American Library Association President: Schools Need to Be ‘Sites of Socialist Organizing’

American Library Association (ALA) President Emily Drabinski stirred controversy with her statements at the Socialism 2023 conference in Chicago. Known for identifying herself as a “Marxist lesbian,” Drabinski advocated for public schools and libraries to become “sites of socialist organizing.”

The conference also included panels on abolishing the nuclear family, developing socialist programming for children, eliminating national borders and the prison system, at least one drag show, and screening a movie called “How to Blow Up a Pipeline.”

Drabinski’s comments have not been without backlash. She has criticized what she refers to as the “Christo-fascist Right” and “angry white mob parents” who, she alleges, are against the existence of black people, Jewish people, and gay people. She recalled her personal experience of identifying as a lesbian after reading a library book about two women having “fantastic queer sex in a field” when she was around 14.

Despite these controversial statements, the ALA clarified its position, stating it does not align with, endorse, or promote the political beliefs, values, or ideologies of any one individual, including its elected leaders. The organization distanced itself from Drabinski’s views in response to her comments.

President Joe Biden’s first campaign ad accused conservatives of “banning books.” However, some parents have raised concerns about school libraries providing adolescents with titles such as Maia Kobabe’s “Gender Queer,” which contains explicit illustrations of man-boy pedophilia, or Jonathan Evison’s “Lawn Boy,” which contains a boy fondly reminiscing about performing fellatio on a grown man.

The revelation of Drabinski’s comments was made possible by an undercover recording shared on Substack by Karlyn Borysenko. Despite Drabinski’s radical views, only Montana has so far removed its library system and its tax dollars from the ALA. The Montana State Library Commission cited Drabinski’s socialism as their reason to disaffiliate with the ALA, stating that their oath of office and resulting duty to the Constitution forbids association with an organization led by a Marxist.


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Photo by Ali Cotterill, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International.

Jack McPherrin ([email protected]) is a managing editor of, research editor for The Heartland Institute, and a research fellow for Heartland's Socialism Research Center. He holds an MA in International Affairs from Loyola University-Chicago, and a dual BA in Economics and History from Boston College.