The American Library Association has consistently stood up against book bans and the pressure to remove certain books from shelves that discuss race and LGBTQ themes. The running list of works that have been deemed harmful by conservatives include Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye,” George M. Johnson’s “All Boys Aren’t Blue” and Maia Kobabe’s memoir “Gender Queer.”
However, several state libraries have decided to withdraw from the American Library Association because of the organization’s defense of banned books. Wyoming was the first state to make this drastic decision. Texas, Montana and Missouri have also announced that they will no longer be a part of the Association.
This has led to conservative lawmakers in other states like Georgia, Illinois, Pennsylvania and South Carolina to request that their state libraries be able to leave the ALA as well. Charles Butler, who works as a library board member in Wyoming’s Campbell County, explained their reason for making their exit.
“We were the first library in nation to do this. And now it has progressed to something to something I couldn’t even have imagined,” library board member Butler stated. “And all we were ever worried about was the sexualization of children.”
However, the director of the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom Deborah Caldwell-Stone, insists there are no political factors in the books they defend.
“This effort to change what libraries are, or even just take libraries away from communities, I think, is part of a larger effort to diminish the public good, to take away those information resources from individuals and really limit their opportunity to have the kinds of resources that a community hub, like a public library, provides,” Caldwell-Stone said.
Individual membership in the ALA has gone down 14% since 2018, making it around 49,700—making it the lowest since 1989. The decrease isn’t due to state libraries departing, but as a consequence of Covid. The right will continue to do minimize representation for marginalized communities—which will always be a problem for their bigoted followers.