Which Way?


Here is information about the American Library Association [ALA], based in Chicago, Illinois, that may help determine which library association is the better. In short, it’s the Chicago Way (ALA) or Your Library, Your Way™ (WLA) based on common sense, community standards, and the law.

And WLA membership and training (coming soon) is free!

ALA Trains Librarians and Library Trustees Online and at Conferences:

  • URL: Conferences & Events; Trustee Academy
  • The Chicago Way:
    • During the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary full committee meeting 12 September 2023 called, “Book Bans: Examining How Censorship Limits Liberty and Literature,” Senator Mike Lee (at 1:46:39) introduces a video of ALA’s Director of its “Office for Intellectual Freedom” and its “Freedom to Read Foundation” (Ms. Deborah Caldwell-Stone, Esq.) training librarians to, before legislation gets written, “reframe” explicit school books as diversity and inclusion.  Watch the videos below, listen carefully to what the ALA leader is training, then listen as Senator Lee says:

Okay, so, I think what we saw here right now is someone saying the quiet part out loud, acknowledging what the goal is.  There is a goal here, and the goal is to s3xualize children, to provide minors with s3xually explicit material, and then hide this content from the parents.  Hide it by changing the messaging, avoiding the heat by saying, “no, no, these are not the droids you’re looking for, this is not about s3xually explicit content.  This is about equality!  This is about justice!  This is about what’s right and wrong.  Has nothing to do with s3x.”  Well of course that’s what someone would do if they were gr00ming your child, if someone were trying to s3xualize your child.  And make no mistake that is what’s happening.

See also: “Red States Quit Nation’s Oldest Library Group Amid Culture War Over Books,” by Hannah Natanson, Washington Post, 17 September 2023 (where WLA’s founder gets a subtitle, “They’re finally listening.”).

ALA Guides Parents in Book Selection:

ALA Advances Policy in Washington DC and States to Guide Legislators:

ALA Provides Book Challenge Support:

  • URL: Challenge Support
  • The Chicago Way:
    • <coming soon>
  • Your Library, Your Way™:
    • WLA is building this resource now.  It will be based on common sense, community standards, and the law.

ALA Provides Legal Support:

  • URL: Freedom to Read Foundation
  • The Chicago Way:
    • <coming soon>
  • Your Library, Your Way™:
    • WLA is building this resource now.  It will be based on common sense, community standards, and the law.

ALA Provides Financial Support:

  • URL: LeRoy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund
  • The Chicago Way:
    • <coming soon>
  • Your Library, Your Way™:
    • WLA is building this resource now.  It will be based on common sense, community standards, and the law.

ALA Provides Guidance on Safe Libraries:

South Carolina State Library - To: ALA

South Carolina State Library
Leesa M. Aiken, Agency Director
August 21, 2023


Tracie D. Hall, Executive Director
American Library Association
225 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1300
Chicago, IL 60601


Dear Executive Director Hall,


It is after much contemplation and with great disappointment that I write this letter to inform you that the South Carolina State Library will not be renewing our institutional membership with the American Library Association (ALA). We are a longstanding member of ALA and continue to support the foundational goals of ALA which include the Freedom to Read, Intellectual Freedom, ALA’s Code of Ethics, and associated principles. Those principles are in part, connected with my decision not to renew our membership.


As a membership organization, it should be the goal of ALA to represent the diversity of the membership and develop a deep understanding of issues facing libraries. ALA’s hyper-focus on groups of people at the exclusion of others has been problematic for libraries and has hindered their ability to engage with all members of their communities and government representatives.


ALA has become a distractor from the core mission of serving all people and has failed to develop an understanding of differences in geographic areas. Guidance which has been provided by ALA concerning book bans, and handling difficult situations locally have quite frankly been tone-deaf and show a lack of understanding of what is happening in the field. ALA’s statement that it “… is a non-partisan, non-profit membership organization that develops, promotes, and improves library and information for all” does not ring true in the current climate. ALA’s actions appear to be activism for certain groups of people and not advocacy for libraries and all of the people they serve. To be clear, the South Carolina State Library was the first State Library to have a Library Development Consultant focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion — we fully believe the library is for everyone and should be a space for all members of the community.


My concerns with ALA began several years ago when ALA discontinued the coordination of events and meetings associated with National Legislative Day, which had previously been one of the greatest benefits to states. The following year, certain “key” States were invited to participate in a Legislative Day fly-in, coordination of this event was clearly made with extremely limited knowledge by those in charge of planning. In the third year, people were arbitrarily invited from South Carolina without any notification or coordination with the State Library. This lack of action in organizing a national gathering has hurt libraries, and not helped in obtaining additional funding.


The latest publication by ALA, claiming credit for an increase in federal dollars to states lacks substance and data, and further demonstrates a lack of understanding regarding the relationships that each State Library, local library, school library, etc. has with Members of Congress. Further, the publication from ALA related to an increase in South Carolina’s funding is not only inaccurate and slanted, but it is also short-sighted. For the last four years when I have presented my State budget, I have spent at least 1/3 of my time answering questions about the actions of ALA and have been unable to focus on my actual budget requests and the amazing work that libraries are doing in South Carolina. ALA has been a significant distractor from funding in my State and I find the suggestion otherwise insulting.


