New Policy Brief About State Obscenity Laws Targeting Libraries and Education

In the 2021-2022 legislative session, three states changed their obscenity laws to allow for the prosecution of librarians or educators. In 2023-2024, we anticipate that many legislators whose bills failed the last session will reintroduce language in this session and anti-access activists will be inspired to sponsor their own regressive initiatives. 

The EverLibrary Institute is releasing a new Policy Brief "Opposing Attempts to Criminalize Libraries and Education Through State Obscenity Laws" to help state library associations anticipate this legislation and properly prepare to oppose unnecessary politicized changes to settled state law.

If your state is facing legislation that looks to amend or repeal the types of bona fide institutions or professions that have a defense from prosecution exemption under current obscenity law this Policy Brief is intended to provide you with actionable insights into ways to build a broad-based common cause coalition to oppose bad policies.

"Opposing Attempts..." provides a review of the long-standing reasons that states have exempted librarians, educators, museum professionals, and other professions exempt from prosecution in 44 states. This Policy Brief is written as an introduction to this important issue for state library association legislative committee and intellectual freedom committee members who are charged with recommending actions for their associations. We provide six pathways to identify and activate non-library stakeholders who likely share your concerns. The Brief includes a discussion and review of legislation from last legislative session and citations for all current obscenity exemptions in state code. 

You can download a free copy of the "Opposing Attempts to Criminalize Libraries and Education Through State Obscenity Laws" (January 2023) on the EveryLibrary Institute now. 


EveryLibrary, the national political action committee for libraries, is monitoring and engaging legislation during the 2023-2024 session affecting libraries, schools, colleges and universities, and museums. Please see for ongoing information.

EveryLibrary partners with state library associations to support and advance their legislative and policy agenda. EveryLibrary can provide your association’s legislative or intellectual freedom committee with free digital organizing resources, and targeted online campaign tools via, Save School Librarians, or the new Fight for the First platform. State partners can immediately access their state file of voters and library activists. EveryLibrary is proud to provide financial support for outreach as well as hosting its own independent expenditures to help amplify messaging.

The EveryLibrary Institute can provide pro-bono technical assistance and support to state library association leaders on these issues and help produce state-specific versions of this brief to inform legislators, stakeholders, and allies. 

For Questions or Comments about this Policy Brief or to discuss issues of local or national concern, please contact John Chrastka, Executive Director, EveryLibrary and the EveryLibrary Institute at [email protected] or 312-574-0316.