Press Release – July 11, 2023
Laurel, MT – On Tuesday morning, the Montana Library Commission voted 5-1 in favor of withdrawing from participation in the American Library Association. The Motion was presented by Commissioner Tom Burnett. The Commission voted in favor of the Motion on the grounds that it would be a violation of the Montana Constitution to associate with an organization with an avowed Marxist as its leader.
On April 13, 2022, the American Library Association selected Emily Drabinski as the organization’s president for the 2023-24 term of office. Emily Drabinski is a “Critical Pedagogy Librarian” at the Graduate Center for the City University of New York. According to Drabinski’s website, she is a self-described “Marxist Lesbian” who also serves as an editor for a book series entitled: Gender and Sexuality in Information Studies.
Drabinski announced her vision for the American Library Association in a press release, where she stated there was “a lot of work ahead to build collective power” to combat the “consequences of decades of unchecked climate change, class war, white supremacy, and imperialism.”
Chief Legal Counsel for the Montana Family Foundation, Derek Oestreicher, offered testimony in support of the Commission’s motion. Oestreicher stated:
While the office of the President of the ALA may have been historically “ceremonial,” it is clear that the political ideology and vision of Ms. Drabinski is being carried out by the organization as a whole. Ms. Drabinski’s vision for the ALA is entirely inconsistent with Montana values, and the Montana Family Foundation is glad that the Commission is moving to withdraw from this organization.
The Montana Library Commission is composed of seven members: Peggy Taylor of Whitefish, Tom Burnett of Bozeman, Carmen Cuthbertson of Kalispell, Tammy Hall of Bozeman, Brian Rossman of Bozeman, Robyn Scribner of Geraldine, and Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen. Commissioner Brian Rossman, who was appointed by the Commissioner of Higher Education, was the sole member to vote “no” on the motion. Commissioner Peggy Taylor abstained.