KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Librarians and school district leaders across the area are reacting differently to a new law that keeps those workers from allowing students to check out books with sexually explicit images in them.
“We work close with all schools,” Kansas City Public Library Branch Operations Director Cindy Hohl said in an interview with FOX4 Monday.
The KCPL allows KCPS students to check out books from their libraries if they have their student ID cards. Hohl does not support the part of the law Republican State Senator Rick Brattin had added into an existing bill.
The bill protects sexual assault victims. Missouri school librarians could face a year in jail or a $2,000 fine if they allow students to check out books with sexually explicit images in them.
“Well, it’s certainly a challenging time to be in the profession,” Hohl said Monday. “Most librarians don’t go into the profession thinking that anything that they do during the course of their day could result in punitive action.”
The new law puts KCPL in a unique situation because they allow KCPS students to check out their books.
“KCPS plans to comply with the legal requirements of SB 775 and is in the process of updating our administrative policies to provide guidance for our staff members,” a spokeswoman for KCPS said in an email Monday.
Hohl said the role of a librarian has been a hot button issue as of late.
“At the end of the day, families need to make those decisions regarding what is appropriate, what their child should interact with, and what is the best information,” she continued. “What do they consider accurate information from credible sources? That’s really the goal of librarianship.”
Brattin would not comment on his legislation Monday. North Kansas City and Lee’s Summit Schools are not changing their library policies right now.