The assumption by Conservative Inc. and certain people who live in a liberal bubble that red states are safe bastions from the woke nonsense of CRT, gender ideology, and LGBTQ madness is dead wrong. The Left is intent on their agenda being everywhere, and they will do whatever it takes to see it done. Often, it is the red states that are easiest to infiltrate and overtake because people feel as though they do not have to be concerned about such things and, therefore, let their guard down. Then there are those who lack vigilance and pay little attention to the snakes that love to nest like doves in their midst until they make their deadly strikes. See Texas and Georgia for your most prevalent examples. Now, add Alabama to that list.
The Alabama Public Library system has become a lightning rod for controversy of late. The first trigger was efforts by concerned parents and residents in the city of Prattville. In March, these citizens strongly requested that the Prattville City Council remove certain books with LGBTQ+ and gender ideology leanings from the children’s section of the library.
For the past several months, a growing number of Prattville residents have been calling for the Autauga-Prattville Public Library and the Prattville City Council to review and reconsider the books with graphic LGBTQ+ material or that focus heavily on gender. The battles are still waging between factions who want books re-categorized or removed and others who see any attempt to place age-appropriate limits on this material as “book banning.” As RedState reported, the Brave Books August 5, “See You at the Library” events scheduled at libraries in the city of Madison, AL, and Millbrook, AL, were abruptly canceled. The Madison library backtracked and allowed the event to be held, but the Millbrook event had to find another venue.
RedState also reported that The American Library Association (ALA) is behind the censorship of Brave Books and other books and public events that do not suit their diversity, equity, and inclusion agendas. The organization is just an activist arm that wants to insert LGBTQ+ and gender ideologies into all aspects of the nation’s library systems, especially children’s literature. It’s the same with socialism or any other Marxist philosophy. But conservative, traditional, and American values? The ALA has no place for that. My colleague Jeff Charles wrote:
In this report, Borysenko exposed the true mission of the ALA, which is funded by you, the taxpayer. The organization is using your hard-earned money to fund the indoctrination of your children. It would be clever if it weren’t so devious.
This revelation highlights why Drabinski censored figures like actor Kirk Cameron, a conservative Christian, by trying to blackball him from reading about traditional values to children in libraries. Authoritarians like Drabinski do not believe in the free expression of ideas. They would rather use their power to crush dissenting voices – especially from the right.
The most recent pushback against this agenda has come from concerned citizens of Dale County, which is on the opposite end of the state, near Mobile. On August 30, the community expressed its displeasure over gender and LGBTQ-oriented content potentially being in the reach and view of their children.
These battles are making enough of the local and national press that Alabama’s executive branch has chosen to get involved. On September 1, Governor Kay Ivey wrote a letter to the Director of the Alabama Public Library Service expressing her concerns.
Recent controversies surrounding books placed in the children’s section of public libraries across the country have gotten the attention of Alabama Governor Kay Ivey again. Last week, she wrote a letter to the Director of the Alabama Public Library Service to express her concerns about what children are seeing and reading. She says the book is marketed to 5 year olds, but Foley Mayor Ralph Hellmich says that book isn’t on the shelves.
In a letter from Governor Kay Ivey to the Director of the Alabama Public Library Service, the Governor says she’s concerned about what kind of environment libraries throughout the state are providing to families and children. The Governor says the root cause of her concerns stem from the exposure of youth to “inappropriate, sexually suggestive materials without the adequate means of parental supervision.” She focused on 3 libraries in the state, highlighting the Foley Public Library. She says the children’s section featured a book titled “Who Are You?: the Kid’s Guide to Gender Identity.”
“Unfortunately, what she’s referring to is kind of old news. It is not in our library shelves,” says Foley Mayor Ralph Hellmich. “It is not available.”
Note that the Foley mayor claims the books are gone from the system. Either Mayor Hellmich is lying to Gov. Ivey or someone in the city or Baldwin County made an executive decision to nip the controversy in the bud by removing the books from the public library. This is not banning. If someone truly wants that book, a local bookstore can stock it, or they can use Barnes & Noble or Amazon.com to order it. It just should not be openly accessed by children without parental guidance. So, Foley acted on behalf of its community.
However, the Prattville City Council and the Autauga County Board continually claim that it has no power over how books are chosen or categorized and that these decisions are the purview of the Autauga Board of Trustees. More on this later in the article.
I searched for the book on the shelves and in the library’s catalogue, but it was not available. Mayor Hellmich says the book was removed over a week ago. Governor Ivey says books with these topics are available in the parts of the library where children are most likely to browse.
