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Prattville Library board to consider policy changes, delaying lawsuit

The Autauga-Prattville Public Library board on Monday requested additional time to respond to a lawsuit challenging its policies.

Autauga-Prattville Public Library
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The Autauga-Prattville Public Library board on Monday requested additional time to respond to a lawsuit challenging its policies, stating that the board plans to revise the policies at a pair of meetings this month.

The board posted on May 31 that it the Policy Committee intends to meet at 4 p.m. on Monday, June 17 to consider policy changes, and the full board will meet a week later on Monday, June 24 at 4 p.m. to consider implementing the committee’s recommendations. Both meetings will take place at the library and no public comments will be allowed.

In the court filing, the board’s counsel Bryan Taylor argues that the consideration of changes to the challenged policies qualifies as a “good cause” for the court to extend the deadline for a response to the initial complaint.

“Good cause exists because an extension would promote efficiency and save the defendant, a taxpayer-funded entity, the expense of filing an unnecessary response to a complaint that is certain to be amended (if not dismissed as moot) after Defendant meets to adopt revisions to the challenged policies in a few weeks,” Taylor wrote Monday in the motion for an extension.

The motion is unopposed by the plaintiffs in the case, which include Read Freely Alabama, the Alabama Library Association and multiple adult and minor patrons of the library.

According to the board’s motion, the policy revisions are being prompted by changes to the administrative code of the Alabama Public Library Service, which now requires libraries to craft certain policies restricting “sexually explicit” content for minors in order to receive state funding.

The APLS code changes were made on May 16, the same day as the last APPL board meeting, in which the board’s attorney Laura Clark informed the board of the code changes and said that the library’s policies are already in line with what the APLS will now require.

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A discussion between chair Ray Boles and Gloria Kuykendall during a committee meeting prior to the code changes alluded to Boles working behind the scenes with state leaders and anticipated “reigning in” the Prattville policy once the state changed its code. 

During that meeting, Boles and Kuykendall both indicated that they would like to focus the policy on only prohibiting sexual content, and not targeting LGBTQ content.

The Prattville policy served as the template for the code changes proposed by new APLS board member Amy Minton, although the final version that passed omitted language prohibiting books containing “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” and instead used vague language about “other materials deemed inappropriate for children or youth.”

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

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