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Reconsider ALA Library Dues

I want to support Ellie Esler's Letter to the Editor, "Appalled by Library Committee Decision." I, and many of my friends, am also sickened by the BOCC's decision to reject the library staff's request to continue membership in the ALA.

The American Library Association is the world's largest and oldest library association. It has 64,000 members. It promotes intellectual, literacy, equality, diversity, and inclusion. In an era where school libraries are on the defense, books are banned, and the First Amendment is under attack, we need organizations like the American Library Association.

John Labriola has a significant problem with any organization that supports "equality, diversity, and inclusion." He led the unsuccessful attack on the Citrus County library system in the spring of 2022. He opposed the Library's displays of books on gay topics.

Labriola fought the renewal of the ALA membership because its leader was gay. Thirty people in the room presented themselves to represent Citrus County. Labriola has a history of pulling in people from other counties to support his homophobic agenda, so we are not sure those in attendance were from Citrus. They manipulated the Library Board to refuse the request to join the ALA. The vote was not on the agenda, so those who supported joining did not have an opportunity to speak. Labriola argues that the ALA aggressively promotes "drag queen hours" and sexually explicit LGBT materials targeting children. It doesn't.

Please look at and discover that the ALA does not "promote" Drag Queen story times or pornographic materials for children. It advocates for free speech, opposes book banning, and supports the rights of parents to decide what their kids read.

The Library Board should reconsider its vote, do the research, and then allow the public to speak before letting a small, hateful minority dictate library policy.

Thomas Mitchell


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