Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

State

Baldwin County children’s author suggests Prattville policies as model for local libraries

“They’ve done the work so now other local boards can follow suit,” the author wrote.

Lettering on the outside of the Prattville Public Library against a brick wall.
Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The newly constituted Prattville library board changed its policies last Thursday to include prohibiting LGBTQ content for minors, and other groups are taking notice.

Karyn Wellhousen Tunks, a member of the “Faith, Family, Freedom Coalition” Facebook group, shared an article from far-right website 1819 News detailing the library’s policy changes to the group and exclaimed, “Prattville is leading the way in making changes to the obscene materials available in local Alabama libraries!”

“They’ve done the work so now other local boards can follow suit and adopt identical or similar policies,” Tunks continued. “Let’s make this happen in Baldwin County!”

According to an Amazon.com author biography, Tunks is a professor of education at the University of South Alabama. where she teaches courses in adolescent and children’s literature, elementary language arts, and early childhood education.

Stephanie Williams, the Baldwin County resident behind the book challenges at the Foley library, commented on the post to add that she has told the Conservative Coalition (presumably of Baldwin County) to “adopt a policy based on Hannah’s work that can be proposed to Baldwin County libraries, their boards if they have such, and City Councils and Mayors.”

Williams calls the policies “Hannah’s work,” presumably in reference to Hannah Rees, executive director of Clean Up Alabama and Prattville resident. APR has no knowledge of Rees being involved in crafting Prattville’s policies—Prattville library board Chair Ray Boles told APR that the policies were prepared by the Bylaws and Policies Committee which includes Rachel Daniels and Doug Darr. Darr told APR he did not participate in crafting the policies, and instead left that to Daniels. 

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Laura Clark, hired by the board at the same meeting in which it changed the policies, confirmed to APR that she was “involved” in drafting the policies, and Boles told APR that she had been hired pro bono to assist in drafting the policies. On a Facebook comment on a story about Clark’s associations with Clean Up Alabama and Alabama Policy Institute, Prattville resident and Read Freely Alabama co-founder Angie Hayden asked Clark if she “wrote those policies with Clean Up Alabama?”

“Sorry can’t tell you that,” Clark responded. “Attorney client privilege.”

Although Clark helped draft the policies, she was not an attorney representing the board at the time.

Williams suggested that she thought it would “be helpful to find out who is interested then review Hannah’s work as the basis for BC’s model.”

She also warned that the page is “being trolled by the crowd that want to expose children to sexually explicit and inappropriate material including leftist blogs like APL.”

Read Freely Alabama said in a statement that it’s no surprise that Moms for Liberty, of which Williams is a Baldwin County member, “seeks to implement their partner Clean Up Alabama’s blueprint to impose draconian policies aimed at censoring public libraries.”

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

“In particular, Moms For Liberty calls this blueprint ‘Hannah’s plan,’ named after anti-library extremist Clean Up Alabama’s executive director and founder Hannah Mann Rees,” the group said in its statement. “Since the beginning, it was clear that Clean Up Alabama and Moms For Liberty worked in tandem to destroy the Autauga-Prattville Public Library in their quest to impose their fundamentalist religious and political viewpoint on all Alabama citizens and persecute those they disagree with.”

The group also cautioned that the end result of passing Senate Bill 10 in the Alabama Senate would result in further stacking of library boards to enact similar policies.

“We hope the House will consider Stephanie Williams’ comments, and think whether they want their town to become like Prattville,” Read Freely said. “Threats of lawsuits, negative media attention, and taxpaying constituent’s rights trampled?

“Unfortunately, the Autauga-Prattville Public Library board was successfully stacked with Clean Up Alabama sympathizers and is now in shambles due to their policies. Instead of being a model, Autauga-Prattville will now be seen as a warning for what can happen when municipalities cave to these extremist groups.”

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

More from APR

Education

The school system has completely blocked access to SORA for students while it conducts an internal review.

Legislature

HB89 would allow the Shelby County delegation of the Legislature to take over board appointments.

News

Lori Herring now works alongside librarians that her organizations has consistently painted as “groomers.”

Featured Opinion

The people you elected think you're too stupid to realize that they're not actually doing anything.