for obscenity, according to a description of obscenity by Cornell Law SchoolMerriam-Webster defines “prurient” interests as those “appealing to sexual desire.”

Another provision of the proposal requires libraries to place “an age-appropriate designation” on any event advertisement.

Ashcroft’s office is “currently reviewing submitted comments.”

“The rule, in its final form, will be presented to the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) by February 10,” the office told Campus Reform.

The proposal reflects other state and local laws as libraries become popular locations for hosting events such as drag bingoHouse Bill 494 “would ban ‘adult cabaret performances’ from public property or in any location that could be viewed by a child,” according to a report from The Kansas City Star.

[RELATED: University hosts ‘Drag Queen Story Hour’ for 2-year-olds]

A Missouri town recently banned participants under the age of 18 from attending drag shows, and the New York Post reported that “[c]hildren were turned away from a popular all-ages Christmas drag show” shortly after the law went into effect.

Other states have enacted policies addressing curriculum in K-12 education, including Florida’s “Parental Rights in Education,” a bill signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis. The bill “sets grades for age-appropriate instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation,” Campus Reformreported.

“Louisiana Congressman Mike Johnson introduced” a similar bill, “the ‘Stop the Sexualization of Children Act.’” “Johnson’s bill would ‘prohibit the use of Federal funds to develop, implement, facilitate, or fund any sexually-oriented program, event or literature for children under the age of 10,’” according to a Campus Reform report.

The bill says that “[p]arents and legal guardians have the right and responsibility to determine where, if, when, and how their children are exposed to material of a sexual nature.”

Campus Reform contacted Saint Louis University, the Center for Social Action, and the Missouri Secretary of State’s office for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.

Originally published by Campus Reform. Republished with permission.

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Elaine Gunthorpe
Elaine Gunthorpe
Elaine Gunthorpe is a rising junior at Christendom College. She is pursuing a major in Political Science & Economics and a minor in Philosophy. As an active member in her community, Elaine is involved in a number of organizations such as College Republicans, Network of Enlightened Women, and Shield of Roses.


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