March 20, 2023

Crawford County Library Board takes motion on ebook removing requests

After a prolonged dialogue on whether or not a library can rethink or ban a ebook, the Crawford County Library Board voted to take motion on one in every of 4 books within the library’s assortment challenged by residents throughout Tuesday’s (March 14) library board assembly in Van Buren.

The board voted unanimously to maneuver “The Final Leaves Falling” by Sarah Benwell from the younger grownup/teen part to the grownup part within the system’s libraries. The ebook’s description states {that a} teen grapples with ALS and his determination to die on this debut novel infused with Japanese poetry and the significance of friendship.

The ebook was challenged by Thomas Weitzel as a result of it offers with a young person and suicide. Weitzel mentioned the “troubling” subject material just isn’t acceptable for kids or adults. Weitzel mentioned he wouldn’t assist merely shifting the ebook to the grownup part as a result of kids might nonetheless entry it and never each youngster has dad and mom monitoring what they learn.

Gentry Wahlmeier, lawyer for the library board, cautioned board members about eradicating a ebook from the library, noting that whereas Arkansas state regulation requires libraries to have a ebook reconsideration coverage, the U.S. Supreme Courtroom says books can’t be reconsidered for his or her content material.

“So it’s a ban on ebook banning,” Wahlmeier mentioned.

The board voted to maneuver the ebook to the grownup part. Weitzel then mentioned he would withdraw his problem of “Gender Queer: A Memoir” by Maia Kobabe and the DVD of the film “Fifty Shades of Gray.”

See also  Power group launches apprenticeship program with $2 million state grant

A fourth problem, of “Change” was not voted on as a result of the one that challenged it was not current at Tuesday’s assembly.

The board was additionally set to debate altering primary standards for assessing which books are chosen for the library’s assortment, a movement which was tabled on the Jan. 10 assembly. The board once more tabled the movement. Library Board Director Tammi Hamby mentioned whereas studying by way of the coverage that sections of the coverage guide referred to different sections, so the entire guide wanted to be reviewed earlier than any revisions have been made.

The coverage revision and ebook challenges all stemmed from controversy within the library that led to the previous Crawford County Library Board Director Deidre Grzymala to resign with a $40,687.50 severance deal Feb. 21.

The controversy started in November when Hamby and her husband Dr. Jeffrey Hamby, a Van Buren household doctor, spearheaded a marketing campaign towards LBGQT+ books being out there by way of the Crawford County Library System and Grzymala’s ebook show of LBGQT+ kids’s books arrange on the Van Buren Public Library in November. Hamby was appointed to the Crawford County Library Board by Crawford County Decide Chris Keith and named the board chair after Jamie Balkman, former chair, and two different board members resigned after a contentious Quorum Courtroom assembly in December.

Eva White was appointed interim director throughout a particular known as assembly Feb. 24. White was the library director for Crawford County from 1999 to 2012 after which once more from 2013 to January 2021. She mentioned she retired through the COVID pandemic at a time when she was experiencing knee issues. She has since had two knee replacements and is “prepared to return to work.”

See also  BRTC to supply profession, technical certifications in Clay County

“We’ve heard you. Every one in every of has expressed your agenda,” White mentioned. “My agenda is to run this library as I’ve run it for years earlier than. I need this to be your library.”

A number of people attending Tuesday’s assembly expressed concern over eradicating books from the library. Some identified legal guidelines that shield books from being banned from public libraries. Some talked about the Bible and the controversial content material in it, noting it would sometime be the following ebook banned. Some mentioned that those harm by restricted assets within the library have been those that couldn’t afford to get books elsewhere.

“Take into consideration what you do. Banning books solely hurts ourselves,” mentioned Sharron Herrick.