The Prattville-Autauga Library board recently passed a series of policies on Thursday regulating policies for ordering and placing "obscene" books in the local library.

Prattville is essentially ground zero for the now-statewide battle over sexually explicit and LGBTQ+-promoting material for minors in Alabama.

Since April 2023, residents have approached the library board, city council and county commission, both in support and opposition to the books' inclusion. In the process, every original member of the library board has resigned.

SEE: Entire Prattville-Autauga library board has resigned since the drama began over sexually explicit children's books.

On Thursday, the newly formed library board voted to approve a series of policy changes related to the procurement and display of books that contain "obscenity, sexual conduct, sexual intercourse, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender discordance."

The board also hired Laura Clark, the president of the Alabama Center for Law and Liberty, at a rate of $200 an hour.

The board voted on the bylaws without discussion, with all present members voting in favor. Two city-appointed members were absent during Thursday's meeting: Quincy Minor and Christie Sellers. Clark told 1819 News that Sellers resigned that morning over the proposed policy changes.

The new rules created a new system for library cards meant for anyone under 18.

"Children under the age of 18 shall receive library cards that are especially designated for minors," the rule reads. "These cards will not permit the checkout of material with content containing, but not limited to, obscenity, sexual conduct, sexual intercourse, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender discordance. Age-appropriate materials concerning biology, human anatomy, or religion are exempt from this rule."

The main crux of the dispute within the library surrounds books intended for minors that are either sexually explicit or promote specific ideologies on sex, gender, race and culture. While those favoring keeping the books have accused the other side of wanting to ban books, the opposing side has expressed a desire for sensible policies to "protect children."

The new policy creates and implements direct guidelines the library must use when purchasing and displaying books.

"For the avoidance of doubt, the library shall not purchase or otherwise acquire any material advertised for consumers ages 17 and under which contain content including, but not limited to, obscenity, sexual conduct, sexual intercourse, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender discordance," the rules state. "Age-appropriate materials concerning biology, human anatomy, or religion are exempt from this rule."

The rules add, "Library staff shall affix a red warning label prominently on the binding of any book or other material in the library's collection containing content including, but not limited to, obscenity, sexual conduct, sexual intercourse, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender discordance and advertised for consumers 18 and older. Materials concerning biology, human anatomy, or religion are exempt from this rule."

In addition to addressing books, the new rules create similar guidelines for programming designed specifically for children.

For the avoidance of doubt, programming for minors aged 17 and under may not contain obscenity, sexual conduct, sexual intercourse, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender discordance. Age-appropriate programming concerning biology, human anatomy, or religion is exempt from this rule. The Library Board of Trustees reserves the right to exercise discretion over all programming.

Chairman Ray Boles told 1819 News Clark was hired in part to help the board conduct itself according to Alabama's Open Meetings Act. He also said he was "thrilled" with the new rules and the library's future.

After the board approved the rules, several of the regular faces spoke in opposition to the new regulations, some hinting at bringing legal action.

For months, residents have attended the Autauga County Commission and Prattville City Council, often reading excerpts from the children's books with sexually explicit content.

In April 2023, 1819 News reported on several mothers expressing concern with sexually explicit and LGBTQ-promoting children's books in the Autauga-Prattville Public Library, available for any child to read at will.

The result was the formation of two groups opposed to the books, Clean Up Prattville and Clean Up Alabama. The former focuses on the Prattville library, while the latter addresses statewide library issues.

Those who support keeping the books have accused the county commission of being more in line with those challenging the books, while those challenging the books have found the Prattville City Council to resist their appeals.

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