Becoming Unbound: Montana Leaves Library Association Over ‘Marxist Lesbian’ Pres.

Emma Campbell | July 12, 2023
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The Montana State Library Commission voted on Tuesday to split from the American Library Association (ALA) due to concerns about the organization’s self-described “Marxist lesbian” president.

In a 5-1 vote, Montana became the first state to split from the ALA, in response to concerns over the organization’s leadership. Montana State Library Commissioner Tom Burnett suggested in June that the commission meet in July to vote on action concerning ALA membership in response to a resurfaced Tweet from the ALA’s president.

“The purpose of this letter is to announce the MSL immediate separation from the ALA. Our oath of office and resulting duty to the Constitution forbids association with an organization led by a Marxist,” the commission said in a statement.

In April 2022, City University of New York Graduate Center librarian Emily Drabinski was elected to serve as ALA president for the 2023-24 term. After being elected, Drabinski celebrated her achievement on social media, with a Tweet that has since been deleted.



“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 president-elect of ALA,” Drabinski wrote in the Tweet. “I am so excited for what we will do together. Solidarity.”

In response to the MSL Commission’s decision Tuesday, Drabinski made another post on Twitter expressing her disappointment with the action.

“That is not the Montana—or Montanans—I know,” the post read.

Libraries have become the subject of more political debate recently, as governments across the country face questions about regulating the availability of sexually explicit books and other content for children, especially in schools and libraries.  In the ALA’s statement on schools and minors’ rights, the group asserts that restricting access to certain materials or information for minors is a violation of First Amendment rights.

“The American Library Association opposes all attempts to restrict access to library services, materials, and facilities based on the age of library users,” the statement reads. “The rights of minors to retrieve, interact with, and create information posted on the Internet in schools and libraries are extensions of their First Amendment rights.”


Drabinski’s campaign platform, which the commission referenced in meeting materials, included an emphasis on “economic and racial justice for library workers…environmental sustainability, and collaboration and cooperation beyond our borders.” She asserted that policies under her leadership would focus on advancing “a public agenda that puts organizing for justice at the center of library work” and organizing “collective power” across libraries.

In a statement to the Daily Montanan, state librarian Jennie Stapp expressed her support for Montana’s split from the ALA.

“I’ve had personal conversations with her (Drabinski) about how I believe her comments are impacting libraries around the country and the relationship with the American Library Association to libraries, so I support the commission taking a stand,” Stapp said.

CatholicVote Vice President Joshua Mercer also voiced his support for the move, saying that he hoped other states would soon follow Monatana’s lead and part ways with the ALA.

Related: America’s Largest Teachers Union Recommends Sexually Explicit Book For Educators

“Blinded by their gender ideology, the ALA is actively promoting graphic pornographic books not just to adults…but to children. These materials are so nasty that it’s illegal to show what they are on TV. But these librarians want your children to have access to them,” Mercer said.


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