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LATEST UPDATES

June 2024

LPL Board of Control Monthly Meeting

17 June 2024

On the Agenda:

Retroactive Minor Card Restrictions

 

Agenda

 

Want to speak on any of these items? Fill out the speaker form and turn it in at the meeting!

Post-Meeting Analysis:

No big surprises at the meeting - as usual, the board listened to public comment and then voted how they'd planned to all along. All minor cards issued before May 28, 2024 are now set to revert to most restricted status on Aug. 7 unless a parent comes into the library to sign a form allowing them access. Curious to see if, a year from now, card numbers and usage of the library has fallen.

 

A couple of interesting points, however:

  1. The board barely made quorum due to the absence of several members. James Thomas, the only member left who generally votes for freedom of access and allowing librarians to do their jobs unimpeded, has now missed three meetings in a row, and is in jeopardy of losing his seat. Is he planning to resign? 

  2. Board member Stephanie Armbruster started the meeting off with some comments regarding out-of-parish cards. Seems public comment last month was troubling her. At June's meeting, she made a point of "clarifying" that the OOP cards were not conceived as a "revenue generator." She then said she'd asked for the numbers, and since it's inception the program has raised $20,000. So - which is it?

  3. We requested, once again, that the library use its projected fund balance to reopen on Sundays, especially given the extremely hot weather and the library's history as a haven from the elements for those without access to air conditioning. President Daniel Kelly seemed interested in finding out more, but the rest of the board members present, as well as interim Director Danny Gillane, seemed skeptical.

Pre-Meeting Analysis:

As predicted, the discussion by board members last month about whether they can legally restrict ALL CURRENT minor library cards has shown up on this month's agenda as an action item.

What this means:

  1. Every single card for any patron under the age of 18 will instantly revert to the most restricted checkout tier. High school seniors, for example, will now be restricted to picture books and children's chapter books. It also means no access to computers or databases.

  2. In order to give your child access to any materials higher than this, again, including computers and databases, you will have to go to a library branch and fill out a card. Every single parent in Lafayette Parish will now have to go through this process for every child.

More issues:

  1. Children from disadvantaged homes, with parents who work multiple jobs or who may not be able to be involved in their children's lives, will be disproportionately affected by this policy.

  2. Coming in the middle of the Summer Reading program, this is going to cause chaos and confusion as to why children can no longer check out the teen non-fiction or any title in the adult section. Remember, teen fiction was integrated into the adult fiction when the board threatened to ban books three years ago.

  3. Teens working on school assignments requiring access to classic literature will no longer have access to those books.

  4. Students will no longer have access to homework help as well as the myriad of databases they use for assignments and research. Printing may also be restricted.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: these policies have nothing to do with protecting children. This board is doing everything in its power to reduce the usage numbers for LPL so that when the next millage election comes around, they and their confederates will have data to justify voting it down. When that happens, branches will close, and the NE library will be either cancelled or turned into a leased space. This is a coordinated, planned attack against our library, with the ultimate goal of shutting down the entire system.

SO WHAT CAN YOU DO?

1) Write or call the Parish Council. They are the only ones who can stop this board.

2) Show up at the meeting on Monday night. Speak your mind if you can. Fill out a card in opposition, even if you can't.

3) Share the social media graphic below, and make sure to tell everyone you know what is happening at our library.

June 2024 Board Meeting.jpg
Open book is on fire, pages are engulfed in flames. Concept of censorship, prohibition of
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