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Trouble in Paradise: Radicalizing Our Libraries

Trouble in Paradise: Radicalizing Our Libraries

I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.

Jorge Luis Borges

From the bookmobile that used to park weekly on our street in tiny Boonville, North Carolina to the library stacks of my college and graduate school years, libraries have always felt like a second home to me. If I drive past a library in a small town I often pull into the parking lot and go inside to take a look around. I breathe in that bookish air, wander about touching the spines of books, explore the “newly arrived” section, and savor the quietude.

Bibliothecaphile doesn’t exist as a word, but if it did, it would describe me to a T: “library lover.”

The Samuels Library here in Front Royal, Virginia is a particular delight. It offers a vestibule with five tables for sitting, eating, or working on a laptop. The children’s room is spacious, well-stocked, and kid-friendly with decorations and toys. There’s a decent collection of adult fare, lots of programs for young and old alike, and a helpful and friendly staff. The best part of my visits—and this happens frequently—occurs when I spot a family of homeschoolers staggering toward the checkout desk with cloth bags and cardboard boxes loaded to the brim with books.

Which is why the newly-elected president of the American Library Association troubles me.

Self-described “Marxist lesbian” Emily Drabinski is the American Library Association’s presidential pick, Joy Pullman writes in The Federalist. On winning the election, Drabinski posted about herself on Twitter, “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 the president-elect … I am so excited for what we will do together. Solidarity!”

According to Pullman, Drabinski posts openly “in support of sexually exposing children, union-led political strife, socialist politicians, and libraries pushing explicit and far-left material on unwilling taxpayers.” In one 2021 lecture to other librarians, she stated that “queerness includes the subversion of those kinds of normal family types,” meaning husbands, wives, and children.

Drabinski’s plans for undermining families and our culture through our libraries pinpoint the arrogance and wrongdoing of so many in power today. All too often these people assume control of an office, but instead of fulfilling their duties, they bring their own agenda to the job.

Drabinski seems tone-deaf to the unpopularity of her ideas among parents and ordinary Americans. Moreover, her election win in no way gives her a mandate for her schemes. The ALA has over 54,000 members. Drabinski won the election against one opponent with a total count of 5,410 votes, about 10 percent of the membership. That less than resounding victory would be laughable were it not for the damage she can do.

She also seems unaware that the Americans for whom she shows such scorn are the very ones footing the bill for libraries. As Pullman tells us, ALA’s members “include librarians, libraries, library graduate schools, members of library boards and associations, and library students. The vast majority of its membership fees, therefore, are provided by taxpayer funds.”

Our public libraries, our public school libraries, and most of our college and university libraries are primarily supported by taxpayers. Like my library here, they are supposed to cater to a community, not act as vehicles to bring about Marxist revolution or promote gender and critical race theory. The books of such conservative writers as Thomas Sowell, Mark Steyn, and Michelle Malkin should stand alongside the works of those progressive writers Emily Drabinski might recommend. Drabinski, like some of our other officials, has clearly forgotten that she is supposed to be working for all librarians and their patrons, not pushing Marxist ideologies.

Here’s one bit of good news. Drabinski’s public embrace of radicalism and her desire to dismantle the United States for its “capitalism, racism, and patriarchy” are indicative of a strategic shift by the far left in today’s America. Drabinski and so many others like her no longer work behind the scenes to destroy our culture, termites gnawing away in the dark on America’s foundations, but instead openly act as wrecking balls hoping to bring down the country. For those of us who love both our libraries and our liberties, the enemy is now in full view.

The American Library Association has disgraced itself by electing this person as its president. In the meantime, the rest of us can keep an eye on our libraries, and protest if and when they follow Emily Drabinski’s lead.

Image Credit: RawPixel

Jeff Minick
Jeff Minick

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  • Avatar
    April 29, 2022, 11:47 pm

    Fahrenheit 451

    • Avatar
      Maureen Shields@fkyfisher111
      April 30, 2022, 1:47 am

      I’ve been a librarian for 35 years. I dropped out of ALA decades ago because they were already losing sight of their core tenets. From working with recent library school graduates, I’d have to say that they are just as uneducated and indoctrinated as new teachers are today. No work ethic, no acknowledgement of personal responsibility, and seemingly driven solely by the desire to “make a splash.” It is beyond upsetting and depressing.

  • Avatar
    Hugh E. Brennan
    April 30, 2022, 2:30 am

    The executive director makes 270 K plus bennies, so I imagine the president gets a bit more. The pigs walk on hind legs and feed themselves very well.

    Like yourself, I haunt libraries as I travel. My wife’s territory was from Maine to New Jersey and Pittsburg to Montauk. I used to drive and while she worked I would go to the local library. The number of gems is stunning. A treasure trove of 19th and 20th-century architectural wonders. Many are well preserved. Some are a bit decrepit. A few have suffered "modernization" as practiced in the 60s through 90s. It was a practice for prominent local notables to build a library for their town. Often, they were memorials to lost wives, children, or parents.

    I have a collection of photos of these libraries. I’ll always remember how a nice young librarian in Mass. showed me her collection of antique photos of old libraries. She was glad to meet a fellow enthusiast. I’ll also remember the cranky old ladies in Concord Mass. griping

    • Avatar
      Hugh E. Brennan@Hugh E. Brennan
      April 30, 2022, 2:36 am

      at me for taking pictures of Emerson and Hawthorne. Oh well.

      Unfortunately, in some places truly grand old buildings have devolved into daytime homeless shelters.

      If anyone makes it to NYC, beyond the famous 42nd St. branch, you must visit the Morgan Library on Madison Ave. Now, that’s a slice of heaven!

      My bibliophilia morphed into bibliomania some decades past. When it comes to books, I am truly a miser.

  • Avatar
    April 30, 2022, 3:20 am

    As a child we went to the library weekly from the time we were little and I always wanted to be a librarian, but in out socio-economic circle, college was not in the game plan. I did work as a ‘library page’ aka grunt at my local library for a few years and just loved the atmosphere of the library, discovering old books I had loved, old books I had never read and watching the fresh new books come into the library. I am ashamed of what the libraries and librarians have become. I no longer use the library and I vote no when they ask for money. I am tilting at windmills, but I feel I need to stand against something that I used to love. I am building up a home library of classic books, children and adult for my great granddaughters. I can see the time when many of them are no longer available.

  • Avatar
    Margaret Owen Thorpe
    April 30, 2022, 5:10 am

    It’s not just libraries; it’s books! There is a website, bookshop.org, that represents independent booksellers and sells books online, with a percentage of its sales going to assist small, independent booksellers. I began buying my books from it as a protest against the foulness and business practices of Amazon. So far, so good, right? Ah, but one day a few weeks back, I received an email from it, joyously announcing that it was "donating" copies of the 1619 Project to a large number of schools and school districts around the US. I sent it an email, telling it that it had just lost a customer and that I would no longer purchase from it. I now either order through a local bookseller, even though it takes considerably longer to receive the book, or hold my nose and use Barnes & Noble. The nerve of whoever decided to enrich the author of 1619 and indoctrinate school children that, if they are white, they are bad!! I’ve long said the US isn’t perfect: what can you expect out of a country that was founded by neurotic religious fanatics (New England’s Puritans) and gentleman pirates (Virginia’s Cavaliers)? Sometimes, I add – "and thank God for the gentleman pirates or we’d be a lot worse off." Emily Drabinski and bookshop.org are the cultural and spiritual heirs of Oliver Cromwell, an assertion I’m sure they’d protest mightily.

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