JONESBORO — The Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library’s board of trustees has instructed Library Director Vanessa Adams to appoint an ad hoc committee to examine the library’s finances.
On Monday night, Robin Martin, a member of the audience who gave public comments, said the library is only one of 10 in the state that receives 2 mills from the county. The other nine, she said, are smaller counties.
Martin said the board is not discussing finances, just accepting the reports provided to the members.
“I wonder if board members don’t understand what they’re looking at,” she said.
Martin said the library has more than $6 million in cash on hand.
The ad hoc committee will be headed by board member Kailey Luster, who serves as the board’s treasurer, and will include Martin, who’s a certified public accountant, and possibly the father of audience member, who she said is a retired CPA. The committee would also include Adams and the library’s bookkeeper.
In other matters, the board reviewed an appeal by Martin of her request to remove the book “L8R G8T” from the teen’s section of the library. A library reconsideration committee rejected her request earlier.
“The committee unanimously recommended that the title be retained in its current location in young adult realistic fiction,” the committee reported in December.
Under the board’s Material Reconsideration Policy, which was amended at Monday’s meeting, “The board will decide either to deny an appeal based on the reconsideration committee’s recommendation, or request a copy of the book for each member to read and make a decision at the next scheduled board meeting.”
Board member Mark Nichols said “L8R G8R” includes details about oral sex and sex toys.
The board voted unanimously to delay its vote on the appeal until its next meeting on Sept. 12.
The amended policy also gives the person appealing the committee’s ruling 14 days to contact Library Director Vanessa Adams about the appeal.
In other business, Luster questioned the quarterly finance report’s inclusion of $5,447.50 in legal expenses. Adams said the board’s attorney, Donn Mixon, previously didn’t charge the board for legal services, but last year the board was twice sued for violating the state Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Because of the time he spent on the two lawsuits, Mixon now charges the board at a discounted rate, Adams said.
Mixon, at the last meeting, told board members that he doesn’t respond to requests from individual board members because he’s represents the board and not individual members. He does respond to Adams, though.
During public comments, Dean McDonald said he was thankful of the job being done by the library’s staff and was glad that the heated rhetoric of the last year has been toned down.
“It’s disappointing” that some people “are making libraries a national political battleground,” he said.
Valerie Carroll said the library offers more events than any library of its size. She also said she questions the motives of people who question the library’s spending and make requests for multiple FOIA information.