MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WHNT) — The Alabama Public Library Service Board tabled a motion Thursday to disaffiliate with the American Library Association until a later meeting.
Board members said they want more time to investigate the impact of separating and whether the state may need to fill any gaps. It comes after some, including Gov. Kay Ivey, have expressed concern over the national group’s influence on Alabama libraries.
Concerns with the ALA have been brewing in the state over several months. Opponents say the ALA’s position that minors have a right to access all books doesn’t protect them from inappropriate content.
“It’s not appropriate for children to happen upon sexual material of any kind,” Hannah Rees with Clean Up Alabama told the board.
Supporters of staying with the ALA say it provides professional support to local libraries nationwide.
“It will take away resources. Training resources. So it’s obvious to me they should stay in,” Angie Hayden with Read Freely Alabama said.
If the APLS does cut ties with the group, local libraries would not be affected and could still be affiliated with the ALA. Board member and ALGOP Chairman John Wahl supports separating now but said he understands wanting to take more time.
“The important thing there is that you don’t make a knee-jerk reaction,” Wahl said. “You take the time to do the research, make sure you’re not missing anything, check with both sides, check with everyone involved and have the information to make an informed decision.”
The APLS’s membership with the ALA expires March 31, according to APLS Chair Ron Snider. The board voted to bring that vote back up at a meeting before then.
The board is also waiting on an opinion from the Alabama Attorney General’s Office about its authority that it expects may be ready by that next meeting. The APLS also gave an update on the form it plans to create for parents to submit book titles they are concerned about.
APLS Director Nancy Pack said it should be on its website by mid-December at the latest. That list will then be provided to local libraries.