The Boone County Fiscal Court and the judge/executive will now have a hand in who serves on the library board of trustees.
Due to Senate Bill 167, fiscal courts now have the option to take on an alternative selection process for library board members. Before the new law, board members were selected through an application process, and two candidates were submitted for consideration to the State Department of Library and Archives. The selections were then sent to the county judge/executive and the fiscal court, who were required to ratify the nominee.
The new process allows the judge/executive to reject the nominees and request two other candidates. If the judge/executive rejects the nominations again, they have the power to appoint candidates for the board, which the fiscal court will vote on. Board members may serve a maximum of two consecutive four-year terms, and they must take a one-year hiatus before being eligible for an open seat again.
County Administrator Jeff Earlywine said adopting the new process is optional for fiscal courts, but Judge/Executive Gary Moore expressed interest in bringing it to Boone County.
Moore said his interest isn’t rooted in problems with the board of trustees or their previous selections, but he noted there “have been a few times I have preferred a different name, skillset or geography” to be represented on the board.
This new selection process comes as Kenton County Library Board of Trustees voted to keep an LGBTQ book display up in June, against the wishes of some community members and Savannah Maddox, who is vying for Kentucky governor. Another group came to a Boone County Schools Board of Education meeting in July to express their concern that book bans were coming for their district, though no such vote was on the table.
While the fiscal court and library director align on philosophies now, Moore and Library Director Carrie Herrmann acknowledged they won’t always be in charge. Herrmann said this move will provide a safeguard against someone who may want to serve on the board in order to push bans on books.
“The Public Library Association is very concerned with the wave of book banning that has been going on across the country, and keeping control of the library boards to make sure someone who is interested in banning books is not on the board has been very important to us,” Herrmann said.
Commissioner Jesse Brewer said he supported the resolution so the fiscal court may have some oversight on the libary board, who has the authority to levy property taxes for funding purposes.
The resolution passed unanimously and will go into effect January 2023.