Public library patrons in Minnesota will have to sign a form to access their library, according to a draft policy proposed by the state.
The draft policy, obtained by Recode, states that “no person shall be denied access to a public library or public library facility because of race, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, genetic information, religion, age, or veteran status.”
The policy goes on to state that libraries can only provide library services to “all persons who are currently, or hereafter are eligible to receive a public benefit under the public benefit plan.”
A copy of the draft policy was obtained by Politico.
The policy, which was released Friday, does not define a library as a “minority” branch, or require the use of “any language” or “speech” that would make a library “hostile” to minorities.
It is unclear if other states will take similar measures.
The proposal comes just a day after the state of Florida and six other states announced they would expand their diversity initiatives.
The move follows similar efforts by California, Colorado, Washington, Wisconsin, New York and Oregon.
In the first of a series of public forums to review the diversity efforts, the U.S. Library Association said it was reviewing its policies, including the Minnesota draft.
“As a result of the state’s response, we are now evaluating our approach to diversity and inclusion,” the association said in a statement Friday.
The Minnesota Public Library Board, which has the power to establish diversity policies, met with library directors and senior managers Friday to review their policies.
The board said in its response to the request for comment that it was committed to diversity, including “the inclusion of all people, regardless of race or national origin.”
The library board also said it would “actively” seek input from the public.
“We believe that our efforts to ensure equal access to libraries can and will be successful, and we welcome constructive feedback,” the board said.
“However, we must ensure that we also remain mindful of the inherent biases that exist in our community.”