Ada County Commissioners Punt On Meridian Library Controversy
After hundreds of Meridian residents took time out of their day to testify concerning the content of what types of books are in the library system, the Ada County Commissioners decided to punt on determining an outcome.
All three duly elected commissioners voted not to dissolve the Meridian Library District, saying that they hoped both sides would work together on that books should be available for minors.
Ada County Commissioner Rod Beck commented on their decision as reported by the Idaho Statesman. “We have this policy question that should be addressed,” Beck said. “I would ask both the library district and the petitioners to reach out and try to come to an amicable solution because I know that to dissolve the district would be overwhelmingly disruptive.”
Michael Hon from The Concerned Citizens of Meridian shared his thoughts with us:
"Although our petition initiative was not put on the ballot for the November general election, we were able to bring much attention to this issue of sexually explicit material at the library that is available to minors. The Meridian library District is a standalone taxing entity that spends taxpayer money with no accountability, except to the public.
Since they have shut down public discourse at their trustee meetings, there is no accountability at all. They can take our taxpayer money and do whatever they like with it. This is still a major issue for the Meridian taxpayer. The taxpayer has no recourse to stop the dissemination of this material to minors except for legislation at the state level that may or may not pass.
Otherwise even running for the trustee board at the library will do no good until a majority of trustees are replaced. Currently none of the trustees will admit to the issue much less admit to the existence of the sexually explicit material available to minors."
The Meridian Library District's shared their thoughts through a release:
“This is the outcome we were hoping for,” stated MLD Board of Trustees Chair Megan Larsen. The overwhelming support demonstrated by the residents of Meridian validated the need for the District. The board members, library leadership and library staff are so thankful for everyone who testified - in person or written, posted encouraging words on social media, and made public statements of support.”
This decision demonstrated the impact of the public testimony, and if people want a change, they can make it when they vote for the Trustees in the May election. That is the opportunity to make a change.”
“With this decision behind us, we can continue the work of serving the community - just as we have been doing for the past 99 years. We can move forward with the excellent programs and services staff provide and focus on the opening of the new Orchard Park Branch and the planning of the South Branch,” MLD director Nick Grove remarked.
It is unfortunate that the commissioners chose to leave the status quo in place. We understand their concern about an election, however clearly both sides cannot come to an agreement. It's troubling that the Meridian mayor has chosen a side in this case instead of trying to bring both sides together.
We'll continue to update you on this story as it develops.
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