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Montana Library Commission Withdraws From American Library Association, Says 'Constitution Forbids Association With an Organization Led By a Marxist'

The Montana State Library has withdrawn from the American Library Association, saying that “our oath of office and resulting duty to the Constitution forbids association with an organization led by a Marxist.”

The American Library Association has been under fire from conservatives recently due to an unearthed tweet from ALA President Emily Drabinski describing herself as a “Marxist Lesbian.”

In April 2022, Drabinski tweeted, “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. I am so excited for what we will do together. Solidarity. And my mom is so proud. I love you mom.”

On Tuesday, Montana’s seven-member library commission voted to withdraw membership from the organization immediately after approximately an hour of public comment.

According to a report from the Montana Free Press, “Commissioner Tom Burnett directed that a letter be sent to the ALA explaining that ‘our oath of office and resulting duty to the Constitution forbids association with an organization led by a Marxist.'”

“Burnett was joined by five other members of the commission in supporting the motion, among them state Superintendent Elsie Arntzen,” the report continued. “Newly seated commissioner Brian Rossmann, who works as an associate professor at the Montana State University Library, cast the sole opposing vote. Commission Chair Peggy Taylor abstained.”

One of those who supported the bill was parent Cheryl Tusken, who asserted, “I think this is a really good move to send a really clear signal to our national organizations that we are not in agreement with the direction they are taking these organizations.”

Susan Gregory, director of the Bozeman Public Library, argued that Drabinski is just a figurehead for the organization and that her role is mainly ceremonial.

MFP reports, “Gregory said the ALA has been a crucial source of professional training and guidance for her and her staff, adding that in her 40 years of involvement with the association, she’s never once witnessed a program or presentation at an ALA conference centered on Marxism or on the elevation of one political ideology over another.”

Missoula Public Library Director Slaven Lee also told the outlet that he does not support the decision and that it is “not good.”

“This is undermining what public libraries represent and what they are, and that’s a disservice to the communities they serve,” Lee said.

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