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Manatee County Libraries to End Association with ALA


BRADENTON — At Tuesday's meeting, Manatee County Commissioners voted 6-0 to end ties between the American Library Association and the Manatee County Library System. Commissioner James Satcher cited "woke ideology" when he made the motion during the commissioner comments portion of the meeting.

"They've elected a person and have stuck with them as their president, that, these are quotes, 'The consequences of decades of unchecked climate change, class war, white supremacy, and imperialism have led us here. If we want a world that includes public goods like the library, we must organize our collective power and wield it.' That's what she said after elected and more, you know, things, she publicly says she's a Marxist and that does not align with Manatee County taxpayers or this board. So, I'd like to dissolve that relationship and, if at such time, we want to review it because they make a u-turn, that'd be great, but I don't support, I don't believe we should support any type of associations that are pushing woke ideology under the guise of, you know, public good, when all it does is harm people."

The American Library Association is a nonprofit organization that promotes libraries and library education internationally. It is the world's oldest and largest library association, with 49,705 members as of 2022.

Emily Drabinski was voted president-elect of the ALA in April 2022, when American libraries faced a record number of book ban attempts, with most of the challenged materials having LGBTQ themes. In a now-deleted tweet, Drabinski wrote, "I just cannot believe that a Marxist lesbian who believes that collective power is possible to build and can be wielded for a better world is the president-elect of @ALALibrary."

Tammy Parrott, Manatee County Library Services Manager, was in the audience and was asked by Commission Chair Mike Rahn if she would like to weigh in.

Parrott said that the library system pays the organization around $2,500 a year in membership dues, giving the county's libraries access to training programs and discounted materials. She confirmed that the current year's membership expires at the end of May. When asked if she had planned to renew the membership, Parrott said she would take the matter to the library advisory board for input before making a decision.

"As you say, our current president has made some statements that reflect, I think, her personal views, rather than a professional, non-partisan view," Parrot acknowledged. "You know, we've all belonged to organizations that we don't necessarily agree with the path the entire organization is taking, and again, she has a volunteer role, and her term will expire May 31 as well."

Commissioner George Kruse pointed out that the board was making a decision before the advisory board it appointed had an opportunity to weigh in and suggested that might be indicative as to why the county often finds it difficult to secure applicants for such volunteer roles on advisory boards.

During citizen comments, Shannon Keever called the idea that educated library professionals would find themselves "indoctrinated" from a weekend seminar insulting.

"You're acting like these are little children who are going to go off and not be able to think for themselves," said Keever. "That's ridiculous."

"It's very concerning to me that you are talking about leaving the American Library Association based on a president that you don't like who is going to be leaving at the same time that our library association membership is going to be ending," added Keever, who said she felt this was more about the ideology of the commissioners than concern for residents of Manatee County.

The motion passed by commissioners calls for the county to direct staff not to attend any ALA-hosted conferences, not renew the county's membership, and withdraw immediately from the organization until such time that the board is confident that the ALA is no longer "pushing a woke agenda."


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  • kmskepton

    When was the last time any of these clowns went to the library? Let alone, read a book?

    Wednesday, January 10 Report this

  • attybarber

    If you have a differing view from us, we must hate and punish you. How noble... Vote.

    Wednesday, January 10 Report this

  • joni.corcoran

    These people need to be voted out!

    Wednesday, January 10 Report this

  • elizabeth.brown.cpa

    A prime example of the trend of many of our "citizens" and I use that term advisedly, to become totally fascistic in all things. No disturbing truths in history, no acceptance of anyone or anything that do not conform to their extremely insular beliefs, no acceptance of any "god" or no "god" except their own, and extreme control of women. It is scary and our REAL citizens need to double check their voter registrations and vote, vote, vote!

    Wednesday, January 10 Report this

  • WTF

    If you listen to George Kruse he is only one that makes any sense. The gang of 6 doesn’t respect the library staff to make logical decisions concerning the books they order. What a slap in the face to highly train personal within our library system.

    Next they will probably ban Palto that stated:

    “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”

    Plato was a Greek philosopher known for his writings on pretty much every topic. He was a follower of Socrates, and it is through Plato’s books that we remember him.

    Here, he states “what every person who can’t imagine why anybody would ever vote for “that idiot” has always known to be true”

    Wednesday, January 10 Report this

  • san.gander

    These County Commissioners would love to sell the Central Library property to a private developer. As everyone knows, in real estate value is "location, location, location"; and since the Central Library sits on prime riverfront property it could be sold for a nice sum.... the public doesn't need the view anyway, but the county could use the money. The same thing is happening in the City of Bradenton to the "New City Hall". Who in h-ll allowed that to go on prime real estate, when the property is too valuable for public use... privatize the entire waterfront! Build hotels, highrise $$ condos, private 'walled off from the public' gardens and walks - taxable of course, so the wealthy can enjoy the waterfront. Sure, save a bit for a public park, but not to much so as not to disrupt the neighbors.

