EveryLibrary Supports Plaintiffs in Autauga-Prattville Lawsuit Against Discriminatory Library Policies

EveryLibrary stands firmly with the plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the Autauga-Prattville Public Library Board of Trustees.

Filed by Read Freely Alabama, the Alabama Library Association, and a group of local families, this lawsuit addresses the board's discriminatory policies that unjustly restrict the acquisition and retention of a broad spectrum of books, particularly for minors and featuring LGBTQIA+ themes, authors, and identities.

John Chrastka, EveryLibrary Executive Director, highlights the constitutional challenges presented by these policies: "The plaintiffs have brought this lawsuit to show that the Autauga-Prattville policies broadly exclude literature that is not obscene and is constitutionally protected. By instituting blatantly discriminatory policies that directly target LGBTQ+ patrons, the library board wants to strip away the dignity of all patrons to see their stories in their library.. The board’s actions are not only constitutionally questionable but deeply damaging to the fabric of our society."

The policies in question are not only overly broad and vague but also fundamentally discriminatory, particularly against the LGBTQ+ community. Such discriminatory practices have no place in our public libraries, spaces that should follow state and federal laws about anti-discrimination, inclusivity, and equal access. By targeting books that explore sexual orientation and gender identity, these policies violate the core values of libraries and deny essential representation for the LGBTQ+ community. The actions of the Autauga-Prattville Public Library Board, in partnership with groups like Clean Up Alabama, threaten the fundamental democratic principle of the freedom to read. 

As an organization dedicated to advocating for the rights of libraries and ensuring open access to literature for all, EveryLibrary condemns these restrictive measures. We endorse the efforts of Democracy Forward to represent these courageous families and library organizations. Chrastka adds, "EveryLibrary affirms its commitment to supporting the plaintiffs in this critical lawsuit. We call on the library sector, First Amendment stakeholders, and anyone concerned with anti-discrimination to pay close attention to this case. Together, we must stand vigilant against any attempts to erode our fundamental rights and ensure that our libraries continue to serve everyone without fear or favor."

The courts must recognize the severe implications of allowing such extremist-influenced policies to persist. We call upon the court to uphold the rights of communities to access a wide array of literary works without discrimination. It is critical, now more than ever, to affirm that in our democracy, the freedom to read is not just a privilege but a right. Their fight is not just about books; it's about defending our core values as a society.

You can read the Plaintiff's complaint and other supporting materials on Democracy Forward.

Media Stories: