This is the second blog concerning our League support for our Montrose Regional Library Board and staff.
The March 6, 2023, library board meeting was well attended, but not as large as the previous month’s library board meeting (see my 2/8/2023 Blog). Approximately 50 people were in attendance. The board again allowed for 30 minutes of public comment, 3 minutes per person. Five people spoke against LGBTQ programming and books that they feel are not appropriate to have in the library collection. Five speakers, including myself as a representative for our League, expressed support for the library board/staff decisions and were against censorship.
One other person related that she wished to make up her own mind but was unable to review the books in question because they were all checked out and some were past due. (She suggested that the library might consider some action if people do not return books they have checked out.) She also shared that when she tried to find more information about the book Flamer, she found a Wikipedia article describing how parents in Katy, TX asked their high school library to remove this book and had law enforcement review the book. Law enforcement determined that the book was appropriate for high school students, and it was restored to the school library collection.
Here is what I said in support of our Library board and staff:
The mission of the League of Women Voters is “Empowering Voters and Defending Democracy”.
We are a non-partisan organization that does not support any political party or any candidate.
We are a political organization and we do take positions on issues after study and the determination that those positions support our mission.
The League of Women Voters believes in the individual liberties guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States. The League is convinced that individual rights now protected by the Constitution should not be weakened or abridged.
The issue before the Library Board is one related to the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, which among other things, ensures the freedom of speech.
The MONTROSE REGIONAL LIBRARY DISTRICT COLLECTION DEVELOPMENT POLICY available on the library’s website states, (and I quote):
“Full, confidential, and unrestricted access to information is essential for patrons to exercise their constitutional rights. While anyone is free to select or reject materials for themselves or their own minor children, the freedom of others to read or inquire will not be restricted. Only parents and guardians have the right and responsibility to guide and direct the choices of their own minor children. The Library does not stand in the place of parents.”
“the Montrose Regional Library District will strive to offer a collection of materials that is diverse, inclusive, and protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. The Library Board of Trustees supports intellectual freedom and subscribes to the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read Statement.”
The League of Women Voters are here to show our continued support for the Montrose Regional Library board and staff and their work to champion and defend the freedom to speak, the freedom to publish, and the freedom to read, as promised by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.
We ask that you continue to abide by your own policies.
If you would like to let the Library Board and the Director know you appreciate their work and the resources they provide to our community, you can contact them via the library website http://www.montroselibrary.org/about-mrld/.
Additional information about how the Library Board and the Library operates can also be found on this website (Past Board Meeting Minutes, Board Bylaws, Strategic Plan, Code of Ethics, American Library Association Bill or Rights, DEI Policy, and other library policies.)