In a memo dated Oct. 12, state librarian Nancy Pack said the Alabama Public Library Service would disaffiliate from the American Library Association in an attempt to appease lawmakers.
But that disaffiliation doesn’t prohibit local libraries from being members, which Clean Up Alabama said doesn’t go far enough.
“Removing the APLS from the ALA is a step in the right direction, but nothing in the memo required local libraries to withdraw their membership or to ensure children could not access sexual content,” the organization said in a statement Friday.
The APLS has asked Attorney General Steve Marshall for an opinion on just how much control the state agency can exert on local libraries and has yet to receive a response. Without an opinion stating otherwise, the board has been reluctant to mandate any actions by local libraries.
In Clean Up’s Friday release, they reference Pack speaking in Fairhope to a group of library advocates; the group says Pack told the audience the APLS would probably rejoin the ALA in June. APR has not yet independently verified that statement.
“It seems that Pack was insincere about even this minor attempt to correct the perversion of Alabama libraries,” the group said.
Pack’s memo came under pressure from lawmakers and elected leaders, with one portion of the memo ripped nearly verbatim from a letter Gov. Kay Ivey sent to Pack with suggested action.
Clean Up also says Pack told the Fairhope library supporters that there is nothing pornographic in the state’s libraries.
“Clean Up Alabama has shown time and time again examples of pornographic and sexually explicit content in libraries across the state,” the group argued in its release.
While some of the books challenged by Clean Up Alabama do include sexually explicit passages, most of them are clearly not pornographic, particularly when taken as a whole. Even the most sexually explicit books challenged by the group appear to fall short of pornography.
Many of the sexually explicit passages that have been read by the group at public meetings, before being cut off by officials, have been about situations of sexual assault or abuse and are intended to incite horror, not lust.
Regardless, the group is now calling on Pack to resign, or be otherwise removed. And clearly, the group has had the ear of some elected officials, plus ALGOP chair and APLS board member John Wahl.