Dothan panelists raise concerns of book content at state libraries

The conversation has centered around what information is appropriate and accessible to children and young adults.
Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 10:25 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - Libraries continue to be the main topic for many parents across Alabama. It’s a conversation centered around what content is appropriate and accessible to children and young adults.

A group gathered in Dothan at Calvary Baptist Church on Tuesday to talk through some of those rising concerns.

“They are graphically displaying pornography,” Christopher Reid, host of the online radiocast The Daily Controversy, said.

The majority of event participants voiced concerns about access to LGBTQ+, sexually graphic and violent content available in young adult sections of public libraries.

“We just do not think these books are age-appropriate for children,” Reid said.

The Tuesday forum served as a rally to enact stricter rules for how public libraries should present material and the types of events they host.

“We are not trying to ban these books like they are going out of existence, we just don’t want them to be available for elementary schools to access,” Beck Gerritson, executive director of nonprofit Eagle Forum of Alabama, said.

The organization wants state lawmakers to pull Alabama out of the American Library Association. The petition on their website claims the ALA recommends LGBTQ+ themed books to libraries, saying, ‘This is not to help young people, but to groom them to accept the LGBTQ+ agenda.’

Gerritson said she plans to present the petition to the Dothan Houston County Library system. Just last month, the system addressed community concerns about this topic.

At that time, county and library leaders confirmed there was no sexually explicit content available in the children’s section. They also said censorship will not be enforced in the library as a whole, and measures are in place to give parents control over what their children can see and check out.

News4 reached out to the library about Gerritson’s specific accusations, and they released the following statement from Library Director Chris Warren:

”The Dothan Houston County Library System (DHCLS) does not collect, circulate, or display obscene materials or pornography. DHCLS has a board-approved collection development policy, which our trained, professional staff use to make thoughtful, conscientious decisions about what materials are added to the collection and how we organize it. DHCLS works tirelessly to serve our community as effectively as possible and to provide residents of Dothan and Houston County with resources and services that support early literacy and lifelong learning, encourage economic development, and enhance quality of life.”

Chris Warren - Director, Dothan Houston County Library System

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