July 30, 2023
U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (FL), Kevin Cramer (ND) and Mike Braun (IN) sent a letter to Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Director Crosby Kemper on July 28th, demanding an investigation into the American Library Association's (ALA's) potential use of taxpayer dollars to silence Brave Books, a potential violation of the First Amendment, while also promoting often highly sexualized "Drag Queen Story Hours" at public libraries across the country.
It turns out the ALA has received millions in taxpayer funds over the years, including funds for "the promotion of community engagement activities around libraries" which seems to include Drag Queen Story Hour events, but for some reason it excludes events run by Christian children's book publisher, Brave Books.
Earlier in the summer, Brave Books launched a campaign called “See You At The Library” which is scheduled to take place on August 5th. The idea is for volunteers to hold story hours all across the country to teach kids about faith, hope, and love. So Brave Books called on all families who love God and who love America to gather at local public libraries to pray, sing, and read BRAVE Books and other books of virtue. Sounds like a wholesome event, right?
But in response to the Brave Books announcement, the ALA provided guidance to members on how to prevent these wholesome story hours from taking place at public libraries. The ALA accused Brave Books of censoring LGBTQIA materials, and disparaging and/or silencing LGBTQIA library users, so apparently it felt justified in giving anti-Brave Books guidance to libraries.
However, Rubio's letter pointed out that it is actually the ALA that is advancing a political agenda by hosting hotly contested events in libraries, including controversial Drag Queen Story Hours, all while taking millions in federal funds. The events often feature scantily-clad, "exotically clothed" adults who appear to have a goal of introducing sexualized topics to children.
“While disagreements pertaining to ‘Drag Queen Story Hour’ in public libraries will assuredly continue, Brave Books deserves the same opportunity to host and organize events in public libraries as other groups, including those that the ALA has taken an aggressive role promoting.”
The letter also indicates that as a recipient of federal funds, the ALA is prohibited from violating First Amendment rights, which is exactly what appears to be happening when Drag Queens and sexualized topics are condoned for children, and religious books are shunned.
“As a recipient of federal funds, the ALA is prohibited from using taxpayer dollars to violate the First Amendment. However, it appears the ALA is ignoring this prohibition for the sole purpose of silencing Brave Books while simultaneously also advocating for ‘Drag Queen Story Hour.’”
Accordingly, the Senators are calling for all current funds, as well as all considerations for new federal funds to the ALA, to be immediately halted until an investigation into the matter is completed.
Good timing for the new World Library Association to enter the scene, isn't it?
More on that later.