Many red states have been cutting ties with one of the United States’ oldest library organizations, the American Library Association. Florida has just joined the list of states, being the latest to have severed ties. This news comes after ongoing tension between the state and the organization. The tension stems from disagreements regarding what books should be offered in schools for students. Earlier in October, Florida made the severance official by instating a rule in which Florida public libraries are not to accept any grant activities from the organization.
Previous states that severed connections with the American Library Association have labeled it as a “toxic” group that acts as a “conduit for exposing children to pornography.” The organization has repeatedly denied any of these sorts of claims, acknowledging them as the outrageous slander they are. The comments have been made solely from Republican party names who are known for their extremely conservative views.
Other states to have cut connections include Alabama, Wyoming, Missouri, and Texas.
Some place blame on the president of the ALA for the ending the relationship between the states and the organization. The current president, Emily Drabinski was elected to the presidential seat in 2022. In a tweet that has now been deleted she seemingly referred to herself as a “Marxist lesbian.” This immediately put a target on her back, and subsequently the American Library Association’s, from conservatives.
Furthermore, tensions worsened because of a bill of rights that the association instated. This bill of rights explicitly states that they will not support the restrictions of books to children based on age. This directly calls out and opposes what several of the states that have now cut ties are trying to do, restrict access/ban books related to topics on sexuality, gender, and race. Florida has been a prominent leader in this movement. They have banned countless books that are widely known and accepted as classics in literature. But to Florida’s Governor, Ron DeSantis, these books are inappropriate and hateful.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and even The Diary of Anne Frank are among the list of banned books in Florida.
By severing ties with the American Library Association, Florida, and the other state’s political leaders, feel that they are aiding and protecting their people. Unfortunately, what actually will happen is the existing libraries will receive even less funding. This will cause the library services and selection to worsen, causing the students in the state to lose access to books and reading. This will ultimately cause education levels in the state to drop as well.