OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A Senate Bill restricting access to library materials in schools and public libraries passes.
According to officials, Senate Bill 397 directs public school and charter school libraries to appoint committees made up of employees to designate certain content in the library to certain students. This would only allow those students to access those materials.
The bill’s author, Senator Warren Hamilton, says the bill would require school and public libraries to label books and other materials as elementary, junior high, under 16, or juniors and seniors. Materials would then be placed in respective sections based on age to restrict students access to media materials.
Sen. Warren says the bill would make it so students can only access books that are appropriate for their age.
“This bill would stop students from accessing obscene or offensive content at school,” Hamilton said.
“Parents across the state are concerned that their students may be able to get their hands on inappropriate materials from the library. This in no way stops parents from having discussions with their children about these topics or allowing them to read these things at home, but it gives parents peace of mind that their child will not be exposed to materials at school that are obscene or not age appropriate.”
If signed into law, officials say schools and public libraries would have until July 1, 2024, to inventory and categorize their materials into the proper sections.
Senator Carri Hicks responded to Senate Bill 397 on Tuesday.
“When we limit access to information, we limit opportunity. We should trust parents, teachers, and librarians to guide students to the literary resources they need rather than stifling their potential by limiting their most basic freedoms.” said Sen. Hicks.
Senator Jo Anna Dossett also responded on Tuesday regarding the bill.
“Once again, our Republican colleagues are telling Oklahoma parents we don’t trust them to make decisions for their families. I’m sorely disappointed we have chosen to limit Oklahomans’ freedoms by censoring schools and libraries.” said Sen. Dossett.