There’s a lot of heinous crap coming out of the Bronson administration right now, but at the top of the list are the alarming, and to be honest horrifying, reports about what’s been going on behind the scenes at the Anchorage Public Library.
Last year, anti-LGBTQ demagogue David Bronson appointed the charming but unqualified Sami Graham as director of the Anchorage Public Library. Graham was unqualified because, as I noted last July, she lacked a Master’s degree in Library Science from an American Library Association accredited college or university and 7 years of professional library experience.
After the Anchorage Assembly voted down her appointment, Anchorage’s Angriest Mayor announced that not only was he appointing Graham as his new chief of staff — but that Graham’s new office would be located in the library. Bronson’s announcement sent off a social media firestorm with one person commenting they felt like they were living in “bizarro world.”
Bronson, now thoroughly pissed by the realization that the Assembly wasn’t going to allow him to place unqualified individuals into positions they had no business working in, turned around and appointed quite possibly one of the most unqualified, vile, transphobic, homophobic, and bigoted of his supporters to serve as APL’s director — Judy Eledge.
I’ve written a lot about Eledge, easily in the vicinity of 13,000 words, so I’m not going to rehash every horrific thing she’s said or done, like when she called for the creation of a white group, or vomited out these other abominations:
- That Masks cause cancer
- Wrote that COVID-19 testing wasn’t needed because it was a liberal idea
- Joked about burning masks
- Wrote it was a good idea to drop a rig of hogs into crowds of Black protestors
- Suggested children who never had their asses beat were rioting
- Claimed televised hearing in Georgia proved Trump’s lies about widespread election fraud
- Wrote that two non-Christian members of Congress hated America and were “witches” —
- And posted numerous anti-LGBTQ posts, one with a Nazi swastika to her Facebook account.
Mayor Bronson, a big fan of far-right religious zealots, knew that by appointing the gender-obsessed Eledge as director, she would rip the library apart from the inside by working to censor LGBTQ material.
But Anchorage’s Angry Mayor also knew that public outrage over Eledge’s appointment would be severe. After roughly three months on the job, knowing there was no way in hell the public, much less the Assembly was going to confirm her as director, Eledge resigned from her role to avoid confirmation, and Bronson embedded her in the position of deputy director — a position Eledge wouldn’t need to be confirmed for.
At the same time, Bronson’s administration claimed they would conduct a “worldwide search” for a new library director, but most knew that assertion was, like most things to come out of his communications office, utter nonsense.
With Eledge now installed in the position of deputy director and the position of director vacant, and a supposed “worldwide search” underway for a replacement, Bronson had exactly what he wanted – a sworn enemy of the LGBTQ community in full control of the public library.
Eledge’s swath of destruction
Since November, some APL employees have said that their work climate has become increasingly toxic as a direct result of Eledge’s efforts to inject her political and personal viewpoints and those of the Bronson Administration into a public system designed to be immune of bias or improper influence.
Eledge told one employee that ‘The Atlantic’ and ‘The Economist’ magazines contained “biased content,” and that the library’s collection of material had become “unbalanced,” and that as a result, fixing this alleged non-existent problem would be hard.
Eledge has quietly removed gender inclusive books from library shelves without checking them out on her library card for her own “personal review.” Employees say this has resulted in reading material being taken out of circulation and that the removed material has sat in her library office, sometimes “for weeks.”
Much like the allegations Eledge faced during her school board run when her disturbing social media posts became a focal point of former Alaska News Source investigative reporter Daniella Rivera, one employee says they’ve heard Eledge make disturbing characterizations about certain types of individuals such as that there are only two genders, and that the brains of men and women are built differently, and nobody can change that.
Recent allegations made by patrons of the library claim that many new or near-perfect condition books that featured strong defiant females, teens challenging adult authority, LGBTQ characters, and fiction books that portray adults in a poor light have been given away for free.
Unsurprising is one APL employee’s assertion that Eledge has been overheard bragging that she can stay in her position for as long as she wants, and isn’t that exactly what Mayor Bronson wants?
The public has no idea the full scope of what’s truly happening behind the scenes at the library, nor the full impact of the damage done to APL by Eledge and the Bronson administration, but we may soon gain insight as Linda Klein, a professional librarian formerly with APL, began a GoFundMe in an effort to help cover the costs associated with a request for public documents related to the MOA and APL.
The fundraiser has exceeded its original goal of $1000, and has now raised a rather incredible $2775.
Last week, Anchorage Anchorage co-founder Andrew Gray launched a petition as an attempt to pressure Bronson to remove Eledge from her position with the APL, and while the petition will be ignored by the purveyors of hate running the city, it’s noteworthy that after roughly 48 hours, nearly 900 people have signed on to the document.
Alarmingly, Municipal Manager Amy Demboski, who cussed out Anchorage Assemblyman Christopher Constant at a Special Meeting of the Assembly in December, claims to now be running the library except that just like Graham and Eledge, she too is unqualified to do so.
The APL doesn’t have a true dedicated and qualified director because having one would mean the Bronson administration wouldn’t be able to systematically work to censor books that stand in opposition to their white, Christian, heterosexual views.
A public library collection should represent an entire community of people, not just the views of straight white so-called Christians.
Everything I’ve written on the Anchorage Public Library can be found here.