OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A leaked email of personal notes accusing Oklahoma’s Metropolitan Library System of censoring abortion is causing quite a stir. The library’s executive director told KFOR on Thursday the information circulating about their abortion guidelines is false.

“If [our staff member] waited about two days to get the definitive legal guidance, this would not have been any issue,” MLS Executive Director Larry White said of the matter.

A screenshot of notes written by an unknown MLS staff member saying staff had been instructed to avoid using the word abortion and not assist patrons in researching the topic was spreading on the internet.

White said those directives did not come from library leadership, but were personal notes taken by a staff member at a recent meeting on how MLS should treat abortion in light of the overturning of Roe v. Wade and Oklahoma’s new abortion laws.

“We needed a little time to figure this out,” White said. “So, advice came from legal counsel that until we figured out what should be done, that we should probably try to stay away from the question. The legal advice to us was to not get too engaged and not to really start answering lots of questions or doing things until we had a definitive answer of what people could do.”

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Oklahoma City Metropolitan Library. KFOR file photo

White said on Thursday morning – after two days of legal research – he sent out official guidance on the matter.

“As long as we answer factual questions like, ‘Can you define the term abortion?’ ‘Can we look up scientific research on it?’ ‘Can we look up legal cases, court cases?’ We can provide access to any factual information that is put to us about the particular topic, just like any other topic that we would have,” he explained. “What we cannot do is provide legal advice, medical advice or personal opinion about where we stand with the laws. We maintain that we are a neutral arbiter in the community and that we make information freely and safely available to anyone.”

White also noted that abortion is not a topic the community is researching at their libraries.

“When I asked staff about how many times anyone had come in looking for any information whatsoever related to abortion in the last 60 days or so since the law has been approved, it has been zero,” he stated.

White concluded that he’s glad to clear up the confusion and that their legal counsel will continue to monitor the application of Oklahoma’s abortion laws and make sure they’re in compliance.