The Alabama Public Library Service (APLS) board will vote Thursday to either advance or reject a series of administrative policies suggested by Gov. Kay Ivey addressing sexually explicit books.

Ivey got involved in the issue after residents across the state began expressing concern over sexually explicit and LGBTQ+-promoting books in public libraries made freely available to children. Shortly after, lawmakers and state residents began attending APLS Board meetings, asking for solutions from the state agency.

In September, Ivey sent a letter to APLS Director Nancy Pack demanding answers in the growing controversy surrounding Alabama libraries and sexually explicit books and APLS's connection with the American Library Association (ALA).

Pack attempted to answer the questions and defend the ALA.

RELATED: State library director contradicts previous statements on ALA relationship, defends DEI in libraries in response to Ivey letter

SEE ALSO: State library system votes to withdraw from American Library Association

Ivey later responded by offering a series of policy recommendations, which have been delayed during the public comment portion of the rules' deliberation. In April, over 100 speakers addressed the board, both in support of and opposition to the proposed rules. Over 4,000 letters were also submitted to the APLS board.

Alabama Republican Party chairman and APLS board member John Wahl stated that he plans to motion to accept the administrative rules, along with several amendments that emerged from the public comment period.

In her letter, Ivey suggested that APLS should, at a minimum, adopt the following policies:

  • Make state aid for local libraries contingent on the adoption of sensible policies to facilitate greater parental supervision of their children.

  • Require all expenditures of public funds to the American Library Association to be approved by the relevant governing authority in an open, public meeting.

  • Reaffirm local libraries' ability to respond to parental concerns about sexually explicit or other inappropriate materials.

"[L]ibraries must not be a place to expose children to inappropriate content without the knowledge and consent of their parents," Ivey concluded. "Libraries should listen to parents when it comes to what content is openly available in children's sections of libraries."

In her letter, Ivey proposed amendments to APLS's rules to address citizens' issues with including certain books. The modifications would require local libraries to adopt policies related to the issues to receive state funding.

The policies relate to the physical location and relocation of sexually explicit or other material deemed inappropriate for children or youth and require advanced approval to display such books.

The proposed amendment also clarifies that "Exercising discretion in the location of sexually explicit material or other material deemed by the public library board to be inappropriate for children or youth does not constitute a denial of service on the basis of age. Taking age into account when recommending, displaying, or otherwise actively promoting library materials does not constitute a denial of service on the basis of age."

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