DES MOINES, Iowa — Librarians across Iowa are expressing concern that the book ban can spread to public libraries throughout the state.

The Iowa Library Association says that it’s not uncommon for school districts to work closely with public libraries. However, with the passing of Senate File 496, librarians are worried this might impact some public libraries.

Sam Hemlick is the President of the Iowa Library Association. They say that the new law is concerning for two reasons. The first is that there are at least seven districts in the state where the school library is the only library in the community. The second reason is that some public libraries in the state allow student IDs to be used like library cards. The new law is unclear what these school libraries, which are also public institutions, should do.

The last state document that references combining school and public libraries was released in 2006. This document lists 12 libraries that are combined:

  • Alta-Aurelia Library
  • Baxter 
  • Huxley Public Library
  • Lake Park Public Library
  • Cleghorn
  • Correctionville 
  • Crystal Lake 
  • Dunlap
  • Orient
  • Runnels
  • Sergeant Bluff 
  • Tiffin

Helmick also says that this is concerning for what it could represent on a national scale because the Library Bill of Rights was written in Des Moines.

“It’s kind of fascinating to be an Iowa librarian because the Library Bill of Rights is known globally. We literally have set the standard for intellectual freedom and access to literature on a global scale. And so for us to just dismantle that, would be tragic because this is an incredible legacy to carry forward,” says Helmick.

The Iowa Library Association reached out to the state for guidance but has yet to hear back on how to proceed.