An amendment to HB 986, filed by Representative Lovasco, would have a devastating impact on Missourians' ability to access meaningful and relevant resources from the public libraries. The amendment would limit what libraries may purchase for their collections to materials cataloged by the Library of Congress. This would prevent libraries from loaning many types of materials that citizens use to grow their businesses, innovate, and solve challenges in their lives. Please do not support HB 986 or the amendment.
The Library of Congress is not a catchall institution to catalog everything published or printed. It has a curated collection of materials intended to serve the wide and varying needs of the individuals across the United State of America, not just those in Missouri. This highly conflicts with the individualized needs of Missouri's communities and what resources their libraries can provide to them.
The following list is an example of some but not all materials that would be greatly impacted and which many libraries in Missouri already provide.
Additional Issues for libraries with HB 986 and the amendment:
How would librarians look up to see if materials being purchased have been cataloged by LOC? One at a time? That's an insurmountable task which would grind library work to a halt in Missouri.
LOC only has 171 million items in its collection/catalog. There are at least 4 million books published each year alone. This is a devastating hindrance on what libraries can collect.
Issues for libraries providing Special Collections:
Having a special library collection of things, such as tools, provides the community with resources they may not be able to otherwise afford to get their businesses started, improve their skills for their career, start a new career, work on school projects, improve their livelihoods, and much more.
One library in Missouri provides a special collection called the Library of Things which allows community members to check out power tools. In one instance, a customer who would not have been able to afford to buy or even rent an electric drill from their hardware store was able to check out one from this special collection and change their locks which saved them from an abuser who had keys to the old locks.
Libraries providing special collections beyond books are community specific responses to community requested needs. Not every library in Missouri has or needs a Library of Things. And the communities that have them in their libraries, these special collections, are not competing with local businesses. Local businesses provide the newest products and maintain stock for everyone to purchase or rent a tool to keep or use for a short period of time. Libraries provide one or just a handful of these kinds of items to supplement the growing needs of a community with individuals who may not be able to afford them at the time. Just as with a book, many customers purchase books they really like or find themselves checking out multiple times. The book industry is stronger because libraries exist. The same goes for any other special collections materials.
Lastly, special collections are just that, special. They are neither the entire collection nor a majority of the collection. They meet the needs of the community when they need them.
Again, please, let each community define how its library should serve them best, not a federal institution. And then, please, let them serve the community!