Policy Statement--Opposing simplifying removal of board members
OPPOSE ANY EFFORTS TO CHANGE EXISTING IDAHO CODE TO SIMPLIFY REMOVAL OF LIBRARY BOARD MEMBERS
Policy Statement: The Idaho Library Association supports existing Idaho Code that requires a unanimous vote of a City Council to remove municipal public library board members and that requires a recall process to remove library district board members. Libraries play a significant role in our democracy by supporting our constitutional freedom of access to information on all sides of an issue. The existing Code provides libraries with protection from individuals or groups who wish to change that role to the detriment of the community. The Association opposes any change to the Idaho Code that would simplify removal of board members, thereby potentially politicizing an agency that needs to remain free of partisan influence and/or pressures in order to adequately serve the citizens of the community.
In order for libraries to serve all of the citizens within their respective communities, and in order for citizens to be confident that their libraries provide information on all sides of any issue, it is important that libraries remain free of partisan influence and/or pressures. Individual/personal agendas of library board members, staff members, local politicians or special interest groups should not be deciding factors in the development of library materials collections or in the provision of programs and services. Majority and minority views should be represented in the library, even though some of those views may be offensive to people who hold opposing viewpoints.
The process for removal of library board members was established in order to ensure that the library is free from partisan pressures and/or influence. Changing the process to make it easier to remove a board member jeopardizes the library’s ability to remain neutral in providing information to the community and decreases the confidence of the community’s citizens in their ability to access information which they need for their daily lives.
The Idaho Library Association is confident that local library boards are able and willing to make decisions that are in the best interests of their communities at large and that local boards are willing to work with residents to ensure that the library and its services represent the community’s standards. Since at least one library board term expires each year, citizens or mayors have a guaranteed opportunity to respectively vote for or appoint new board members to replace those who have not provided satisfactory direction for the library.