MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — The Alabama Public Library Service Board Director is recommending the group leave the American Library Association.
This comes amid pressure from some parents and state lawmakers who say the national association doesn’t align with Alabama values.
In a letter to Gov. Kay Ivey, APLS Director Nancy Pack writes that she will recommend the Board vote to not renew its membership with the ALA at its Nov. 16 meeting.
Pack also sent a memo to library directors statewide saying the APLS will end its membership but local library boards should make their own decisions.
State Rep. Susan DuBose supports the move.
“That organization has become more of an activist organization than a professional organization,” DuBose said about the ALA.
DuBose has voiced her concerns with the ALA — including its opposition to restricting books based on age, as well as its book recommendation lists to children dealing with gender identity, among other concerns.
“They are all introducing concepts to young children that says they can choose what sex they want to be, and that’s disturbing to me for a young child to have to start learning about,” DuBose said.
Since 2019, APLS has spent about $38,000 on membership and other fees to the ALA.
Angie Hayden with Read Freely Alabama is disappointed in Director Pack’s move. She says Pack is conceding to the governor but understands that library funding could be at stake to do otherwise.
“As much as we have empathy for the situation she found herself in, we do wish we had some stronger leadership,” Hayden said.
Hayden also says she doesn’t think most parents want LGBTQ+ books moved and thinks a small but vocal group is leading that push.
“Those people exist in our communities, they deserve representation. They deserve the right to see stories like their own in their libraries,” Hayden said.
Leaving the ALA isn’t the only item on the APLS Board’s next agenda. Pack’s letter also says the board will consider drafting a letter to the ALA urging the impeachment of its president, Emily Drabinski, over comments she’s made, as well as finalize the “Parents’ list of potentially inappropriate book titles.”
APLS Director Pack was not available today for an interview about her decision according to APLS Communications and Public Relations Manager Ryan Godfrey.
If APLS votes to not renew its ALA membership, Alabama would join Montana, Missouri and Texas — all of which left the national group this summer.