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Plaintiffs in Prattville Library suit say new policy “doubles down”

“The wording of the policies has changed, but the board’s book banning goal remains,” said attorney Will Bardwell.

Autauga-Prattville Public Library
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The Autauaga-Prattville Public Library Board is hoping to get out of a federal lawsuit after revamping its policies last week.

But Will Bardwell, counsel for the plaintiffs, told the Alabama Reflector that the new policy is still similarly flawed.

“This case is a problem of the library board’s own making,” Bardwell said. “The board could have backed away from its extremist agenda and returned the library’s policies to the way they used to be. Instead, the board is doubling down. The wording of the policies has changed, but the board’s book banning goal remains. Until the board stops violating the First Amendment, this case will continue.”

The board officially filed a motion to dismiss the suit Monday, claiming that the issue is now moot with the changing of the policy. The motion also claims the plaintiffs lack standing because no specific books have been removed.

The new policy does not outright prohibit the selection of materials for minors that includes sexual orientation or gender identity, but an accompanying resolution supports the library director’s decision to remove such content from the collection.

The policy creates a process for patrons to challenge the removal of a book, but the resolution prohibits the board from overturning the removal of a book if the majority of the board finds that it was removed for including “matures themes” including “sexual orientation” and “transgender identity.”

Plaintiffs in the case include multiple library patrons as well as Read Freely Alabama and the Alabama Library Association.

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The plaintiffs are being represented by counsel from the nonprofit organization Democracy Forward. Counsel declined Wednesday to make further comment on the case.

 

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

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