Book ban prohibition approved by MN lawmakers, heads to Walz for signature

An effort to stop books from being removed from Minnesota schools' libraries has been passed by lawmakers and will head to Minnesota Governor Tim Walz for approval.

Passed within the omnibus education policy bill – a collection of smaller bills focused on education policy throughout Minnesota – the bill "prohibits banning, removing, or otherwise restricting access to an otherwise age-appropriate book or other material from a school library based solely on the viewpoint, content, message, idea, or opinion conveyed."

"Banning books not only limits educational opportunities but also sends a chilling message that certain stories and experiences are unwelcome," said House Representative Cedrick Frazier (DFL-New Hope), the author of H.F. 4373, which established the new policy. "In Minnesota, we are making sure our libraries and schools are a safe space for exploration and discovery, not places where knowledge is censored. Exposing young minds to a variety of perspectives, even those that challenge their own beliefs, is crucial for fostering social-emotional development as well as their critical thinking and problem-solving skills."

The bill also requires a school’s governing body – such as a school board – to adopt a policy that would create procedures for selection and reconsideration of library materials available within a school.

It also provides that any policy could not infringe on the rights of a parent, guardian or adult student to challenge curriculum content.

In March, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan visited a St. Paul school library to show support for the legislation.