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State House committee considers bill that would cut ties with country’s leading library association

Library of Congress

The State House Higher Education Committee conducted a hearing today on a bill that would impact funding for state libraries.

The Higher Education Committee heard comments on Senate Bill 390, which was approved by the Senate late last month. If passed, the bill would cut most ties between Georgia libraries and the American Library Association, or ALA. However, certain educational programs would still be able to receive accreditation from the ALA.

The bill was presented by Senator Larry Walker the Third (R-Perry). Senator Walker stated that the bill would protect library patrons from the ideology adopted by the ALA’s leadership.

“The American Library Association, which dates back to the 1800s, is a once-revered organization, and it’s been coopted by a radical group of people. The current president is a self-proclaimed Marxist, and they’re basically trying to infiltrate our libraries,” he stated.

Representative Sam Park, (D-Lawrenceville), strongly opposed the bill, claiming that it would impede the free exchange of ideas.

“I’m very concerned about this bill and in my mind it reads like its heading down the path towards censorship, which is as un-American as it gets,” he stated.

While Representative Park challenged the effects of the bill, other representatives objected to the lack of evidence supporting the bill’s premise. Representative Imani Barnes, (D-Atlanta):

“I’m asking as a scientist how much data you have collected to propose this legislation. I just heard you say there are not any [objectionable] books in your specific library but you’re making this law on behalf of your specific library, so I’m asking how much data you’ve collected from the other 156 counties in the state”

Senator Walker did not provide specific evidence, but stated that his local library board had found an objectionable book on its shelves.

After hearing testimony from a number of Georgians, the committee did not vote on the bill.

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