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Big board meeting looms for Alabama Public Library Service

The board is set to consider its blacklist, a new Senate bill regarding library boards and celebrate ousted member Virginia Doyle.

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The Alabama Public Library Service board is set to tackle several thorny issues surrounding libraries at its meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 30.

On the agenda is a discussion of its blacklist, which has now accumulated 82 titles split between the books targeted by groups like Clean Up Alabama and Christian or right-wing books apparently challenged by dissidents. The agenda specifically lays out discussion of letters sent to APLS from local author Tim Lockette and Alabama Supreme Court candidate Bryan Taylor requesting copies of the list, and Director Nancy Pack’s response letters.

The agenda includes discussing statistics from the list, as well as a survey of book challenges at Alabama libraries.

The board has also set an agenda item to honor Virginia Doyle, who Gov. Kay Ivey kicked off the board after Doyle questioned threats to the agency’s budget.

It has also been more than 90 days since the board requested an opinion from Attorney General Steve Marshall on what powers the agency has over policies of local libraries. The AG’s office typically requires a 90-day window to offer an opinion, so it is possible the board will have an answer at the meeting.

The board will also be discussing Senate Bill 10 by State Sen. Chris Elliot, R-Josephine, that would give local governing bodies the authority to boot library board members. That power is not currently uniform across the state, and Elliott said he had received questions about how to remove board members.

The board will also discuss a letter to Emily Drabinski, current president of the American Library Association. Drabinski’s comments identifying herself as a “Marxist lesbian” have been used to argue that the ALA is pushing a communist agenda on children. Pack previously stated that she would like to send a letter to Drabinski condemning her comments and the chaos they have brought upon libraries.

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The meeting will begin at 10 a.m. at the APLS office at 6030 Monticello Dr. in Montgomery.

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

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