According to information shared with 1819 News and policies published online, the Athens-Limestone County Public Library, the only public library in the county, has not been operating by its publicly available policies for some time. This has caused confusion not only among those working to see policy changes once the state publishes its guidance on adult and sexually explicit material but also within the two government entities that are supposed to be running the library.

The policy states, "The Athens Public Library Board of Trustees consists of five members, with three to be appointed by the City of Athens, and two to be appointed by Limestone County. Board members serve four-year terms. No trustee may serve more than two consecutive terms at one time. Absence from four consecutive meetings shall be considered a vacation of the appointment, and the appropriate governing body shall be informed of the vacancy to be filled at its next regular meeting. Members of the Board of Trustees shall serve without compensation."

Currently, all members of the library board have been appointed by the city, and board members Chris Anderson and Frank McCollum have served past their two-term limit.

Athens-Limestone Public Library Policy by bradley.cox on Scribd

As the spotlight has begun to shine on the issues surrounding libraries across Alabama, the Limestone County Commission appears to have realized they may have problems in their library and passed a resolution in January to attempt to rectify any issues.

The resolution stated that the commission supports the governor's proposals for improving Alabama library systems and recognizes the need for the library to support parents who want to shield their children from content they deem inappropriate while also ensuring that books are not banned because they are unpopular.

In addition, it said the library should adopt new policies in a public meeting, which would facilitate better parental supervision, address the physical location of and relocation of material inappropriate for youth, and clarify that limiting children's access to adult material does not constitute "censorship."

In its resolution, the commission also states that it wants to adhere to the currently posted policy, including board member appointments and term limits.

The County Commission passed its resolution on January 22, and the Athens-Limestone County Library Board met on January 31, but none of the above issues were discussed. They have not met since.

Additionally, according to individuals who spoke with 1819 News, the City of Athens did not take this resolution seriously. At a February City Council meeting, City Attorney Shane Black and Mayor Ronnie Marks stated that public posted policy is out of date, there are no term limits for library board members, the City Council appoints all board members, and they could not provide what policy the City of Athens, Library Board and County Commission were operating on.

1819 News requested the new policy, resolutions between the city and the county agreeing that there are no term limits, and any resolutions between the city and county agreeing that the city would make all appointments.

As of publishing, 1819 News has received no response.

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email or on Twitter @BradleyCoxAL.

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