Although several states have separated or are seeking to separate from the American Library Association (ALA), Emily Drabinski, the group's newly elected president and self-proclaimed "Marxist lesbian," is not backing down from her politicized comments.
Criticism of the ALA has been growing nationwide. In Alabama, an effort is underway to remove all state affiliations with the association.
The ALA is a national non-profit dedicated to improving library systems through advocacy. The ALA openly promotes diversity, equity and inclusion and seeks to "apply a social justice framework to the ALA strategic directions." It has publically supported the inclusion of books many parents have found sexually inappropriate for minors.
Drabinski became president of the ALA in July after being elected in 2022. Shortly after taking the helm, a controversial tweet of Drabinski's resurfaced, drawing the ire of conservative lawmakers and citizens.
"I just cannot believe that a Marxist lesbian who believes that collective power is possible to build and can be wielded for a better world is the president-elect of [the ALA]," Drabinski said in a since-deleted tweet. "I am so excited for what we will do together. Solidarity! And my mom is SO PROUD. I love you mom."
In July, Texas State Rep. Brian Harrison appealed to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission chair, asking her to disassociate Texas libraries from the ALA. Several other states have also followed suit, including Alabama.
U.S. Rep. Marco Rubio (R-Fla), along with U.S. Sens. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) and Mike Braun (R-Ind.), recently appealed to have all federal funds be held from the ALA until investigating the ALA allegedly encouraging libraries to discriminate against Christian publishers.
Even with the bevy of backlash, Drabisnki has not backed down, but she has expressed regret that her words are being used as a "bludgeon against library workers" and the ALA.
"I was excited to highlight and celebrate two aspects of my identity that are really important to me, and are often under a lot of scrutiny," Drabinksi told NBC.
She continued, "I didn't anticipate these kinds of targeted attacks being used as a bludgeon against library workers across the country. I really think that is regrettable, and I wish that wasn't happening right now."
The Alabama Public Library System (APLS) has requested an opinion from Attorney General Steve Marshall about the authority the APLS has to regulate local libraries and to what extent the APLS can separate from ALA. APLS board member and Alabama GOP chairman John Wahl led the call for the AG opinion and an investigation into how widespread the proliferation of sexually explicit books is in Alabama libraries.
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