In Georgia, a bill to cut all ties with the American Library Association is advancing

NPR writes

Those who’ve been trying to remove certain books from childrens’ sections at public libraries are now taking aim at what they see as a source of the problem: the American Library Association.

A growing number of states and local libraries are cutting ties with the nation’s predominant library professional association, saying the ALA has become too radical. On Thursday, a bill that would go further than any other passed the Georgia state Senate in a 33-to-20 vote and now heads to the House.

Republican state Sen. Larry Walker says he sponsored the legislation after discovering his library had received a $20,000 grant from the American Library Association to diversify its collection, adding books dealing with LGBTQ and BIPOC themes. Walker says he became determined to stop what he calls that “radical” organization from being “political indoctrination centers … promoting aberrant sexual behavior and socialist anti-American rhetoric.”

“I feel this is kind of being forced on our children and kind of shoved down our throat,” Walker said. “I’m a pretty tolerant individual, but this has gone too far.”

About eight other states, including Montana, Missouri, Texas and South Carolina, have also made moves to disassociate from the ALA. Some local libraries have opted out themselves. But Walker’s more sweeping bill, the first of its kind in the nation, would force all school and public libraries in Georgia to cut ties with the library association.

Anti-ALA furor fueled by a social media post

The push against the ALA has been gaining steam ever since the group’s president, Emily Drabinski, celebrated her election to a one-year term as ALA president with a now-deleted social media post expressing excitement that the group would be led by someone like her, “a Marxist lesbian who believes that collective power is possible to build and can be wielded for a better world.”

Taylor Hawkins, with the conservative Christian lobbying group Frontline Policy Action, which helped draft and promote the Georgia legislation, points to an article by Drabinski in the academic journal The Library Quarterly a decade ago called “Queering The Catalog.”

“She discusses a strategy for queer library politics, directly injecting politics into the library,” Hawkins said. “This is an organization that cannot be trusted with influence over public libraries in the state of Georgia.”

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