The Huntsville-Madison County Library Board met Tuesday to review and discuss policy changes presented earlier this year by their Governance Committee. 

The committee was waiting for the state legislative session to end to see what laws would pass and for the Alabama Public Library System (APLS) to vote on state policy that would require local boards to follow to receive state funding.

The Huntsville Madison board ultimately decided to change its policies. However, these changes may not align with state guidance and could cause the library to lose $526,000 in state funding.

Multiple members of the community spoke for and against the policy changes. Emily Jones with Moms for Liberty stated, "The local board and public servants on city council, county commission and mayors need to find their courage and start standing up to protect children. Our leaders are cowards, and they are sacrificing our children's innocence out of fear of being called names."

The board ultimately passed the proposed policy changes:

  • Display and Exhibit Policy: offer displays and exhibits that appeal to a range of ages, interests, and informational needs of the community based on the suitability of the subject and style for the intended audience.

  • Statements of Concern: If patrons have issues with any displays within the library, they may submit a statement of concern.

  • Selection Guidelines: the library director and staff shall select materials on the basis of community interests, accuracy of information and literary or educational significance. The library shall not exclude materials solely due to the subject matter dealing with topics deemed controversial.

A few members of the Huntsville City Council responded to the board's vote in agreement or apathy. John Meredith said he was too busy campaigning and Council President David Little said it would be inappropriate to interfere with the library board's business.

Scott Jones, a former Mobile city councilman, said, "The vote by the Madison/Huntsville Public Library (MHPL) Board to continue to put sexually explicit literature out in public for children up to 12 years old is not only one that fails to protect children but defies the recent APLS policy that this material cannot be placed in children sections."

He added, "It is time for conservative citizens to step up and put people in office next year who want to protect children and safeguard the funding that MPCL libraries are about to lose."

It will be up to APLS to pull funding. However, the library budget currently sits around $8.2 million, so if state funding is pulled, it will be left up to the local citizens to make up that additional $526,000.

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email or on Twitter @BradleyCoxAL.

Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.