MONTGOMERY — After months of calls from residents and lawmakers, the Alabama Public Library Service (APLS) voted unanimously on Tuesday to withdraw its American Library Association (ALA) membership.

The ALA is at the center of the statewide debate over local libraries' inclusion of sexually explicit books made available for minors. Those opposed to the books' inclusion have pointed to the ALA's support for sexually explicit children's books and the political bias of the ALA and its leadership.

Lawmakers have previously suggested limiting funding to state libraries unless certain issues, including ALA influence, are addressed. In October, Gov. Kay Ivey sent a letter to APLS director Nancy Pack, saying she harbors "serious misgivings" about ALA and its "influence over Alabama libraries." She also recommended policy changes that would make state funding contingent on compliance.

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's strategic directions." It has publically supported the inclusion of books many parents have found sexually inappropriate for minors. ALA's president, Emily Drabinski, self-identified as a "Marxist lesbian" after gaining her title.

Drabinski's appointment led several states to end their affiliation with the ALA on a state level.

SEE ALSO: 'Marxist lesbian' American Library Association president not backing down despite Alabama, other states seeking separation

Alabama GOP chairman and Alabama Public Library Service Board member John Wahl attempted to call a vote in November 2023, which was ultimately delayed until Tuesday. In the meantime, Pack sent a letter to Drabinski, informing her of the damaging effects of her comments. In the letter, Pack also informed Drabinski of the state's intention to remove its membership. Drabinski did not respond to the letter.

Despite Wahl not attending Tuesday's meeting, board member Angelia Stokes motioned not to renew APLS's ALA membership, which expires in March. With no debate on the subject, the board unanimously agreed.

APLS chairman Ronald Snider suggested waiting until March to address the issue; both Stokes and Snider agreed the ALA brings too much controversy.

"I would like to make a motion that we go ahead and withdraw from the ALA," Stokes said. "Just because [of] this controversy. That does not mean that sometime in the future we might could rethink that."

Matt Layne, the president of the Alabama Library Association (ALLA), the state chapter of the ALA, said the state's cancellation would not ultimately affect the ALLA directly since it continues to operate with individual libraries that have memberships. Libraries may still have a membership with either the ALA or the ALLA.

In a statement, Clean Up Alabama, an advocacy group opposed to the books' inclusion and the ALA, said APLS needs to totally remove ALA's resources and policies from state libraries for the change to be meaningful.

"[T]he decision to not renew the ALA membership is certainly better than the alternative but it is not the same as disassociating from the ALA," it read. "There must be a complete severing of ties with the ALA if we expect to see long lasting changes in our Alabama public libraries."

Snider told 1819 News he believed canceling the membership would also not give the state access to ALA's resources, training, and advocacy materials.

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