“The concern is about ensuring that these books are placed in an appropriate location… If our children and youth are going to encounter these books at all, it should be because of a considered family decision, not the whims of a local library,” Governor Ivey wrote.
Or the whims of an activist librarian under the sway of the ALA. For reference, Foley is the Southern end of the state. Prattville is in the middle. Over the rest of the 52,420 miles that make up the state, the library battles for the minds and hearts of children are being waged.
Which brings us back to the original epicenter of Prattville. The latest attempt to address the LGBTQ+ books controversy was to have the mayor enter into a contract of services with the Autauga-Prattville Library on the condition that the library properly address the LGBTQ+ literature in question or face the risk of being defunded. On Tuesday, the Prattville City Council voted this down.
The Prattville City Council sided against a resolution Tuesday that could have changed rules for how books are handled at the Autauga-Prattville Public Library, or threatened its funding. The vote came after Gov. Kay Ivey earlier in the day released a letter expressing concern about children’s access to LGBTQ-themed books at the Autauga-Prattville Public Library and other public libraries across the state.
A group of Autauga County citizens have addressed the Autauga County Commission and Prattville City Council at each meeting since May calling for the removal of LGBTQ-themed books and what they consider books with sexually explicit themes from the children and young adults section of the library.
That led pushback from another group of residents who want the books to remain available, holding that parents should have the final say about what their children read.
The council, of course, are puppets of the ALA. They said in a statement back in May,
The board said in a statement released in May that its decision supports the American Library Association’s Bill of Rights, which states, “Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.”
Nancy C. Pack is the Director of the Alabama Public Library Service and the person to whom Gov. Ivey addressed her concerns. Pack had denied to a local news outlet that she had any hand in the attempted cancellation of the Brave Books event in Madison and the cancellation of the event in Millbrook. However, on August 3, just two days before the scheduled August 5 events, the Autauga County Library Board of Trustees had a meeting where Pack was present. Pack was recorded questioning the censorship claims made by Brave Books and other conservative voices and defending the ALA for its necessary role in maintaining openness, diversity, and, of course, that pipeline to federal funding of the library systems.
There’s a lot of misconceptions and a lot of misinformation going around now. I read where Millbrook is having a Brave World uh, Story time program in their Library. and so I called the Librarian yesterday and asked about it and she said oh, we close at three o’clock, we’re not having that, but on the internet, they’re saying that come past story time we’re having refreshments and we’re having arts and it was named in the Millbrook Public Library, and we don’t know where that false information is coming from.
Also on the internet I found out today that Madison County is having a day of Christian book storytelling and doing that, and I called them up and asked them about it. And they said no, we don’t have any programming going on. So, just to be cautious, when you do your research, you need to go back further than just the censorship issues. With the American Library Association, where would we be at the table without them talking that broadly? We probably would be ignored in our cities and our counties because they’re looking at business and industry.
Pack continued her cheerleading of the ALA and why the organization is important for the government funding of programs for autism, the blind and hearing impaired, and other special-needs populations. Pack alleged that the cities and counties are not going to fund these things and that librarians cannot just look at one aspect of book selection simply from the censorship lens.
When you look at a lot of different things, you just can’t look at one aspect, and that’s similar when we’re looking at censorship and taking books out and book selection. But that’s just my little speech here, we need to go back and do the research, and know what we’re talking about.
Pack did say this was her personal opinion; however, she herself failed to do the research. Pack could not even correctly name “Brave Books” or know what the events actually entailed. The Madison event, in particular, was all over the news and a point of contention by the time of this meeting, so this is something that Pack should have addressed with the trustees. Pack also didn’t deny that censorship probably existed, but she sees it as a small matter over the greater good of the ALA feeding federal funds into the programs the state wants and needs. Pack boasted that she had over 40 years as a librarian and claimed to know how these matters play out. However, as the Director of the Alabama Public Library Service, one would think she would be more engaged with not only what is going on in these libraries but legitimately looking into the parents’ concerns about what materials their children are being allowed to access. As my colleague Jeff Charles stated above, the ALA is taxpayer-funded, so ultimately, it should be the parents’ and citizens’ decision on how those funds should be used and the ways their children are being targeted—for good or ill.
Hopefully, Gov. Ivey’s letter has put Nancy C. Pack on notice that she is being monitored, and concerned parents and stakeholders will continue their battles in their individual counties. Perhaps, like Gov. Ivey, it is time for concerned citizens to wage battle directly with Pack and the Alabama Public Library Service, which is part of the bigger battle against the ALA and its destructive agenda.
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