Saline County Quorum Court approves ordinance shifting library oversight power
The Saline County Quorum Court now has the power to hire and fire library employees. Justices of the Peace voted 11-2 to approve an ordinance allowing them to oversee the library's staff and budget in a meeting Monday evening.
The Saline County Library has come under fire for not removing or relocating books dealing with sex-ed and LGBTQ characters. Groups like the Saline County Republicans have called for the dismissal of library director Patty Hector, going so far as to put up billboards encouraging her firing.
Saline County Justice of the Peace Clint Chism said he wants to protect children from reading books with sexual content.
“To challenge a book in the library, they say you’ve got to read the whole book. I don’t understand that,” Chism said. “A lot of my constituents that I’ve shown these books to, when they read the page that I’ve showed them to read, most of them won’t read any more because they’ve been offended.”
Hector says she is upholding the library’s policy of keeping books that have not gone through the formal challenge process. Justice of the Peace Jim Whitley argued children should have more parental oversight when choosing what to read in the library.
“I don’t believe that sexually explicit material is appropriate for children unless their parents approve it and check it out for them. That’s my belief, and that’s really the spirit of the resolution,” Whitley said.
Hector says there is no obscenity in the library, and that she cannot remove a book that has not gone through the proper challenge policy. A federal judge has blocked parts of a new state law which would allow librarians to face criminal penalties for providing “harmful” materials to minors.