Missouri Republican Ben Baker has introduced legislation that could imprison librarians who host a drag queen story hour or allow youth to check out books on LGBTQ topics.
While Baker denies that his legislation would ban the books since they would be moved to a “restricted” area of the library, he doesn’t deny that his motivation is the recent “drag queen story hour” trend that has performers reading age-appropriate books to children.
“The main thing is, I want to be able to take my kids to a library and make sure they’re in a safe environment, and that they’re not gonna be exposed to something that is objectionable material,” Baker told a local news station. “Unfortunately, there are some libraries in the state of Missouri that have done this. And that’s a problem.”
“In some places – St. Louis, Kansas City and I think St. [Joseph] – they’ve had these drag queen story hours and that’s something that I take objection to and I think a lot of parents do,” Baker said to the Kansas City Star. “That’s where in a public space, our kids could be exposed to something that’s age-inappropriate. That’s what I’m trying to tackle.”
Baker’s “Parental Oversight of Public Libraries Act” would require panels of parents to determine whether or not a book is “appropriate for children.” Public hearings would also be held to allow parents to object to any other books. Libraries who do not move the books and restrict access would lose state funding and librarians could be fined $500 or imprisoned for up to a year.