MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — The debate is heating up in Manatee County over books available to the community.
While Manatee County Commissioners talked about a number of issues during the commission workshop on Tuesday, commissioners spoke at length about what kind of books should be allowed on shelves, saying they have concerns about “woke” content.
“This is a very conservative county, pretty much a very conservative state,” said Manatee County Commissioner Vanessa Baugh, who represents District 5.
Baugh said the library system is too lax on what is allowed.
“I think we just need better guidelines, more appropriateness in picking out books and so forth. And if we should be pushing anything in our libraries, it should be the Constitution,” said Commissioner Baugh.
Commissioner James Satcher, who represents District 1, floated the idea of getting rid of the library’s affiliation with the American Library Association (ALA). The ALA’s website states the nonprofit is “the oldest and largest library association in the world.”
The organization recently launched an anti-censorship campaign in response to what it calls “the unprecedented surge in local and statewide book challenges.”
“I see no reason, if we are the first library in the country to say we don’t want to be part of the ALA, and we are open to an alternative that is truly neutral that would come forward, then I would be in favor of that,” Commissioner Satcher said. “If you’re going to decide to be a political website, if you look at their website, that is what they have decided.”
During the meeting, Acting County Administrator Lee Washington said there is no problem with Manatee County Libraries, however he agreed that more workshops should be held to discuss policies.
“I would like to offer a tone of calm and assurance to the board that we don’t have a problem in our libraries,” said Washington.
Nothing was decided at the meeting.
Commissioners called for additional workshops to discuss the library system.