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Alabama Public Library Service exits from controversial national group

Conservative Alabama lawmakers and political leaders are showing their support for the Alabama Public Library Service (ALPS) Board’s unanimous vote Tuesday to withdraw its membership with the American Library Association (ALA).

The ALPS has faced close scrutiny in recent months over the availability of sexual explicit books in the children’s section of local libraries. Some lawmakers feel their affiliation with the ALA exposed them to a woke agenda being pushed on kids.

While the ALA says it’s mission is to “to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all,” some lawmakers argue that it has transformed into a radical activist organization.

RELATED: Alabama libraries stall disaffiliation with national group accused of ‘Marxism’

“I was glad to see our Alabama Public Library Service make the decision to withdrawal from the American Library Association,” State Rep. Susan DuBose said in reaction to the move. “We have watched the ALA, a once respected professional organization, change to an activist group led by a Marxist President.”

DuBose (R-Hoover) has been outspoken against the availability of sexually explicit books for children at the libraries.

“Membership in the ALA has been dropped by more than 20% in recent years,” Dubose continued. “This is evidence that nationwide libraries are no longer aligned with the goals of the ALA. I support the decision by APLS to withdrawal from the ALA and would encourage local libraries to follow suit and disaffiliate.”

State Sen. Chris Elliott also praised the board’s decision, but said it doesn’t go far enough.

“Governor Ivey applied some pressure. They’ve responded,” Elliott (R-Josephine) said.

“And my bill that deals with libraries is very simple — the local library boards are appointed by their appointing authority, and also can be removed by the appointing authority — that’s how our republic is supposed to work. And I think you’re seeing at least some of the reaction to that, at least on the state level. We just need to pass this bill so we can handle that at the local level as well.”

Sen. Elliott believes the libraries need to be held accountable to the people in their communities.

“So, my goal here was to make sure that the local elected officials who appoint these board members can hear that from the person that they go to church with go, to school with, see in the grocery store, and that that local elected officials essentially can answer for what was at the library.” He argued. “And that library board member was going to have to answer to the local elected officials who sees it.”

“I think when it gets close to home like that, there’s nothing closer to home than what a kid’s reading,” Elliot said.

RELATED: State Sen. Elliott: Local officials ‘should have the ability’ to remove library board members

Clean Up Alabama, a group who’s been openly opposed to the ALA, said in a statement that this is a good first step.

“[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,” the statement said. “There must be a complete severing of ties with the ALA if we expect to see long lasting changes in our Alabama public libraries.”

Governor Kay Ivey made recommendations to the service in a letter sent to APLS Director Nancy Pack in October.

Her ideas included making state aid for local libraries contingent on the adoption of sensible policies to facilitate greater parental supervision of their children, requiring all expenditures of public funds to the American Library Association to be approved by the relevant governing authority in an open, public meeting, and reaffirming local libraries’ ability to respond to parental concerns about sexually explicit or other inappropriate materials.

Yaffee is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts “The Yaffee Program” weekdays 9-11 a.m. on WVNN. You can follow him on Twitter @Yaffee

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