Ada library board violated Idaho Open Meeting Law in vote to remove books

From the Idaho Statesman

The Ada Community Library board violated Idaho Open Meeting Law at its March board meeting when the trustees voted to remove six books from the library’s collection without noting an action item on the agenda.

The board acknowledged its mistake in a statement posted on its website Tuesday morning after the Idaho Statesman published a story on the vote to remove the books.

“The board acknowledges the error and reiterates that those votes are ineffective and the books discussed will remain in the library’s collection pending any further action,” the statement said.

In a statement emailed to the Statesman, the board said it has no plans to take a re- vote on removing the books.

The board also credited the Statesman for making the board “realize the procedural deficit that occurred at the March meeting.”

The library trustees had voted to remove six books from the collection in March because they believed the content was “harmful to minors.”

“A series of books in the collection were read by trustees and reviewed under existing Idaho code to determine whether they contained material that fell within the current Idaho statutes’ definition of what is ‘harmful to minors,’ ” the board said in a statement to the Statesman. “Where it seemed so, the board voted to remove the books from our collection. Where the books did not contain such material, the board voted to retain.”

The board’s action came after a bill from the Idaho Legislature that would have opened library staff members to misdemeanor charges for disseminating material harmful to minors. Librarians are exempt from the current law in Idaho. The bill passed the Legislature but was vetoed by Gov. Brad Little after the board voted to remove the books.

The board voted to remove the following titles:

  • “Gender Queer” by Maia Kobabe
  • “Lawn Boy” by Jonathan Evison
  • “All Boys Aren’t Blue” by George M Johnson “Out Of Darkness” by Ashley Hope Perez
  • “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison
  • “This Book is Gay” by Juno Dawson

The vote was taken under the agenda’s “legislative update.” The result was null and void because the agenda didn’t list a related “action item.”

“Due to a miscommunication, this was not done for the March 21, 2023, meeting and went unnoticed until recently,” the board said on its website.

The agenda for the board’s May meeting was not posted online as of Tuesday afternoon.

From the Idaho Statesman

Not an IDOG member yet?