The Alabama Library Association (ALLA) has come out against statewide efforts to remove or relocate library books for minors containing sexually explicit material or touching on LGBTQ+ issues.
Over the last several months, concerned citizens across the state have voiced strong opposition to LGBTQ and sexually explicit children's books that pervade many Alabama libraries. However, the Alabama Library Association (ALLA) is pushing back against efforts to have those books removed or relocated.
ALLA is the state chapter of the American Library Association (ALA). The ALLA lost its status as an ALA chapter in 1961 for refusing to desegregate. However, it currently has chapter status and offers joint ALA and ALLA membership plans, though it is unclear when the chapter designation was restored.
On Wednesday, the ALLA released a statement denouncing any attempts to regulate or limit materials in libraries.
"[ALLA] has watched with concern the growing number of organized attempts at censorship and suppression in schools and libraries in the State of Alabama and across the country," The statement reads. "Many of these attacks are targeting materials and programs that address race, racism, sexual orientation, and gender identity and expression. In some instances, challengers have requested the destruction of material they deem contradicts their personal beliefs. Even more concerning, we have noted the increase in public harassment, verbal attacks and threats to library employees and board members.
"ALLA categorically rejects all efforts to censor or restrict access to materials from any library, based on content. We strongly affirm our historic professional values of providing free access to books, resources, and services for the interest, information, education, and enlightenment of all people within the communities we serve. We do not exclude materials because of their origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation."
The statement further claimed that "rigorous" training of library workers equips them to make selection decisions that "represent a balance of the spectrum of knowledge."
"We acknowledge the right and responsibility of parents and guardians to guide the reading choices of their children," the statement concluded. "Such rights should not in any way inhibit the rights of others to read or view materials of their choosing. We reject past, current, and future efforts to remove access to materials from consenting readers. Concerted efforts by groups who disavow racial equality, self-determination, and/or gender identity and expression, undermines intellectual freedom. In addition, such efforts inhibit knowledge and place barriers to learning."
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