by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The South Carolina State Library has officially terminated its partnership with the American Library Association (ALA), citing the group’s alleged partisanship, according to a letter shared Sept. 26.
The ALA selected Emily Drabinski — who described herself as a “Marxist lesbian” in a since-deleted tweet — to head the group in 2022. Drabinski said she hoped to use her position at the library to examine the “consequences of decades of unchecked climate change, class war, white supremacy, and imperialism have led us here.”
“ALA has become a distractor from the core mission of serving all people and has failed to develop an understanding of differences in geographic areas,” agency director Leesa M. Aiken wrote in a letter dated Aug. 21, according to screenshots shared on Twitter. “Guidance which has been provided by ALA concerning book bans, and handling difficult situations locally have quite frankly been tone-deaf and show a lack of understanding of what is happening in the field.”
“Guidance which has been provided by ALA concerning book bans, and handling difficult situations locally have quite frankly been tone-deaf and show a lack of understanding of what is happening in the field,” she argued.
The Montana State Library (MSL) Commission voted in July to leave the ALA, writing that, “Our oath of office and resulting duty to the Constitution forbids association with an organization led by a Marxist.”
The ALA has been working to kill legislation that prohibits librarians from distributing sexually explicit materials to minors. The group has argued such laws would “impair” librarians’ ability to effectively distribute “diverse” materials to community readers. The ALA is using an “adverse library legislation tracker” to target these and other laws, including legislation that seeks to protect parents’ rights. Members of the ALA were encouraged to work with “grasstops advocates who can engage with lawmakers and influencers” to defeat such “adverse” bills.