LPL Board makes policy amendments

LPL Board of Control Chair Amy Miller is pictured showing one of the six new shopping cars purchased for use by Library patrons as board members. (Photo by T. Scott Boatright)

By T. Scott Boatright

The Lincoln Parish Library Board of Control approved amendments to its Material Selection Policy while also approving an amendment to its Unattended Children’s Policy during Thursday’s monthly meeting in the Jack Beard Room of the LPL.

And they got to see some of the LPL’s newest additions, too.

The amendment to the Material Selection Policy was suggested after a review by new LPL Director Jeremy Bolom.

“Other than verbiage and wording to make it flow better, one main change I noticed was those (American Library Association) Bill of Rights segments,” Balom told the board. Freedom to Read, Freedom to View and the Bill of Rights.

“I wanted people to be sure the policy reflected that we’re not pointing those items out  to them, the official policy has the same wording as to what is in those documents.”

The other approved amendment was something Bolom found was missing from the previous version.

In attendance were just enough members to reach a quorum: Chair Amy Miller, Jan Cantebury, Bill Jones, Mary Jo Cooper and Diana Humphries. Absent were board members Sandra Dupree, Deborah Gilliam and Eric McCulloch.

“That’s the review part when something is contested,” Bolom said. “So if someone was turning in a request for reconsideration of library materials, there was nothing in the original parties that said what happens (explaining the process). 

“I wanted that spelled out in the policy so that there’s no surprise and that there’s a clear guideline for all of us to follow every time if something like that happens.”

Lincoln Parish administrator Doug Postel, seated in the audience, asked to be allowed to comment on the moves.

“I applaud you for doing this,” Postel said. “Because I find that most people in the public want two things — they want you to be transparent about what you’re doing — they want to know what the process is. And they want an opportunity for their voice to be heard.”

“It doesn’t matter which side of the issues they’re on, if they feel they have those two things, a lot of problems will be avoided. So I think y’all are doing a very, very good job with this.”

In late 2020 the LPL faced controversy after first removing books with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBTQ) content from library shelves (the books were still available to be checked out, just not displayed) before the board voted in favor of returning the contested books to library shelves.

The amendment to the Unattended Children Policy adding a few words that are italicized in the following sentence: The Library does not stand in the place of parents (in loco parentis) in any aspect associated with the library materials and services.

“I added that because that’s the same wording added to the same sentence in the Materials Selection Policy, so I just wanted to make those mirrors of each other so they would be exactly the same,” Bolom said. “I just wanted to make sure it’s the same in both places so that there is no question.”

The LPL Board of Control also voted against entering into negotiations requesting use of the LPL Events Center for a gospel concert/event that would be charging for entrance in order to pay expenses. Those proposed negotiations would have also included a request for reduced rental fees, Bolom said. 

When asked by the board, Bolom said the LPL had never granted a reduced Events Center fee despite having previously been requested.

After further talk, the board agreed that under current Events Center policy and regulations, the request could not be granted.

Bolom also showed board members one of six grocery-basket type carts the LPL has purchased for use by patrons in need.

“We do have the handheld baskets but they’re not ours, they’re just for people to use. We have a lot of older patrons that move around carrying dangerous stacks of books sometimes, so we’re trying to let them know those things are there for them to use.

“They’re also great for staff because you can also take the baskets out and it becomes a flat dolly that could have many uses in that form.”