FOLEY — The mayor of Foley says he agrees with Gov. Kay Ivey after she wrote a letter questioning Alabama Public Library Service (APLS) director Nancy Pack. Ivey listed nine questions about inappropriate books being made available to children and teens across the state and how the process works in the state.

Ivey used examples of books previously reported by 1819 News, such as "Who Are You?" which was found in the Foley Public Library.

Foley Library brook Alabama News
"Who Are You?" available in children's section of Foley Public Library. Photo: Erica Thomas.

Foley Mayor Ralph Hellmich responded to the mention of his city by saying, once again, that he believes parents bear the responsibility.

"The letter and release from Gov. Ivey is regarding issues at the State level with the Alabama Library Board and their policies," Hellmich told 1819 News. "I agree with the Governor that parents should be and are responsible for their children and the raising thereof. Parental Control is paramount and reflects our policy here in Foley."

Who are you book Alabama News
"Who Are You?" book found in children's section of Foley Public Library. Photo: Erica Thomas.

However, Ivey did not say in the letter that parents should be responsible for what the library offers. While she did say parents should be able to make decisions for their children and should have the option to expose their children to the books in question, it should be because the family made that decision, and it was "not the whims of a local library."

In Foley, some of the books that contained sexually explicit material were available to children ages 12 – 18, and some were on display on the top of the bookshelves.

Foley library books Alabama News
Photo by Erica Thomas.

Parents have not asked for the books to be banned but for them to be put in a section where adults can check them out for their children if they wish.

"Considering the foregoing facts, it is not surprising that Alabama parents are raising concerns about both the content on display in some Alabama libraries as well as the general approach of Alabama libraries towards parental involvement," Ivey said in the letter. "I share these concerns and believe that the responsible thing to do is seek more information that may be useful in considering whether reform is necessary and if so, what reforms to make."

Ivey said she hopes library leaders can come up with a solution to ensure families can access material that may not be available elsewhere while giving parents who are concerned peace of mind when their kids are looking through books.

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