The Prattville Library Board met on Thursday to address a series of books that several local residents have raised concerns over for the books' LGBTQIA+ content.

Several local mothers have been battling the Autauga-Prattville Public Library after discovering dozens of children's books that promoted "trans ideology," pushed wokeness, and even contained explicit sexual content.

After submitting six books to the library board of trustees, a committee comprised of one board member and two library staff was created. The Board arrived at their decision to remove or relocate the books.

"We have worked through the process," said Board chairman Susan Poteat. "What we tried to do was be very deliberate about this.

She continued, "We have been very deliberate in the process. We have followed it as carefully as we could because this is new territory for us. As long as I've been on the Board, we've not had anyone ask us to remove materials from the library.

The books reviewed were:

· "Yes! No!" a children's book on sexual consent.

· "Bye Bye, Binary," a children's book on gender expression.

· "Calvin," a children's story about a girl who says she has been a boy since she can remember. It details the story of her family and school embracing her new identity and name.

· "Being You: A First Conversation About Gender."

· "Alice Austen Llived Here," a book aged 12-14 about a "non-binary" person named Sam who explores "their" identity.

· "The Pronoun Book," a children's guide to alternative pronouns.

The only alteration made by the Board was moving "The Pronoun Book" from the grammar section.

Several citizens attended to hear the board decision, and two local mothers presented a list in which they identified over 80 books with similar content.

Opponents of the books expressed their displeasure at the continued inclusion of the books, reiterating on multiple occasions that they were not advocating for a complete removal of the material, simply that it not be in the kids' section. They also said they had asked libraries in surrounding cities and were told they don't order the types of books in question.

Board members repeatedly stated that they must represent the whole population, not just the admitted majority that does not want these kinds of books.

One Board member said he empathizes with the mission of the mothers, saying he would not want his grandchildren to access the listed books.

"We are striving to meet the needs of the entire community," He said. And I think what You are doing is admirable."

Tensions arose in the room when one attendee asked to know the identities of the two library staff members who were on the committee. When Board officials said they would not provide their names for fear of reprisal, one attendee mentioned she could retrieve them via a public records request. 

The Board acknowledged it chose books from a list compiled by organizations such as the Ingram Content Group.

1819 News asked Lindsey Milam why it was reticent to employ the same discretionary process to their own books as the organizations that compile the lists on which it relies.

"Well, we look at the list, we order based on what we think will be popular, based on what they tell us," Milam said. "…We don't say, 'we don't like this topic, so we won't purchase it,' If that's what you're asking."

When further pushed on if the library would exclude any book based on a book's topic, Milam revealed that she was not ultimately deciding.  

"I don't actually make the call… but I would assume that she does not purchase because she personally doesn't like it," Milam continued.

The parents say they are not finished fighting the issue. Since both Prattville City Council and the Autauga County Commission appoint library board members, addressing those bodies will now be a priority.

Days earlier, one of the mothers addressed the Prattville city council. Several LGBTQ activists spoke in favor of the books and claimed that many Prattville residents would support the inclusion of children's books.

Multiple city council members stated they sympathized with the complaint but didn't think it was the council's job to interfere with the library.

"While I'm not sure that we should be in the business of censoring what books are and aren't in the library, I definitely don't agree that these should be mingled in amongst other children's books. These need to be in a separate section."

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