ATHENS — What started as an ordinary Athens-Limestone County Library Board meeting quickly turned into a chaotic back-and-forth between opposing viewpoints on library policy.

Representatives from Moms for Liberty attended the meeting along with a few members of the public and individuals identified as key organizers in the Limestone County Democrat Party.

The public comment portion began with a man who claimed any policy that included moving books to different sections of the library would be a form of censorship and that parents should watch their children more closely if they do not want them to see inappropriate or sexual material.

A mother of five responded saying it would be nearly impossible to stand over each of her children's shoulders while they roamed through the different sections of the library for their age groups.

SEE ALSO: Sexually explicit book removed from Prattville library after child on field trip was 'severely disturbed' by its content

The Limestone County Moms for Liberty spokesperson attempted to clarify that they were not advocating for books to be removed from the library but for their relocation to appropriate locations. She also said she was thankful that the Athens-Limestone County Library does not have nearly the issues seen in Huntsville, Prattville and other areas around the state.

She did ask the board why no public policy change had been voted on to ensure that their library would be safe for the years to come and under possible new leadership. She also brought up the issue that 1819 News reported last Friday about the make-up of the board of directors and the County Commission having no appointments.

Board chairman Chris Anderson said the policies posted on the library website were inaccurate and would be removed. He also noted that the County Commission's resolution to follow the posted policy was inaccurate; he said the Commission must have been confused.

Following this, another member of the public who had signed up to speak was not pleased with the Chairman's answer. She said that the county pays a large share of the operating cost with taxpayer funds, the majority of individuals who use the library are not solely citizens of Athens, and the library's charter gives the Commission two appointments. Additionally, she criticized the lack of movement on establishing a public policy regarding moving sexually explicit and inappropriate material from the kids and young adults sections.

This angered many members from the opposing side, and an argument ensued between her and the public and her and the board at times. However, once she handed out materials to the board printed from a book with extremely graphic material, the entire meeting descended into chaos for some time, with no business getting accomplished and shouting and name-calling taking over.

After approximately 28 minutes and many individuals deciding to leave, Anderson regained control of the meeting and could answer most of the woman's remaining questions. However, she and others were still displeased with his answers.

Regarding the County Commission appointing members to the board. Anderson said that he had no say in that and that it would be a decision made jointly by the City and County, but that he would not attempt to stand in the way of the county making appointments.

Additionally, Anderson said the board is looking at making juvenile-only library cards so parents can dictate what type of items the juvenile can check out. A parent or guardian must be present and sign a waiver for anything that falls outside those boundaries. This was met with groans by some in the audience who were advocating for unfettered access.

Because the Library Board and a representative for the City of Athens claimed the publicly posted policy was inaccurate, 1819 News requested a copy of the correct policy and received the same publicly posted policy with the caveat, "As explained in the meeting, the section covering the Board appointments is incorrectly stated."

What will happen next regarding the public policy and appointment issues is unclear. The County Commission has some power to get its appointments back by funding a significant part of the Library budget.

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