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Alabama Library Association concerned about cost of implementing APLS code changes

Smaller libraries in particular may have to get creative, and spend money, to make sections for youth more distinctive from adult sections.3

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The Alabama Library Association advocacy held a series of town hall meetings last week to update librarians and the public on the new code changes coming at the Alabama Public Library Service.

During the town hall sessions, the association highlighted the cost of implementing the new policy requirements as a concern for librarians headed into the new year.

For instance, many of the smaller libraries across the state do not have designated separate spaces for minors under 18.

“There re some who have already started asking, ‘Will I need to get those rope barriers?’ Will they need to get those temporary walls to build around,” said Jessica Hayes, ALLA advocacy coordinator.

Hayes said librarians are also asking where the funding will come from to implement those changes: APLS or local city and county budgets?

The changes to the APLS administrative code will require libraries to implement new policies to be eligible for state aid.

The new code requires libraries to:

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  • Approve written guidelines that ensure library sections designated for minors under the age of 18 remain free of material containing obscenity, sexually explicit, or other material deemed inappropriate for children or youth
  • Approve written selection criteria for minors that prevents the purchase or otherwise acquiring of any material advertised for consumers under the age of 18 which contain obscenity, sexually explicit, or other material deemed inappropriate for children or youth
  • Approve written guidelines that establish library cards for minors under the age of 18 must require parental approval before a minor’s card is permitted to check out material from the library’s adult sections

Hayes said there are questions about this will impact libraries employing minors under 18, or having volunteers under 18 working in the library.

Libraries are having to redirect staff to review and relocate children’s and youth material to ensure that they are in compliance with the new code before it is implemented later this year.

In Ozark-Dale County, the library closed for four days to recatalog and relocate 1,500 books to a new “older teen” section created after Mayor Mark Blankenship had ordered the removal of all LGBTQ books from the youth sections.

Hayes said more libraries will likely have the same issues as they try to restructure to comply with the code changes.

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

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