    Wednesday, January 10 Report this

  • jimandlope

    I wonder what the advisory board would have said? Wait, doesn’t an advisory board advise first and then a decision is made.? Maybe the advisory board is too “woke” also? In truth if you accept the Commissions definition of “woke,” all libraries are woke because they are not supposed to limit materials for people to read and by definition allow reading for all. It would seem our Manatee Commission is the “woke” party here or at least try to be. James F Tierney reader of all materials!

    Wednesday, January 10 Report this

  • Dianna

    I find it insulting to citizens that Commissioner Satcher’s ALA item had no background information, yet he has brought the ALA topic up at commissioner meetings multiple times (compare it with Commissioner Kruse’s items). He gave no dates of previous discussion, nor did he provide any information on how the removal would benefit the citizens. Commissioner Satcher did not request or include written information from staff as to what actual “power” the volunteer elected president of the ALA has over the organization. The background did not include that the main resource for our librarians appears to be the PLA (Public Library Association) which from my understanding is under the ALA organizational umbrella. Satcher did not request or provide any statistical information from staff on what services, discounts, conferences that our library receives by being a member of ALA- PLA , how many and what types of conferences our employees attend and the benefits they gain by attending, and how much money being a member saves the taxpayers from reduced cost in printing and attending conferences, many which appear to be literacy based. This would have provided the public with more information and the commissioners enough information to make a better decision. Satcher stated that “it harmed people” yet provided no proof. He also provided no proof that this removal will benefit the citizens in any way. We have professionals on staff, yet we never ask for their expertise or presentations for the public’s benefit. When they are provided, the commissioners do not listen to them. This is insulting to the public because they are no longer a part of the conversation, their comments are ignored, and commissioners regularly disregard staff’s expertise on subject matters they know nothing about while at the same time commissioners do nothing to educate themselves or the pubic on the subjects. The public commentor was awesome!

    Wednesday, January 10 Report this

  • rayfusco68

    Webster definition of "Woke"

    aware of and actively attentive to important societal facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice)

    If you are anti "Woke" I guess that means you against the understanding of societal FACTS and issues, Keep the public ignorant and manipulated sounds pretty fascist to me. Hide the truth and propagate the big lie.

    Wednesday, January 10 Report this

  • katherng23

    I've seen Ms. Ballard at the Library Advisory Boards. Not sure she really understands how a library works as she calls the patrons "customers" and speaks of the books on loan as "rented".

    Wednesday, January 10 Report this

  • Dave

    Every now and then I think that George Kruse may be the first Republican I'll vote for since President Ford. Then he goes all wishy washy on stupid stuff the commissioners do. "Gee whiz, let's wait for for the advisory board to weigh in before we ignore them. Maybe we can con more people into thinking that anything they say has any influence on the stuff we do."

    Wednesday, January 10 Report this

  • Cat L

    "Woke" is a trigger word that's been programmed in to a percentage of the population as a distraction or a deterrent to people looking at the information they want to hide. Anyone seriously using that term, is a PAWN.

    Also, this is a great example of why people are leaving organized religion. Some of it is actually quit evil. Hate is "the Devils work," Satcher. (and Ballard) Sometimes it's the worst people, shouting the loudest about what is "good."

    Thursday, January 11 Report this

  • rjckeuka4

    Stupid is as stupid does!!! It's on both sides of this one. The leader of a National Association referring to herself as a Marxist lesbian is about as stupid as it gets! One who serves in such a role, as I did with a similar association in the 80's, should understand the ramifications of such an incendiary statement on the Association he/she serves. And understand as well, that it will only ignite the latent stupidity at the other extreme, in our case the person of our self-righteous Commissioner, the Reverend Satcher, the self-appointed "moral compass" [sic] of the County who wants a gun in every hand! When are we going to come to our senses and jettison these MAGA devils from being in the position to oversee 2000 employees and a 1-billion-dollar budget? The other day I had the occasion to encounter two County employees. I never asked their names, but I queried them about the "state of the County" from their perspective. I reckoned that KVO, Hopes, et. al. had destroyed the County. They concurred indicating morale among County employees has never been so low. Get out and VOTE...or we can continue use the word STUPID every day in reference to our Commission!! Richard Correnti

    Thursday, January 11 Report this