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March 2024

Director's Search Committee Meeting

15 March 2024

Agenda HERE

Committee Members Present:

The second meeting of the library's Director Search Committee was somewhat more subdued in regards to their objectives. No more requirements for the position of director have been added, though the committee members did not share how many applications they have received to date. (My guess is zero). Instead the talk was mainly about how they would boost applications by advertising, specifically using the $1000 budget allocated for this at the last board of control meeting.

Interestingly, committee member Alan Moore, one of the deciding votes in the board's move to disaffiliate from the ALA, and the person who suggested the requirement that the candidates have MLIS degrees from ALA-accredited programs be dropped, seemed to be looking to the ALA now for guidance.

During his pitch to his fellow committee members in favor of advertising the position on LinkedIn, Moore commented, "the ALA has written a couple of articles about how it's a great resource, great networking, and they have various different training things and courses, and so...obviously I know our position towards the ALA, but also they're referencing it, so I would say on both sides of the opinions LinkedIn would probably be a good place to go."

Um, what? So now ALA is an authority on...library matters? Librarian job searches? Wow, if only someone had told them that before they voted to completely disaffiliate (and lose the ability to advertise the director's position on ALA job boards.) Oh, wait.

LPL Board of Control Monthly Meeting

18 March 2024

On the Agenda:

Reinstating the Display Ban


Agenda HERE

Post Meeting Update:

As expected, the board passed the new display ban policy over the objection, once again, of dozens of community members who came to speak out against it. The final vote was 6-0-1, with James Thomas abstaining (he did not give a reason for doing this).

Some important updates to note:

The language "In consideration of all people of Lafayette Parish, displays shall avoid political, social, or ideological topics and other topics considered to be controversial or potentially controversial." proposed by Judge was removed on amendment, as board member Alan Moore felt that it was too vague.

Board member Ella Arsement was adamant that language be included to denote content "inside or outside" the books on display. Ostensibly to keep those pesky librarians from sneaking dirty books onto displays with forbidden content but an innocuous cover.

You can find media coverage of the meeting below.

Pre-Meeting Analysis:

Remember when we said last month that we'd see the display policy come up again? That didn't take long. Black History, Women's History, Cajun & Creole History, and Pride displays were allowed for slightly more than a month before the board made plans to step in and officially ban them once again.

What's different this time? Well, in 2022, when then-Director Danny Gillane banned displays which highlighted specific "populations," as he called them, the board had not yet stepped into programming or the specifics of day-to-day policy making with regards to library content. Everyone knew the request to ban the displays had ultimately come from the board behind the scenes, but because boards don't set policy, Danny took one for the team and issued the directive himself. 

Things are different now, of course. The board set the precedent of meddling in programming when they chose the moderators for the Voting Rights discussion panels held later on that year. Now they know they can get away with running things directly, so they feel a move such as this one is perfectly within their purview. This is, of course, just one of many examples we have of the board violating the guidelines from the state library in its Trustee Handbook.

But why would they care, when there's no accountability, and the community is dismissed as a "disrespectful" nuisance?

Stand with us. Share these social media graphics, and attend the board meeting.

Copy of Black History Month.jpg
2024 Cajun & Creole Heritage.jpg
2024 Display Bans Pride.jpg
Open book is on fire, pages are engulfed in flames. Concept of censorship, prohibition of
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