Let’s take a peek into the American Library Association (ALA) and a few of its’ divisions that appear to be executing an end run around parents and restrictions intended to comply with laws protecting children from CRT, obscene, and age-inappropriate material. Might some say that the ALA is an operation overtly indoctrinating not only children but also librarians?
In June 2021 the Florida Department of Education banned the “teaching of the controversial topic of critical race theory [CRT]” and then in April this year the legislature prohibited the teaching of CRT in schools. Despite these actions Hillsborough County School District continues to rely on the ALA. To clear up any confusion about why Florida school districts should not be affiliating with the ALA, the title from an April 2022 article should help: “World’s Largest Library Association Picks Self-Proclaimed Marxist As President.”
The ALA explains in the document below that its’ subgroup, “The Challenges to CRT and Diversity Training Toolkit” met in September 2021 to prepare librarians for “censorship challenges to ‘critical race theory’…” with the goal of creating “a resource that will prepare library workers to defend their collections, counter falsehoods, and engage their communities in important conversations about racial injustice…”
This sounds like they are actively engaged in ways to combat opposition to CRT. So, why would a Florida school district use standards, guidance, and book lists from an organization actively supporting CRT when it has been banned in Florida?
How are books in Hillsborough County Public School (HCPS) libraries selected? HCPS responded to a record request with a document titled “Polices and Procedures for the Selection of Media Materials [sic].” Their policies and procedures are based on an ALA publication and include several ALA recommended resources (book lists) to assist in book selection. The HCPS document also provides a link to the ALA Selection Policy Toolkit.
HCPS also linked their document in Canva (that can be clicked through) with an added diagram and sticker claiming AASL / ALA “policies align with state and national standards”; so they say.
Welcome to the ALA. Here is a visual of the Toolkit referenced in HCPS “Polices [sic]”.
The toolkit describes its’ policies for selecting controversial materials here:
If you donate books such as Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie to your school library, will the library keep or dispose of them? Given the smearing of Wilder by the ALSC (Association for Library Service to Children), another division of the ALA, the total absence of Wilder’s books on frontier life in some HCPS libraries is not surprising. Here is the ALA toolkit guidance on donations:
The ALA also appears to promote “banned” book lists and encourages school librarians to create displays of “banned” books during Banned Book Week. In fact, the ALA has an entire website dedicated to Banned and Challenged Books, a website of the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom.
It is disingenuous to describe a book that violates obscenity laws for minors as “banned”. Any book that violates the obscenity law cannot be distributed in Florida public schools.
The ALA also hosts an ALA Connect website for groups like The Progressive Librarians Guild, an organization committed to “supporting activist librarians” and “providing a forum for open exchange of radical views…”
There are more ALA affiliated organizations—including the AASL (American Association of School Librarians). The AASL states they are “the only national professional membership organization focused on school librarians and the school library community.”
The AASL 2023 National Conference will be held in Tampa.
Next, is YALSA. YALSA is the Young Adult Library Services Association, also a division of the ALA. One YALSA book list is referenced in the HCPS Media Services “Polices and Procedures [sic]” document. Here is a visual of their Book & Media Lists:
YALSA recommends its “Best Fiction for Young Adults” for ages 12-18; your 12-year-old is now a “young adult.”
Here is an excerpt from the 2020 YALSA Top 10 Best Fiction list:
The ALA appears to be thumbing their nose at parental rights and parents who do not want their 12-year-olds accessing library material about sex, abortion, drug addiction, and shooting up.
Why are school librarians using standards produced by an organization that promotes age-inappropriate material be made available to their 12 year olds; including highlighting the material in jailhouse displays during banned book week?