SALINE COUNTY, Ark. – The Saline County quorum court continues discussing the possibility of giving the library authority to the county judge.
This comes after months of controversy over a new state law and resolution in the county regarding moving books found to be ‘obscene’ away from the kids section.
The court read for a second time Monday night an ordinance amendment that would revise the powers of the Saline County Library Board.
While no decision was made – public comment proved this issue is still taking center stage for citizens here in the county.
The lead organizer for the Saline County Library Alliance, Bailey Morgan, said before the meeting that this could potentially damage the county’s reputation.
“We’re still here to let them know that we’re watching we hope they won’t move forward on this amendment the overreach of their power,” Morgan said. “It’s going to openly cost us as a county I think in terms of reputation.”
Morgan said – again – the concern is that this amendment will cost the library director her job – since it would give the county judge power to hire and fire positions like hers.
The director – Patty Hector – has been outspoken about her opposition to the new law and resolution regarding relocating books.
She has told us this is a political agenda targeting books dealing with LGBTQ+ matters or race.
Meantime, the Saline County republican committee posted on Facebook that they passed a resolution in this month’s meeting requesting that the county remove Hector from the library and the three remaining democrats on the board.
The resolution states that books in the children’s section contain porn and inappropriate material… and therefore need to be relocated.
One justice of the peace, Clint Chism, spoke up after public comment on his support of the amendment and relocating books.
“I think the library does great work but why does it have to have this kind of content, sexual content for the children? I don’t understand that,” Chism said. “We’ve got laws all over this state- to me the law stands behind us.”
The amendment considered by the court also creates more accountability when it comes to finances in the library and requires reports of all finances to the judge and quorum court.
Saline County judge Matt Brumley has said in the past he didn’t have confidence in the library board and believed there needs to be more accountability for its success.
The amendment will be read a third time next month before getting a final vote.