CULLMAN, Ala. – The Alabama Public Library Service (APLS) Board of Diretors on Wednesday approved a resolution creating a list of books with content “people might find inappropriate for teenagers and children.”
Alabama Republican Party Chair John Wahl, who sits on the board, made the motion to create the list.
He said there were parents in attendance who read excerpts from books they found in the children’s sections in Alabama public libraries.
“Listening to those parents and hearing some of the excerpts out of some of these books really concerned me. I knew there was concerning content, but it really was horrific. And I realized immediately that there is a simple truth here, and that children do deserve to be protected from inappropriate material. We do it with movie ratings, we do it with video games. And libraries should have protections for children in the young adult children sections,” Wahl said.
“I made a motion to have APLS create an inappropriate book list that parents could submit books that they felt would contain inappropriate material, and then APLS could consolidate that list and share that with local libraries. So they would have a resource and a guide for books that could contain explicit textual content in those materials. That motion passed unanimously,” Wahl confirmed. The motion would have the APLS develop a list of books that may be unsuitable for display, create a framework where parents could submit such material and then share the findings with local libraries across the state.
Wahl wanted to make it clear that he is not interested in banning books. “We’re not talking about banning any books. We’re not talking about censorship. I’m a strong supporter of the First Amendment and for everyone’s right to speech, and I don’t want to see any book banned. But we’re not talking about banning anything. What we’re talking about is, should taxpayer money be used to fund the placement of inappropriate materials in children’s relationships? And I believe the answer to that is a clear no,” he explained.
In response to claims that the motion targeted specific groups, such as the LGBTQ community, Wahl stated that parents of all backgrounds and affiliations were concerned about explicit sexual content and that this was a broader issue, not limited to any particular community.
He clarified that the goal was not to ban books but to ensure taxpayer funds are not used to support the placement of “inappropriate” materials in children’s sections. He underscored his support for the First Amendment and the right to free speech while claiming the issue is fundamentally about responsible allocation of public resources.
“Libraries should be a safe place for our kids, and it should be a place where parents don’t have to worry about what an innocent minor might run across such an explicit material,” Wahl stated.
Wahl expressed strong concerns about the leadership of the American Library Association (ALA), particularly the current head, whom he referred to as “an open Marxist.”
“I’m deeply concerned about the leadership of the American Library Association. Marxism is diametrically opposed to the American values that I stand for,” Wahl stated.
In regards to whether or not the APLS board will be voting to withdraw from the American Library Association, Wahl said it is still waiting on an opinion from Attorney General Steve Marshall’s office.
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