The Association for Library Service to Children has voted to cancel its 2016 National Institute in Charlotte because it opposes North Carolina’s controversial House Bill 2.
ALSC was supposed to host the event in Charlotte Sept. 15-17. It’s pulling the plug because of HB2, which “contradicts the core values, purpose, and diversity work of ALSC and undermines civil rights and the fundamental principles upon which libraries are founded,” according to a statement this week.
North Carolina’s new measure creates a statewide nondiscrimination standard that excludes sexual orientation and gender identity. The bill is a response to Charlotte’s nondiscrimination ordinance, which would have allowed transgender people to use the bathroom that corresponds with the gender with which they identify.
“We have heard loud and clear from our members that this new law of the land in North Carolina is not compatible with ALSC’s core values, particularly those of inclusiveness and respect,” said ALSC President Andrew Medlar.
Last week, McCrory issued an executive order walking back on parts of HB2, though the bathroom part remains unchanged.
The action still doesn’t restore cities’ rights to establish local nondiscrimination ordinances that apply to the private sector, the ALSC notes.
ALSC says those registered for the 2016 event in Charlotte will receive a full refund of the registration fees without penalties, and will soon be contacted directly with more information. In place of the Charlotte Institute, the ALSC says it plans to have educational offerings both online and face to face.
At least 20 other groups have backed out of Charlotte because of concerns over the new LGBT law, Charlotte’s tourism arm says. PayPal backed out of a plan to open a global operations center in Charlotte, and performing artists such as Boston, Bruce Springsteen and Pearl Jam have all canceled their North Carolina shows because of the measure.