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Georgia’s GOP-led Senate passes funding ban on American Library Association

Georgia’s Senate passed a bill Thursday that would prohibit libraries from spending public or private funds on services provided by the American Library Association. Republican members of Congress call the association a “Marxist and socialist” organization.

The bill, Senate Bill 390, passed by a vote of 33-20. Democrats objected, saying ALA provides a valuable service to libraries and has long championed free speech and artistic expression.

But Republican Sen. Larry Walker III, one of the bill’s authors, said the group’s agenda and politics are inconsistent with Georgia’s conservative values.

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“This is not an attack on libraries,” he said. “We don’t ban any books.”

Aerial photo showing the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta. (Joe Soum/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Right-wing lawmakers in other states have also moved to sever ties with ALA, in part because ALA has defended many of its controversial books with LGBTQ+ and racial themes. ALA President Emily Drabinsky’s 2022 tweet calling herself a “Marxist lesbian” has also drawn criticism.

Georgia Sen. Randy Robertson, also a Republican, said the state doesn’t need its library system “infected with Marxist and socialist organizations.”

But state Sen. Elena Parent (D) said the bill would put librarians on the “front lines of the culture wars.” Instead, she said, lawmakers should focus on improving the state’s low reading scores.

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The bill now goes to the state House of Representatives for consideration.

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