Parents across Alabama are demanding that libraries change their policies to ensure books with sexualized content or ones that push gender ideology are unavailable to young children. This should not be difficult, but everyone from town mayors to library directors to city councils are pointing the finger and passing the buck, rather than address such legitimate concerns.
Except for Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey.
In September, Ivey wrote to Alabama Public Library Services (APLS) Director Nancy Pack, saying:
"The concern is about ensuring that these books are placed in an appropriate location... If our children and youth are going to encounter these books at all, it should be because of a considered family decision, not the whims of a local library.”
Ivey and Pack continue to correspond on this topic as the issue gains national prominence. States like Montana, Missouri, and Texas have already moved to separate themselves from the American Library Association (ALA), the national body that is supposed to give oversight and guidance on improving literacy and access to literature, but instead promotes an agenda of indoctrination.
In Alabama, the governor has direct oversight and appointment powers for the state’s library systems, including the APLS director chair and board, so Ivey is commendably pursuing these concerns, offering recommendations and solutions on how best to engage.
One of Ivey’s recommendations is to disassociate from the ALA, an action with which State Rep. Susan DuBose agrees. DuBose is calling for a disaffiliation from the ALA on the basis of not allowing taxpayer dollars to fund activist agendas such as Marxism, which Emily Drabinski, the president of the ALA and an avowed Marxist, supports. “Libraries need to [be] a site of socialist organizing,” Drabinski said.
Ivey’s last missive to Pack gave suggestions on how the APLS could aid local libraries in assisting parents in protecting their children. According to the “Alabama Political Reporter,”
“Ivey made suggestions for the APLS to consider implementing. The rules particularly relate to requiring libraries to submit policies ‘covering (a) “physical location (and relocation) of material deemed inappropriate for children or youth” and (b) “advance approval of materials recommended, displayed, or otherwise actively promoted by library staff.”’
‘Taking this action will leave the precise details up to local library boards,’ Ivey said. ‘But it will ensure that every public library in the State newly considers these important ways to create a welcoming library environment.’"
Last week APLS held a meeting to consider Ivey’s recommendations and whether to disaffiliate from the ALA. District 6 board member Virginia Doyle had particularly critical and accusatory comments, 1819 News reported:
“‘I don't know how, when, where or who got to the state legislature and the governor's office,’ Doyle said. ‘And to have them threaten to take our budget away from us because of all this controversy is just wrong.’
Doyle said that she had been personally ‘threatened’ by an unnamed legislator to cut library funding and that Ivey and other lawmakers had not tried to meet with anyone on the [APLS] board.”
Shortly after this meeting, Ivey removed Doyle from her position. Doyle told “Alabama Political Reporter” that she stands by her stated positions and sees this removal as politically motivated. Perhaps, but one can also consider that a woman who has built her career on fundraising for libraries may also have a political agenda. It cuts both ways.
Ivey seems interested in leaving a legacy of service to Alabamians, especially through protections for the state’s children. Indeed, many of the bills she has signed involve ensuring the next generation of Alabamians has opportunity to thrive, whether through foster and adoption laws, laws protecting female athletes, and laws protecting against the evils of gender-affirming care.
So yes, Doyle is correct that her removal has political motivations. Ivey’s motivation is that her record of advocacy and protection of children remains unsullied. As Ivey said in her statement on signing Senate Bill 184:
“There are very real challenges facing our young people, especially with today's societal pressures and modern culture. I believe very strongly that if the Good Lord made you a boy, you are a boy, and if he made you a girl, you are a girl. We should especially protect our children from these radical, life-altering drugs and surgeries when they are at such a vulnerable stage in life. Instead, let us all focus on helping them to properly develop into the adults God intended them to be." [Emphasis added.]
The goal of any child’s guardian or caregiver should be to raise a functioning and thriving adult with as little damage as possible. Sadly, Doyle is on the wrong side of history concerning the desire and right of parents to oversee and control what their children should or should not be reading, as well as our rights as taxpayers about funding a national organization with no vested interest in Alabama values. As Alabama GOP Chair and ALPS Board member John Wahl rightly stated, the government should not be using tax dollars to make such books available in libraries.
“Governmentally, there’s no excuse to be engaging in social engineering because that’s what it is, let’s be honest about it,” Wahl said. “Social engineering our children into a socialist worldview.”
The question for Virginia Doyle is, why is she so insistent on continuing to fund this agenda, rather than protect Alabama’s children from harm?
Jennifer Oliver O'Connell, As the Girl Turns, is an investigative journalist, author, opinion analyst, and contributor to 1819 News, Redstate, and other publications. Jennifer writes on Politics and Pop Culture, with occasional detours into Reinvention, Yoga, and Food. You can read more about Jennifer's world at her As the Girl Turns website. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Telegram.
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to [email protected].
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