Statement in Support of MASL

August 11, 2022

Dear Readers,

The Missouri Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Committee stands in solidarity with The Missouri Association of School Librarians (MASL) in their opposition to pre-emptive removal, censoring, and labeling of library materials. We commend our school librarians on the excellent work they are doing in the face of SB 775 in Missouri, and strongly agree with the points they made in their recent statement

To reiterate MASL’s excellent points:

  • SB 775 includes language regarding “sexually explicit materials” in the school setting, but provides exemptions for works that are artistic or otherwise informational in nature. Since that accounts for the entirety of library collections, we strongly agree that school districts should refrain from removing, labeling, or censoring any library materials. We also suggest that organized efforts to undermine school libraries and the intellectual freedom rights of students are antithetical to the mission of public education.
  • Libraries should make sure to have collection development policies and reconsideration/challenge policies in place. If your library would like guidance on creating such policies, you can find it here.
  • Please contact the MLA-IFC if your library has materials that are being challenged, or pre-emptively removed from the collection. We are happy to offer letters of support and other assistance in that fraught and difficult situation.

Finally, we stress the importance of intellectual freedom, particularly to the agency and self-confidence of young people. For many of us, libraries are the first places we are able to truly explore the world of ideas freely and engage deeply with art, science, philosophy, and other concepts on our own terms. The joy and confidence this brings fuels a lifetime of learning and curiosity. Conversely, putting up roadblocks to inquiry, and undermining librarians and teachers sends the message that those in power are not interested in the wellbeing of young people. Working to criminalize librarianship and intimidate library and school boards into damaging their own institutions is a poor strategy long term, since doing so is a transparent effort to use moral panic as an opportunity to gain vulgar political ground. This ultimately serves no one. We instead ask for support for MASL and school librarians in general to do the important work of providing access to materials and helping students to encounter library collections in their entirety, and therefore have the opportunity to learn and to grow within school libraries and beyond.

Sincerely,

Joe Kohlburn
Missouri Library Association- Intellectual Freedom Chair, 2022

Casey Phillips
Missouri Library Association-Intellectual Freedom Committee Member/ Social Media and Communications

Otter Bowman
Missouri Library Association President-Elect

Kimberly Moeller
Missouri Library Association – Executive Board

Ying Li
Missouri Library Association-Intellectual Freedom Committee Member

Kris Dyer
Missouri Library Association-Intellectual Freedom Committee Member/Legislative Liaison

Youth Services Spring Training Opportunity

Youth Services Spring Training
Monday, April 25, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Scenic Regional Library – Union Branch
251 Union Plaza Dr.
Union, MO 63084

Registration is open now through Saturday, April 16: https://molib.wildapricot.org/event-4693324

Registration cost is FREE for MLA members, with a $10 lunch fee for non-MLA members.

Spring Training is a flexible, personable way to engage in topics that matter to you and your library. The morning will include two, large group sessions that focus on the social and emotional development of children (see below!). The afternoon will consist of three breakout, small group sessions that will be led by you, the attendees. Share your unique knowledge and learn from your amazing peers across the state! 

Lessons from Mister Rogers: Preparing Kids Socially and Emotionally for Kindergarten
Presented by Johnathan Shoff, St. Charles City-County Library

While librarians have long helped kids with early literacy and motor skill development, Lessons from Mister Rogers emphasizes topics to prepare children socially and emotionally for school. This session will cover kindness, self-care, being a friend, respecting all living things, being brave, managing anger, and what to expect at school.

Using Picture Books to Cope and Grow
Presented by April Roy, Kansas City Public Library

ALA Notable Children’s Books Committee Member, April Roy, will share some of the best picture books of 2021 that will help young people cope, escape, feel proud, and advocate. The workshop will include tips for dialogic reading, fun activity ideas, and more. All participants will leave with free books! 

Sponsored by the Youth Services Community of Interest (YSCI), Missouri Library Association. 

Register today by following this link: https://molib.wildapricot.org/event-4693324

PLCI Mentoring Program: Calling all want to be mentors and mentees

In May 2018, the Public Libraries Community of Interest (PLCI) initiated a program to encourage mentoring relationships between public library employees and new librarians.  We are ready to form new mentor and mentee groups for 2022. Mentors and mentees will be paired early next month, and this first mentoring period will run from mid-February through June. See these guidelines (https://drive.google.com/file/d/1-HU9qbFbPs8e_Gsd8h8Ot1qmt3dfXf_0/view) and deadlines for this first session below.

Mentors

PLCI is looking for experienced public library employees who are interested in mentoring new librarians. This is a great opportunity to share your knowledge and give back to the library community.  Eligible mentors must be members of the Missouri Library Association and have at least 5 years of library experience, with at least 3 years in their current field.  Mentors must work or have worked in a public library and must be able to commit to at least one meeting per month during the mentoring period.  Meetings may be held via Zoom or a similar platform, phone, e-mail, or in person.

If you are interested in being a mentor, please fill out this Google Form by Monday, February 7, 2022.

Mentees

PLCI is looking for new public librarians who are looking to learn the ropes of the public library profession and learn from an experienced professional. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the public library profession and have a seasoned library professional available to answer questions and give you insight. We will do our best to match you with someone who will help you to achieve your professional goals. Meetings may be held via Zoom or a similar platform, phone, e-mail, or in person.

If you are interested in being a mentee, please fill out this Google Form by Monday, February 7, 2022.

If you have additional questions, please email us at publiclibrariesci.mla@gmail.com.

Thank you!

The Public Library Community of Interest
publiclibrariesci.mla@gmail.com

MLA 2021 Annual Conference

This year’s MLA conference will be held in person at the Doubletree Hilton in Chesterfield (STL metro) from 9/29-9/30. While it has been shortened from to 2 days, we still have all the activities you’ve come to expect and enjoy and truly hope you’ll join us and have a great experience.

Just to get you a little excited:

For those of you who will be in the area on Tuesday night, the Bohley Trivia Night will be held at the hotel.

On Wednesday afternoon Chris Pryor will give the opening Keynote and the exhibits will open at 4pm with a reception followed by the Awards Ceremony to be held this year in the exhibits hall where everyone can stay and celebrate the best of best in Missouri.

On Thursday there will be a Member Meet and Greet followed by the Annual Meeting followed by a closing reception with Keynote speaker Jarret Krosoczka joining us virtually.

We’ve come through a rough year and while it’s not all over yet, we hope this conference can be time to come together, see old friends and colleagues, make new ones and learn from each other.

We look forward to seeing and learning something from each of you. Register today: http://molibconference.org

Conference @ a Glance Schedule: http://mlaweb.net/ConferenceATAGlance.pdf

Vendor Prospectus and Registration