The latest example of how we really just can’t have nice things anymore — libraries.
Popular conservative commentator David Burge summed up the pattern of the left’s cultural takeover fairly well in a famous tweet:
While written in 2015, this pattern is still repeating across many institutions that conservatives at one time reflexively put their trust in — the universities, the medical establishment, the military, K-12 education, the banks, and… yes, the libraries.
Recently there has been a fairly rowdy and well-deserved pushback against the institutional capture of public schools, but a quieter rebellion is also being waged against Big Library for all the same reasons.
If you’ve visited a library lately, you may have had the sense that you’d entered a radical bookshop in a Portland alley — with book displays set up in support of the latest cause and banners celebrating the current holy week (or month) on the progressive calendar.
And many tax-paying citizens are tired of seeing their money going to fund the advancement of somebody else’s political agenda.
Hushing no longer
Every kid who’s visited a library has a memory of being hushed by a librarian. But now, disgusted by what they see, people are increasingly ignoring the directive and are speaking up.
This month, a group of parents and concerned citizens in Macon County made very clear that they are tired of the political activism and sexually inappropriate material evident in their local library’s choice of books and displays.
I spoke with the library system director, Tracy Fitzmaurice — who to her credit was very polite and professional — about the parents’ concerns. Fitzmaurice, who leads the larger Fontana Regional Library System of which Macon County’s library is only a part, said that the more explicit books in question were not in the children’s section and that the citizens had not gone through the proper channels to challenge the books. There are forms that can be filled out to create a review, and only then can books be removed.
In addition to what they considered sexually explicit, the Macon County citizens were also concerned about the library’s connection to the American Library Association. Fitzmaurice has been quoted as saying the library was not connected to the ALA, but clarified to me that generally it’s the librarians that are the members, not the library itself, and that she in fact was a member of the ALA and also of it’s state affiliate, the NCLA.
And what’s wrong with that?
This is where the real outrageousness comes in. These concerned citizens and ones like them across the country are not just being difficult. The ALA is actually, like David Burge’s tweet from the beginning suggests, an imposter that killed, and is hiding behind the carcass of, the original sane institution that once existed.
Barely scratching the surface of what is likely a much more disturbing story, one can see the ALA is an openly left-wing activist organization dead set on introducing children to fringe sexual content and Marxist “critical” histories of the U.S.
The Drag Queen Story Hours (DQSH) happening across the country with the encouragement and facilitation of the ALA is one obvious example of this. For those who aren’t familiar, Drag Queen Story Hour involves men dressing up in over-the-top female clothing and reading a book, typically one about accepting men who dress in over-the-top female clothing.
These “family-friendly” drag events outside the library often get out of hand, as can be seen in an example from today below. In some of the videos of these events, children are encouraged to put dollar bills in the “performer’s” skimpy garments or perform drag for the adults. In the Triangle, most of the DQSH shows are associated with the “House of Coxx” in Durham, with performers’ names based on bad sexual plays on words like Vivica C. Coxx, Anita Coxx, Naomi Dix, etc. Again, these are shows meant for children.
On Drag Queen Story Hours, the ALA has an entire resource page with dozens of other links and tips and information. They justify this by saying, “ALA, through its actions and those of its members, is instrumental in creating a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive society. This includes a commitment to combating marginalization and underrepresentation within the communities served by libraries through increased understanding of the effects of historical exclusion.”
When the Wake County Library removed a graphic (in more than one sense) novel aimed at underage teens that showed LGBTQ sex scenes, 55 Wake librarians signed a letter demanding the book be put back on the shelves, which it was.
Much of this is framed by radical librarians (still hard not to laugh at the term) as a random effort to “ban books” by conservatives, rather than rising concern about their activism. Below, the ALA shows a chart displaying which words are most commonly used when a library is asked to remove a book. “Sexually explicit,” “Obsene,” and “Pedophilia,” are among the most frequent concerns. Are they suggesting that parents are not justified in wanting books with content on these themes to be banned from being available to children? Is there some other line that the ALA has in mind if not these? If so, what is it? If not, I guess they are just free-speech purists, even if it means giving porn to children.
Big Library doesn’t seem concerned about all censorship though, like efforts to rewrite old books (for example Roald Dahl or Dr. Suess) or to take classics of Western literature off the shelves. Their selective concern over freedom of expression is made even more clear in that, despite the friendliness to drag queens reading books that advance their worldview, actor Kirk Cameron said he was turned down by over 50 public libraries when he wanted to find somewhere to read his new children’s book. The book was a very tame Christian book about growing in the Fruits of the Spirit. What happened to diversity and inclusion?
Just to REALLY cement the fact that the ALA is laser focused on far-left activism, they recently elected as their president a self-proclaimed Marxist, Emily Drabinski, whose most cited scholarly work is called “Queering the [library] catalog.” You can also see her describe her Marxist take on libraries in this “Teaching the Radical Catalog” talk.
In an interview with Jacobin, a socialist magazine named after the genocidal psychopaths responsible for the Reign of Terror in the French Revolution, Drabinski said, “We [ALA] need a president whose public statements will be on labor’s side, that will be socialist in tone. There’s a real appetite for that right now.”
If you needed more reason to be skeptical of her, she was endorsed by Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, another radical who wants to use taxpayer money to re-educate your kids.
To summarize, the ALA has been conquered by extreme leftists intent on using the nation’s libraries and its public funding to push their agenda.
Prediction: It’s not going to work out for the ALA
Remember the National School Board Association? In 2021, they wrote a letter to President Biden saying that parents speaking out at school-board meetings over COVID policies and sexually explicit materials were domestic terrorists that should be treated as such. Soon after, more than half of the state school board associations, mostly from red states, pulled out of the NSBA in response to the letter. North Carolina was among them. The NSBA apologized for the comments and for the letter, but trust had been broken.
Increasingly, national boards and commissions that are supposed to represent all people in one industry seem impossible because there is no set of values held in common to operate from. Maybe a national library association focused on Drag Queen Story Hour and a Marxist “queering” of local library catalogues is in demand in blue cities and states, but it’s doubtful county commissions in red areas are going to tolerate it much longer.
Conservative areas like Macon County, North Carolina, are not going to be happy seeing their taxpayer money go to such nonsense. Instead, they are likely to save their money and cut ties with the American Library Association and its affiliates, like the Southeastern Library Association and the North Carolina Library Association.
Even if their library is not technically a member of these groups, are their librarians? Did those librarians have their memberships paid for with county dollars? Are the librarians attempting to implement ALA priorities like Banned Books Week, Drag Queen Story Hour, DEI, or Marxist retellings of American history? Allowing that to continue would be outrageous.