Finally, the advice and action of some individuals associated with ALA for librarians to sneak materials into libraries and book their meeting rooms to avoid usage of certain groups of people is not only unprofessional, it goes against the basic principle that libraries are for everyone. Better advice to librarians in the field would be related to creating a balanced collection, developing policies that clearly outline who can reserve meeting spaces at the library, and dealing with opposing viewpoints. Libraries should be fully operating in the open to provide services to all people without a need for the above-mentioned antics.


Your organization, the national organization for libraries, has a professional obligation to provide resources that can be utilized by libraries and librarians to serve their patrons. While this can be challenging, it is possible with inclusion and diversity. My hope is that this letter, the loss of membership, and the additional voices of my colleagues in the field will create reflection and action within ALA to be guided by the mission “to provide leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.”



Leesa M. Aiken

Agency Director

STREET ADDRESS – 1500 Senate Street, Columbia, SC 29201

PHONE 803-734-8668 – FAX 803-734-8676 – WEB – EMAIL

South Carolina Department of Education - To: SC ASL

August 25, 2023

Ms. Michelle Spires
President South Carolina Association of School Librarians 

P. O. Box 2442
Columbia, SC 29202


Dear Ms. Spires:


School libraries have historically served an important purpose of providing access to much needed educational resources. The state of South Carolina’s effort to support and expand school libraries in all areas of our state dates to at least the early 1900s.


Long running efforts to provide funding and appropriate materials to school libraries demonstrate the important role they play: to provide a collection of resources aligned with the school’s curriculum to support the instructional program of the school and district. A long-held standard is that these resources be age and developmentally appropriate for the students served.


A key priority of all educators and especially librarians should be to foster strong cooperative relationships with parents to leverage their resources with a goal of maximizing student achievement. A cooperative approach among parents, administrators, teachers, school staff, businesses, and faith and community organizations is the only way we will achieve the ambitious goals we have for the students of this state.


Whether or not existing library selection and purchasing policies have properly ensured that library materials sufficiently support the instructional program of the school and are age and developmentally appropriate are valid questions for parents and all community members to ask.


District and school-level administrators as well as librarians and classroom teachers should be continually asking those questions as well. Questions, concerns, or even challenges to materials that may not meet those standards should be handled transparently, responsively, and in a way that reinforces the necessary partnership between parents and educators and builds trust in our system of public education.


Regrettably, a number of SCASL’s recent communications via its website (such as the American Library Association’s Advocacy Toolkit), in testimony regarding library “censorship” before members of the Teacher Recruitment and Retention Taskforce, and most recently in a letter sent to local school board members undermine that vital objective.


Parents are entirely justified in seeking to ensure educational materials presented to their children are age-appropriate and aligned with the overall purpose of South Carolina’s instructional program and standards. When SCASL labels those efforts as bans, censorship, or a violation of educators’ intellectual freedom, the result is a more hostile environment which does not serve the needs of students.

SCASL’s decision to send a letter to South Carolina school board members which extensively quoted politicized rhetoric from a New York school district employee who states that, “districts and boards should probably place more consideration on the emotional wellbeing of students rather than on attempts to pacify parents” actively erodes the trust and partnership we must build between parents and educators.

In South Carolina, student well-being and parental satisfaction are not opposing interests.

As a result of SCASL’s continued lack of discernment on this foundational issue, the South Carolina Department of Education will formally discontinue any partnerships with SCASL as an organization, effective immediately.

Let me stress, however, that the Department deeply values the role of school librarians and media specialists. We will therefore plan to continue to communicate with them directly, as we seek to provide ongoing professional development and support to foster an atmosphere of cooperation between our schools, parents, and the broader community.

It is my sincere hope that in the future, SCASL will come to recognize and value the role of parents in directing the content of their children’s education and cease the use of hyperbolic rhetoric that politicizes these important issues.


Ellen E. Weaver
State Superintendent of Education

Cc: Governor Henry McMaster
President Thomas Alexander, SC Senate
Speaker Murrell Smith, SC House of Representatives
Senator Greg Hembree, SC Senate Education Chair 

Representative Shannon Erickson, SC House Education Chair


PHONE: 803-734-8500 · FAX: 803-734-3389 · ED.SC.GOV


Montana Librarian - To: MT State Library Commission

From: Richard Marx <>

Sent: Thursday, July 6, 2023 12:25 PM

To: Lighthiser, Genevieve

Cc: Stapp, Jennie

Subject: [EXTERNAL] Support the motion to leave ALA

I have been involved in Montana libraries for close to a quarter century. I cannot however disclose my identity due to fear of retribution.

I have watched my profession go from honorable to shameful. Libraries all over the country and within Montana have shifted from serving communities to serving power. I am in full awareness that the reason for this shift aligns with the new ALA president’s expertise in critical pedagogy.

