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Ivey removes APLS board member who criticized threats against agency’s budget

Virginia Doyle questioned threats to rip funding away from the state agency over matters she said the board has no authority to address.

Gov. Kay Ivey at the Alabama National Guard Headquarters on May 24, 2023, in Montgomery, Ala. Governor’s Office /Hal Yeager

On Thursday, Alabama Public Library Service board member Virginia Doyle questioned threats to rip funding away from the state agency over matters she said the board has no authority to address.

Tuesday, Gov. Kay Ivey sent a letter to APLS notifying the agency of her decision to immediately remove Doyle from the board.

APR emailed Ivey’s office asking for an explanation of the sudden dismissal.

“After last week’s meeting of the Executive Board of the Alabama Public Library Service, Governor Ivey decided to remove Virginia Doyle from her position as a board member,” responded Mike Lewis, a spokesperson for Ivey. “Governor Ivey appreciates her service to the State.”

Doyle, 88, has served off and on for the APLS since the 1990s, serving as chair when the agency secured a $2 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Thursday, she questioned why the agency was having its budget threatened.

“I don’t know who got to state legislators and the governor to get them to threaten to take away our state funding, it won’t hurt me and it won’t hurt you” Doyle told District 5 board member, and ALGOP chair, John Wahl. “To take away our $1.31 per capita— they probably spend more money at a flight show in Paris than a library gets in a year’s time. If they want to cut funding, they will go home and face the people it does hurt. It affects them.”

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Doyle told APR Tuesday that she was frustrated when she made her comments during the board meeting, but said every word was true.

“The statements I made at our board meeting were all very true,” Doyle said. “I stand by those statements. Librarians work hard for very little pay on average; when I stand for them, I’m not backing down.”

Doyle said she believes her removal is part of an attempt for those challenging the agency recently to stack the board in their favor.

“It appears they’re trying to get the third vacancy so they can control the board—they’ve already got  John Wahl in their corner.”

Doyle explained that the board already has one unfilled vacancy due to a member who resigned over health concerns, and another vacancy will be created due to the state’s Congressional redistricting as board members’ districts reflect the Congressional map. 

“I think they’re going to appoint new people to the board and get everything they want. I think that’s the bottom line,” Doyle said. “They can’t speak for me, I speak for myself.”

Jacob Holmes is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected]

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