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April 2024

LPL Board of Control Monthly Meeting

15 April 2024

On the Agenda:

Revising the library Mission Statement


Agenda HERE

Post-Meeting Analysis:

There's not a ton of analysis here, other than thinking through the implications for the library.  It's important to focus on the specific wording here - to think about what was removed, what was added, and why. 

Original Mission Statement:

The Mission of the Lafayette Public Library is to enhance the quality of life of our community by providing free and equal access to high-quality, cost-effective library services that meet the needs and expectations of our diverse community for information, life-long learning, and cultural enrichment.

New Mission Statement:

The Lafayette Public Library exists to enhance the quality of life of the residents of Lafayette Parish by providing access to high-quality, cost-effective library services that meet the needs and expectations of the community and to provide opportunities for life-long learning in accordance with this community’s standards.

An organization's mission statement should reflect the values and goals of that organization, and guide the roadmap of where that organization expends energy and resources in the future. Looking at this new mission statement and comparing it to the original feels like an encapsulation of everything this system has endured over the past four years. Slowly but surely, this board has ended free and equal access to library services; publicly attacked diversity; and removed cultural celebrations. The staff has been demoralized and driven away; and those who love the library and everything it stood for have been arrested, threatened with arrest, and removed from public meetings. It has been dismantled, brick-by-brick, by those who stand against the freedoms we should all cherish as Americans.

This is how a library dies.

You can watch the meeting here:

Pre-Meeting Analysis:

Here we go again, as they say. Back in February of 2021, when Robert Judge was first appointed to the library Board of Control, his first act as a board member was to attempt to push through a revision to the library's mission statement. Specifically, Judge wanted the words "recreation" and "cultural enrichment" removed, stating that, since LCG had a recreation department, it was a waste of taxpayer dollars to spend money on such things. In particular, Judge seemed offended that the library offered things like fishing poles, musical instruments, and sewing machines, which he called "completely unnecessary." He also declared a dislike of the fact that one library branch offered charging for electric vehicles (he had this service discontinued in 2023 during his tenure as President of the board).

At the time, there were still a few reasonable people on the board, and so Judge's motion went nowhere. Now, however, since the parish council has filled out the board with like-minded members, he's bringing it back. Though the agenda is intentionally (and possibly illegally) vague on details, we do know enough of Judge's track record and interest in ending library services to know he will almost certainly demand again that "recreation" and "cultural enrichment" be removed.

He succeeded in removing library displays that highlight our amazing culture here in Acadiana, and now he wants to further gut any references to that culture from the library's mission as well. When are we, as community members and taxpayers, going to stand up and say, "ENOUGH!"

What You Can Do:

  1. Write or call the parish council. Ask the members to attend the library board meeting on Monday night, and ask that they REMOVE Robert Judge from the library board of control.

  2. Write or call the members of the library board, and ask that they NOT change the mission statement.

  3. Grab our handy dandy social media graphics below, and share them on your socials. Ask your friends to write and call as well.

  4. Attend the board meeting on Monday night. You can choose to speak, or not. Just having a full room sends the message that the community does NOT support these changes to our library.

Stand with us. DEMAND a better library.

April 2024 BoC Meeting.jpg
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