Librarians across the country are signing a petition in support of the American Library Association (ALA) president-elect—a self-proclaimed Marxist and socialist.

In spring of 2022, Emily Drabinski tweeted she could not believe that she was elected to be the ALA’s new president after openly campaigning as a “Marxist lesbian.”

In celebration of her win, she interviewed with Red Fault, an openly socialist publication under the Austin, Texas chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).

“To start off, I want to say congratulations on your victory. It’s a huge inspiration to socialists, librarians, and socialist librarians,” began her interviewer.

Drabinski’s resume highlights her work at City University of New York as a “critical pedagogy” librarian, which is defined by scholars as a philosophy that “seeks to understand and critique the historical and sociopolitical context of schooling and to develop pedagogical practices that aim not only to change the nature of schooling, but also the wider society.”

Drabinski said she wasn’t running for ALA president as a socialist––although she is a member of the DSA––but that she was running as a kind of labor organizer. In the interview, she talked about “creating a socialist vision for public libraries.”

“I think we talked to and, crucially, listened to as many people as we could about the importance of libraries as part of what you and I might call a socialist vision, but I think could be called a progressive vision, a liberal vision. But I think it resonates with a lot of people in the way that socialist ideals do right now,” Drabinski said.

During her time as a librarian, Drabinski has pushed for “Teaching the Radical Catalog” and “Queering the Catalog,” and she also instructed the “Radical Librarianship Institute.”

The Montana Library Commission took issue with Drabinski’s promotion of Marxist and socialist activism and voted to leave the American Library Association. The Idaho Freedom Caucus has also called for their state library commission to cut ties with the ALA.

Now, librarians affiliated with the ALA and the Texas Library Association are signing a petition in support of Drabinski, stating, “Marxism is an economic philosophy, not a political platform.”

The list of librarians contains more than a thousand signatures, including those of some librarians employed by Texas A&M University and the University of Texas at Austin.

You can find the list of librarians in support of Drabinski here.

Valerie Muñoz

Valerie Muñoz is a native South Texan and student at Texas A&M University, where she studies journalism. She is passionate about delivering clear and comprehensive news to Texans.