Alabama Public Library Services Board votes to create list of books parents voice concerns about

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WHNT) — The Alabama Public Library Services Board unanimously approved a motion Wednesday to address some concerns from parents who say certain books should not be in children’s sections.

The motion states that APLS will compile a list of books based on forms submitted by parents and then give that list to local libraries to decide what to do with those books if they are on the shelves.

This does not require local libraries to do anything like remove books. The SPLA may not have this authority. That’s why he asked Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall for advice on what authority he has to regulate local content.

John Wahl, board member and president of the ALGOP, made the motion. He said the list would come from parent submissions, including page numbers of the content in question.

“We evaluate the films. We rate video games,” Wahl said. “This is just one of the areas where we are looking at a way to let local libraries know that there may be inappropriate material in books and to flag it for them, so they have guidance when they examine their collections. »

The motion passed unanimously after being amended to indicate that the form submitted by parents must include their name and address. Wahl said the next step would be to create this form.

This conflict has arisen recently in a handful of libraries across the state, with some parents saying they are concerned about sexually explicit excerpts and want those books moved to adult sections of the library.

“It has nothing to do specifically with the LGBTQ community,” said Hannah Rees, a Prattville mother and founder of “Clean Up Alabama.” “It has to do with the sexually explicit content and radical ideologies that are being promoted to young children, and that’s what it’s all about.”

But others at the meeting say it’s about much more than that and that what begins with a list can eventually lead to censorship.

“They say it’s not about the LGBTQ+ community, but is it practical that the majority of sexually explicit books they offer also contain LGBTQ+ content? said Lauren Boone, a Prattville resident and member of the “Read Freely Alabama” group. I want everyone to remember what’s really going on here.

Marshall said his office would review the request for an opinion. He also spoke out on the issue.

“We need to make sure our libraries are safe places for children,” Marshall said. “We need to make sure the content is appropriate – that it’s age-appropriate. Not only that, but we also have people serving on library boards who reflect the interests of this community, and I hope we continue to be able to do that.

It’s unclear when Marshall might issue a notice.

There were also three state legislators present at the meeting, as well as a representative from the Alabama House Speaker’s office.

Council members received letters from House Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter and Majority Leader Scott Stadthagen urging SPLA to consider disassociating itself from the American Library Association and “help protect children statewide content that they clearly should not see, hear or read until they are adults. »

Part of Ledbetter’s letter also threatens the agency’s funding if the SPLA board of directors does not make changes, writing: “If the issues in question remain unresolved when lawmakers meet, I I am confident that they will use both their statutory and budgetary authority to assist the SPLA. do its job and accomplish its mission.

Stadthagen’s letter says in part: “We are prepared, if necessary, to take action through legislation, our budgetary authority, or both, but you have in your hands the option to override this necessity.”


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