SAA Supports ALA in Condemning the Montana State Library Commission’s Withdrawal from ALA

August 16—The Society of American Archivists stands in solidarity with the American Library Association (ALA), Emily Drabinski, faculty of the University of California Los Angeles, and others in denouncing the Montana State Library Commission (Commission) on their vote to withdraw from the ALA based on the election of Emily Drabinski as their President.

As members of ALA, Montana’s libraries have received ALA’s resources and over $218,000 in funding for 23 of their libraries. ALA is the leading organization advocating for state-level funding from the federal government through the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grants, of which Montana has realized an increase of 24% from 2019 to 2023, resulting in $1,428,817 in funds. The Montana Library Association disagrees with the Commissionʻs decision, citing this action as cutting critical training and tools for local library boards and trustees.

The Commission asserts that their oath of office and resulting duty to the Constitution forbids association with an organization led by a Marxist is the reason for the withdrawal. In consideration that Marxism is an economic philosophy, not a political platform, the Commission's action is in direct opposition to the diversity and inclusivity values of SAA. In addition, SAA denounces the homophobia expressed in the Commission’s statement. We view their actions as a dangerous precedent against respecting the diversity of opinions and experiences and all people's intellectual and individual freedoms.