Huntsville-Madison County Public Library is pausing its plans to relocate certain books on library shelves after it was reported that executive director Cindy Hewitt had ordered LGBTQ-related children's books to be moved into the adult section.
In a statement released Thursday, public relations director Jay Hixon said a news report, ostensibly referring to a story published by a left-wing outlet, was false and that they were reviewing books with "sexually explicit content of any kind" to ensure they were shelved in the age-appropriate areas.
"Libraries are dynamic spaces where we constantly evaluate and adjust our collections to better serve the diverse needs and interests of our community," Hixon's statement read. "Moving books can sometimes be part of this process. Huntsville Madison County Public Library staff have been reviewing materials that could be included in the list of books of concern generated by the Alabama Public Library Service."
Hixon said all 10 branches of the library system had been asked to examine specific "collections" to determine if any books needed to be moved to a more age-appropriate area.
"We feel it is important that librarians, who are trained in collection development, should be the ones who make decisions about book placement. As library professionals, we are always willing to evaluate our collection in light of community concerns," Hixon stated. "While a news report states that we have been specifically targeting LGBTQ+ books, that is not true. While some groups have expressed concern about books dealing with this subject matter, the specific review related to ensuring that books containing sexually explicit content of any kind were located in an age-appropriate category."
Hixon said library staff and board members will continue to discuss potential changes to certain books' locations. Still, he emphasized that libraries will "not move specific titles because individuals or groups may find them objectionable."
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