Scroll To Top

Missouri's Largest Library System Boots Pride Displays in Kids, Teen Areas

Missouri's Largest Library System Boots Pride Displays in Kids, Teen Areas


The state has new rules regarding "age-inappropriate" materials in public libraries.

Kansas City's Mid-Continent Public Library in Missouri has implemented policies banning Pride displays and adult materials in areas designated for children and teenagers.

The move comes following Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft’s new rules forbidding "age-inappropriate" displays in children's and teen's sections. Libraries that do no comply risk losing state funding.

These restrictions have led the Mid-Continent Public Library (MPCL) system to remove adult books, books on parenting, and LGBTQ+ Pride displays from the children's and teens' sections of their branches.

In a statement shared with KCUR, the library claimed that Pride content remains on display in common areas, and that it aims to make its children's displays “diverse and inclusive.”

But some MCPL employees are struggling to put the new restrictions in place without alienating patrons or drawing ire from the state.

“This has been very difficult,” Jim Staley, MCPL’s community relations and planning director, told KCUR. “We’re trying to balance complying with the rule and being able to keep that state funding that’s important to us, with making sure we have great access.”

Ryan Fleming, a youth librarian at MCPL’s Colbern Road branch, said the change "decreases the accessibility that libraries should be all about.”

For queer employees and visitors, the rules are a major blow. While Staley states that LGBTQ+ books will still be available to patrons, they may become harder to find. One unnamed staff member noted that displays on specific topics, including LGBTQ+ issues, are necessary to give guests easy access to materials.

"It’s very difficult to just find these on the shelf, which is why displays are so important to what we do,” they said.

"They’re showing who they care about more,” the employee continued. “They care more about the people that could potentially become aggressive over a display like that than they care about the community that we’re serving.”

Per KCUR, Mid-Continent Public Library currently services some 800,000 residents across three Missouri counties.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Dylan Reber