When Hannah Rees set out to clean up her local library of sexually inappropriate children's books, she had no idea her bold actions would turn into a statewide movement. She went on to found Clean Up Alabama, a grassroots organization of concerned parents fighting to keep pornography and other explicit books out of their kids' libraries.

On Wednesday, Rees joined "1819 News: The Podcast" to discuss her group's success, the work that remains to be done and how it all started in Prattville with an innocent-looking book on pronouns.

Rees said the incident that set her off on her crusade happened one day while talking to other homeschool moms about library books. One of the mothers, who was teaching her kids about pronouns, said her son was inadvertently exposed to the leftist gender ideology from an otherwise normal-looking children's book.

"She's cooking dinner and her son comes down and is like, 'Mom, did you realize that you have to ask people what their pronouns are?.. In that book you got me at the library,'" Rees explained.

Wondering if there were other books like that, Rees said she began looking at the library's online catalog. She was "shocked" at what she found.

"We expect it in the adult section," she said. "We expect certain types of books, but this was very inconspicuous. This was books that were like innocent from outside. And what's really being taught is this just straight indoctrination into the radical gender cult."

Rees met with the Prattville Library director, hoping to resolve the issue quickly, which she assumed had to be a simple oversight.

"I naively thought I was going to come into this meeting, and she would not know these books were there… I totally gave her the benefit of the doubt," Rees said. "We had a very cordial conversation; it was a great conversation, but I very much realized within the first 10 minutes that these were not accidental. It was very intentional, very knowingly."

Rees found about 30 more inappropriate books in the library, so she got help from other moms to fill out forms requesting their removal. She discovered she was the first to fill out a challenging form.

After weeks of no response from the library, Rees made her concerns public by attending city council, county commission, and Alabama Public Library Service meetings.

Through her efforts and those of Clean Up Alabama, the Prattville Library would resign and fire two directors, including the one she initially spoke with, and see the entire Pratville-Autauga Library Board resign and be replaced with members more sympathetic to protecting children from illicit materials.

SEE: Entire Prattville-Autauga library board has resigned since drama began over sexually explicit children's books

The new board quickly enacted policies regulating ordering and placing "obscene" books in the local library.

Other libraries have begun examining their catalogs and policies thanks to Clean Up Alabama. Rees said her successes should encourage people to finish the work still to be done in ridding the state's libraries of bad books. She urged Christians and pastors to be involved in cultural and political issues and that sharing the Gospel should improve the world.

"We have a church on every street corner. This fight should have been won on day one," she said. "If the pastors in our community … if they had come to the meeting, it would have been over."

"If you're changing hearts and minds, then they should be changing the culture," she added.

To connect with the story's author or comment, email daniel.taylor@1819news.com or find him on Twitter and Facebook.

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