Thursday, June 13, 2024

OPINION: What’s the truth about our libraries?

by SANDI BLOEM/Guest opinion
| May 14, 2023 1:00 AM

Library board candidates Plass, Hanley and their political allies are resorting to misinformation about “porn in the libraries.”

What they and their political allies are saying is simply not true.

Here's what is true.

The library has over a quarter million books in the collection. In the last year, only nine book challenges have been filed with the library. That’s 0.000036 of the entire collection. A very small group of people motivated by national special interest groups are trying to impose their personal agendas on the libraries.

The misinformation group made a list of books they don’t like, books not even in the library’s kids sections. The challengers are saying there are books that contain illegal obscenities. That isn’t true and that charge is an insult to the librarians who work hard to protect kids. Several citizens went to library branches to find out for themselves. They found no pornography. See their stories here:

Trustees Judy Meyer, Regina McCrea and the other board members listened to those comments and tried to sort out the truth from the emotion. Trustees Meyer and McCrea took the initiative and led the board to create a new policy where parents have even more control over what their kids can see and check out. There are three classes of library cards — kids, teens and adults. Parents must request a “kid” or “teen” card for their children.

Meyer and McCrea have been accused of being “groomers” and “pedophiles.” For those of you who know Judy Meyer and Regina McCrea, those labels are absurd. The trustee job is a volunteer job with enormous responsibilities focused on budgets, policy, personnel and community relations. Plass and Hanley have little to no board policy experience, acknowledge they haven’t studied the budget, and are one-issue candidates.

Now we see dark money flooding into this library campaign, breaking laws and hiding who is paying for the Plass and Hanley misinformation. Unnamed special interests have no place in local community libraries.

Meyer and McCrea are proven, caring, responsible leaders for the library. They are protecting our kids and they absolutely oppose censorship.

Judy Meyer and Regina McCrea should continue their principled and independent work as library board members.

Trust Meyer and McCrea to protect our libraries.

Sandi Bloem is a retired school teacher and former elected official.