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

GREENVILLE — The Greenville County Library Board has voted to temporarily change the name of all book clubs in its local event directory to “book club,” leaving mixed reviews. such as “romance” or “LGBTQIA+”.

The temporary change – approved by a 9-2 vote on October 24 – will take place when the board’s operating committee meets to formulate a new policy to manage the system’s unsustainable state, including how and events supported by the library to receive arguments. problems should be encouraged. The policy allows for a review of what is considered a dispute.

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At the end of the October meeting during the new business portion of the program, board chairman Allan Hill handed out copies of the September/October issue of the library event guide to each this class member. On page 3 of the brochure, he directed their attention to the “Rainbow Book Club,” a group for people 18 and older at the Anderson Street Branch.

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“Celebrate LGBTQIA+ literature with the Rainbow Book Club, a welcoming and inclusive community of book hounds,” reads the group’s description.

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The Greenville County Public Utilities Board at its meeting October 24, 2022. Stephanie Mirah/Contributor

The fourth book club held its first meeting on Sept. 21 and his second on October 19. “Honey Girl” by Morgan Rogers and “Cemetery Boys” by Aidan Thomas were discussed. The book club will hold two meetings on November 16th and December 14th where “This Town Sleeps” by Dennis E. Staples and “Kiss Her Once for Me” by Alison will be discussed. Cochrun. Each book is in a library.

Hill said he received objections to the ad, saying it appeared the library was promoting the “Rainbow Book Club” and its LGBTQ+ content.

“It seems like the library is choosing to promote that label and that lifestyle and program that goes along with it,” Hill said.

“As we said last time, what the library considers a place is not to promote one subject over another, especially on controversial issues,” said and Hill.

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

That statement was challenged by board member Brian Aufmuth, who questioned the policy the brochure violated.

“The way the library has operated in the past, the library has not taken a position on controversial issues,” Hill responded. “We don’t need to write a written policy about this kind of thing because that’s the way it’s handled.”

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Hill read a property policy that said, “the library will not promote or endorse any religious, cultural, philosophical or political opinion.”

“We are not trying to block the books. We are not trying to ban the books. We are trying to go to an election where we have the neutrality that we have seen in the past. ,” Hill said.

After a brief discussion with some board members expressing their thoughts and feelings, Director Beverly James asked the board to guide her in editing the ad for the “Rainbow Book Club” for the November/December event guide that will be published soon. .

Board member Elizabeth Collins asked that all book clubs be called “book clubs” adding that the proposed years have a list of specific names to discuss. He added that it is temporary until a policy can be recommended by the working committee. The motion was resolved with two dissenting parties.

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

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A working committee was formed to develop a specific policy to be presented to the full board. Library committee meetings do not occur on regularly scheduled dates, so the best way to find out when the committee meets is to check the library’s website for postings, which should be at least 24 hours before a meeting.

During the October 24 meeting, the board approved a revised policy regarding public access before it. One of the most important changes is the ability for the public to make public comments during full board meetings and not during committee or specially named meetings.

This board meeting comes five months into the debate about library facilities, especially those with LGBTQ information. The incident happened at the end of June when one of the library leaders ordered the employees to remove the Pride Month displays in its 12 branches. The displays were returned immediately after the return .

Follow Stephanie Mirah on Twitter @stephaniemirah


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