At the Georgia Senate Government Oversight Committee Meeting, Senator Walker continued to misrepresent the truth about the $20,000 grant awarded by the American Library Association to the Houston County Public Library, which he cited as the reason he submitted and sponsored the Ban ALA bill, SB 390.
Senator Walker said, “The stipulations of the grant were that the material that they could purchase with the grant, probably from the American Library Association, had to be LGBTQ material or diverse, DEI-type material.” The guidelines for the privately funded ALA COVID Library Relief Fund on the American Library Association’s Website show the key requirement for the grant was the library must have “experienced significant budget cuts” due to the pandemic that “impacted the ability of the library to serve their community.” It additionally required that the funds be used for the services proposed by the library.
There was no requirement in the grant for LGBTQ+ or DEI material. That was a local choice from a community that valued diverse and inclusive books.
Senator Walker continued, “And a good bit of it was children [sic] material.” Then later, he added there was an “intentional effort [by the American Library Association] to indoctrinate kids by bribing of funding material in the children’s section.” These statements are also untrue.
STOP Moms for Liberty confirmed with the ALA and a local source in Houston that the materials purchased, which were E-books and E-audios and not on the library’s physical shelves, were for adults and older young adults. Both sources further confirmed that the ALA did not direct the purchase of any specific material.
“This, of course, caused some outrage by some members of the local library board when they fully understood the grant, after it had already been done,” Senator Walker continued, implying HCPL library board was surprised by the contents of the proposal signed by the Library Board Chair, which was entitled, “Listen Up!: an inclusive collection of E-audios and E-books with emphasis on BIPOC and LGBTQ+ voices, characters and authors in order to provide diverse life experiences and build empathy.”
These are the facts:
- Senator Walker, through SB390, creates a scenario where the State determines which organizations are politically desirable, which are not, and with which organizations individuals may associate.
- The ALA is a necessary and proven organization for libraries and librarians that offers one-of-a-kind standards, certifications, and professional development that maintain proven excellence in libraries for which Senator Walker offers no alternative because there is none.
- The ALA encourages inclusivity in libraries so that everyone is represented and communities can explore diverse cultures, histories, political views, and ideas that would be stifled by State control over what is politically acceptable.
Part of the Progress Now network, Progress Georgia is a political digital and communications hub for the progressive movement in Georgia. Progress Georgia works to uplift the values and voices of the progressive movement across the state by keeping politicians accountable and elevating the issues that matter most to our communities. Learn more at https://progressga.org.
STOP Mom For Liberty is a focused movement comprised of relentless defenders of public education from across this nation. The organization is comprised of over 14K fierce advocates of inclusive education in public schools. We are fighting back against the far-right extremist groups like Moms for Liberty who are pushing for book banning and destroying public education. Learn more at https://stopmomsforliberty.com.