I noticed this change in society at large but did not begin to gain understanding until I saw the change in my co-workers who had become aggressive to the point of supporting violent acts (I have evidence of this I am not willing to share in an email). Since this change I have become fluent in critical pedagogy in order to manage and adapt to the rapidly deteriorating conditions in my workplace and surroundings.

In my studies I have learned that critical pedagogy is hatred shielded within compassion. Be it Ibram X. Kendi’s declaration of “The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination”. Herbert Marcuse’s belief that opposing beliefs of critical pedagogy should be oppressed (Repressive Tolerance) and his interest in pederasty (From Eros and Civilization: “The road to ‘higher culture’ leads through the true love of boys”). Paulo Friere’s literal religious conversion (breach of the establishment clause) to a “critical consciousness” that enables a person to see through the eyes of the oppressed (Pedagogy of the Oppressed). Queer Theory and it’s desire to destroy all things “normative” including the safety and security of children.

Which leads into the vile connection libraries have with what are called drag queens yet I am old enough and travelled enough to know these are not the drag queens of even 25 years ago.

I will offer direct quotes from the paper outlining Drag Queen Story Hour.

From: “Drag Pedagogy: The playful practice of queer imagination in early childhood. (Keenan, Lil Miss Hot Mess 2020)

“So, bring your notes and put on those glasses, everybody, because this requires reading on multiple levels.”

I start with that quote to emphasize that I am indeed reading on multiple levels. Levels that expose depravity.

“The themes within drag pedagogy, applicable beyond the context of drag itself, move away from vocabulary lessons and the token inclusion of LGBT heroes to begin to engage deeper understandings of queer cultures and envision new modes of being together.”

Having read Marcuse’s “Eros and Civilization” it’s quite clear these new modes of being together include opening possibilities for sexual access to children. Multiple levels, remember?

“By encouraging students to explore the boundaries of acceptability…”

Libraries are encouraging children to engage in unacceptable behavior with grown men as drag queens. Nothing I would have envisioned when I started in libraries.

“Drag loves to turn rejection into desire”

Desiring children.

“…drag-seeks to embrace failure and shame”

“Similarly, many campy drag aesthetics like parody and exaggeration destigmatize shame by placing the joke on society, rather than individuals, further revealing to kids that ideas of appropriateness are subject to change”

In Gender and Queer Theory “childhood innocence” is considered a social construct. Children are “sexual beings” with desires.

“It is undeniable that DQSH participated in many of those tropes of empathy, from the marketing language the programme uses to its selection of books. Much of this is strategically done in order to justify its educational value”.

Opposite of the claims of many librarians DQSH isn’t about creating empathy or offering education.

“In turn, drag queen teachers have much to learn from interactions with children: many queens reflect that DQSH allows them to build relationships with young people that otherwise would not be possible”.

The sirens should be screaming right now.

“However, following Muñoz (2009), we suggest that DQSH off a queer relationality with children that breaks from the reproductive futurity of the normative classroom and nuclear family.”

Queer futurity, as opposed to reproductive futurity, is an end to all heteronormative reproduction.

“It may be that DQSH is “family friendly”, in the sense that it is accessible and inviting to families with children, but it is less a sanitizing force than it is a preparatory introduction to alternate modes of kinship. Here, DQSH is “family friendly” in the sense of “family”as an old-school queer code to identity and connect with other queers on the street”.

Essentially, the children are bait.

“Of course, drag queens are also workers who need to make money-now-and DQSH provides a new avenue for income”.

“…we’re leaving a trail of glitter that won’t ever come out of the carpet”.

Is this the future of American libraries? Feeding children to predators and giving them money for the effort? I have witnessed this once honorable profession descend into ruin. I implore the State Commission and the State Library to sever ties with the Marxist ALA that is hellbent on destabilizing and abusing children in the hopes our local libraries follow their lead.


A Montana librarian in fear of violent, aggressive coworkers further radicalized by the ALA who are targeting children to deliver them to predators

Missouri Secretary of State - To: ALA

John R. Ashcroft



July 7. 2023

Tracie D. Hall

ALA Executive Director

225 N Michigan Ave, Suite 1300

Chicago, IL 60601




Dear Ms. Hall,


It recently came to my attention that the Director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom Deborah Caldwell-Stone gave a presentation promoting libraries to “exploit loopholes to block” a faith-based book publisher from holding story hours in libraries across the country including Missouri. The American Library Association Library Bill of Rights states in Article VI, that “Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.”


The Missouri Secretary of State’s office, which administers the Missouri State Library cannot continue to support an organization that does not protect the first amendment rights of Missourians and refuses to follow its own governing documents. Therefore, I have instructed my staff lo discontinue any future financial payments to the American Library Association. My hope is that you reconsider this blatantly political stance, abide by your own principles, and protect the rights of Missourians.




John Ashcroft

Missouri Secretary of State

600 W. Main Street • Jefferson City 65101

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