Greenville library board plans ‘neutrality’ policy, drops book club names in the meantime | Greenville News

GREENVILLE – The Greenville County Library System Board of Trustees voted to temporarily change all clubs listed in the internal events directory to “book club,” dropping any subject names such as “love” or “LGBTQIA+”.

The temporary amendment — passed by a 9-2 vote on Oct. 24 – will stop when the board of directors of the committee meets to create a new plan to control the neutrality of the system, and how and if the activities supported by the library have conflicts. issues should be raised. The process can also look at what appears to be a contradiction.

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At the end of the October meeting on the new work session, board chairman Allan Hill distributed the September/October library permit documents to each of the members. On page 3 of the pamphlet, he directed them to the “Rainbow Book Club,” a club for people 18 and over at the Anderson Road Branch.

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“Celebrate LGBTQIA+ literature with the Rainbow Book Club, a welcoming and inclusive community of librarians.” It is a library sponsored club, run by a government employee.

GCLS Board of Trustees

The Greenville County Library System Board of Trustees at its Oct. 24, 2022,. Stephanie Mirah / Staff

The four-part book group held its first meeting on Sept. 21 and the second on Oct. 19. “Honey Girl” by Morgan Rogers and “Cemetery Boys” by Aidan Thomas were discussed, respectively. The book club will have two more meetings on Nov. 16 and Dec. 14 where “Town Town Sleeps” by Dennis E. Staples and “Kiss Her Once for Me” by Alison Cochrun will be discussed, respectively. Each of the books is currently part of the library.

Hill said she received backlash from the ad, saying it appeared the library was promoting the “Rainbow Book Club” and its LGBTQ+ materials.

“It seems like the library is choosing to raise that brand with their lifestyle and what’s associated with it,” Hill said.

“As we said last time, what the library wants is to have a place that doesn’t promote any kind of agenda, especially when it comes to controversial issues,” Hill said.

Hill initially said that the use of county funds and equipment for the book club “is a departure from the previous policy that has been in place for several years.”

This statement was challenged by board member Brian Aufmuth, who asked what principles the brochure violated.

“The way the library has operated in the past is that the library has no input into the discussion,” Hill responded. “We didn’t need to have a written policy for this type of situation because that’s how it’s handled before.”

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Hill read a policy that says, “the library will not promote or oppose religious, moral, intellectual or political views or opinions.”

“We’re not trying to ban books. We’re not trying to ban books. We’re trying to find a way where we have the neutrality that we’ve always been known for,” Hill said.

After a brief discussion with several board members sharing their thoughts and ideas, Executive Director Beverly James asked the board to guide her on how to update the “Rainbow Book Club” advertisement for the November/December events guide that will be published soon. .

Board member Elizabeth Collins moved that all clubs be called “book clubs” and increase the recommended age for discussion. He said that the change will be temporary until a decision is made by the working committee. The resolution was passed by two members of the opposition.

The library will continue to support the book club formerly known as the “Rainbow Book Club.”

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The steering committee was tasked with preparing the appropriate agenda to present to the full committee. Library committee meetings are not held on scheduled dates, so the best way to find out when the committee will meet is to check the library committee website for postings, which are required at least 24 hours before the meeting.

At the meeting of Oct. 24, the council also approved a revised schedule of public appearances. One of the biggest changes is that people can make public comments at all committee meetings rather than at committee meetings or special meetings.

This board meeting comes five months into a debate about library resources, particularly those with LGBTQ content. An encouraging incident occurred at the end of June when a member of the library’s leadership told staff to remove Pride Month displays from its 12 branches. The displays were quickly restored after the refund.

Follow Stephanie Mirah on Twitter @stephaniemirah


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