Alabama GOP chairman and Alabama Public Library Service Board member John Wahl announced on Wednesday his plans to motion for the board to officially disaffiliate from the American Library Association (ALA).
In the ongoing saga of lawmakers and residents expressing concern over children's books that contain sexually explicit or LGBTQ+ material in public libraries, the APLS will vote on removing the APLS's relationship with the ALA at Thursday's board meeting after a planned motion by Wahl.
In a release, Wahl said he would motion to disaffiliate the APLS from the ALA at Thursday's meeting, saying "they are completely out of touch with both the people and government of Alabama." Wahl also intends to motion to adopt Gov. Kay Ivey's proposed amendments to the Alabama Public Library Service Code.
"I believe it is important for our society and culture to shield children from materials that could be harmful," Wahl said. "This has been a priority for parents and community leaders since the beginning of time, and today should be no different. Our children deserve to be protected and given the opportunity to have a childhood free of social agendas and inappropriate content. The concept of protecting children is exactly why we don't allow them to smoke, drink alcohol or buy firearms, and why we make sure television programming, music, and even video games have protections in place so parents can make informed decisions about what is best for their families. Books and our libraries should be no different."
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 publicly supported the inclusion of books many parents have found sexually inappropriate for minors.
After a months-long public back-and-forth with Ivey, APLS director Nancy Pack announced that the state library system would discontinue its membership with the ALA. The ALA membership cost APLS just over $38,000 since 2019, according to a previous release from Pack.
Clean Up Alabama, an advocacy group opposed to the books' inclusion, recently claimed that Pack said APLS would likely re-join the ALA next June if the board voted to disassociate. Pack contacted 1819 News to complain about previous reporting but would not confirm or deny if she made the statement alleged by Clean Up Alabama.
"The damage of the American Library Association's Marxist propaganda and the placement of sexually explicit books in our libraries' youth sections cannot be measured," Wahl continued. "It has made countless parents distrust their local libraries, put library funding at risk, and damaged the reputation of our entire library system. Libraries should be a place of [learning], where we encourage uplifting content, and not a place that pushes a socialist and un-American political agenda."
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