Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Prattville Library board files motion to dismiss lawsuit

The court filing argues that the board’s replacement of the challenged policy renders the suit moot.

Autauga-Prattville Public Library
Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The Autauaga-Prattville Public Library board moved Monday to dismiss a federal lawsuit against it over a controversial policy.

The board had asked for an extension on the deadline to respond to the complaint, filed in May by patrons of the library alongside Read Freely Alabama and the Alabama Library Association.

The board voted last week to throw out the challenged policy and replace it with a policy that more closely hews to language in new requirements for state aid from the Alabama Public Library Service.

The board argues in the filing that the replacement of the challenged policy renders the lawsuit moot.

“In this lawsuit, Plaintiffs seek injunctive relief and declaratory relief from the challenged policies. Specifically, they ask the Court for an order ‘enjoining the Board from enforcing’ the challenged policies and declaring that the policies are each unconstitutional, void, and of no effect,” the board’s counsel wrote in the filing. “Having been superseded, though, the challenged policies will not be enforced, even absent any order of this Court; they are no longer in effect.”

The filing also challenges the idea that patrons have a legally protected right to check out and read materials from a public library.

“In short, then, if the Complaint is to be read as supporting standing at all, it must be read as alleging that the ‘right to check out and read’ books and other material from a public library is a ‘legally protected right,’” the motion states. “But is it?”

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

The filing recounts the policy changes made by the board, most importantly its shift toward letting the library director decide what is and isn’t appropriate. While the board created a process to challenge book removals, it specifically blocks challenges to the removal of books containing “a mature theme or themes concerning issues of sexuality, sexual orientation, sexual abuse or transgender identity.”

That rule means that if the director removes a book such as The Pronoun Book, which started the challenges in Prattville, its removal could not be challenged unless a majority of the board were to find that it does not contain “a mature theme concerning … transgender identity.”

Some currently challenged books should not be removed under exemptions for books about history, such as What was Stonewall? and What was the AIDS Crisis? However, the resolution on how to handle removal challenges does not mention these exemptions, making it unclear whether the board could restore these books if they are removed. 

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

More from APR

Local news

In addition to his payment, the board also agreed to provide a letter of reference for Foster as he seeks new employment.


The Autauga-Prattville Public Library board of trustees ended its outright ban on LGBT books Monday.

Local news

The new policy would not outright prohibit books containing LGBTQ+ content.


Minton said her focus on library books with LGBTQ content comes from a place of compassion rather than hate.