Library Board Minutes 04/10/23
Board Meeting Minutes – 4/10/23
The meeting started with a prayer said by Brian Jacobs. It was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance (Item 3), led by Board of Trustees member Mathew Morris.
Item 1- Call to Order: The meeting was called to order at 10:03 a.m.
Item 2- Member Roll Call: Present were Chairman John Shewalter, Vice Chair Brian Shoemake, Board Trustee Dave Ochenreider, Board Trustee Dee Mounts, Board Trustee Mathew Morris, Director Vanja Anderson, Assistant Director Shanna Gibbons, Children’s Director Alysha Wogee, Reference Director Andrew Karneges, District Attorney Brian Kunzi and library Liaison/Commissioner Frank Carbone. Deputies from the Nye County Sheriff’s office were also present. Finally, the guests present were members of the public. Our new board member Mathew Morris was introduced.
Item 3- The Pledge of Allegiance was recited prior to the call to order.
Item 4- Trustee/Director/Liaison Comments:
Vanja Anderson- Budget has been completed and turned in for review to Dan McArthur.
A paper that needs to be signed okaying this review was passed around.
Director Anderson continued by saying that any board member could sign it. She mentions in May that we will need to have it as an agenda item to review the budget. One meeting for the tentative budget and two weeks later, a meeting to discuss the final budget. It is suggested by Dan MacArthur that the whole board sit down, or the director and the board can sit down one-on-one to review the library’s five-year capital improvement plan. She will let the chair decide what he wants to do.
John Shewalter- Said he will make a note of the budget meetings and with the five-year capital improvement plan, Director Anderson can set that up however she sees fit. No more than two board members can have this discussion with Director Anderson.
Nothing to share from other members of the board, Liaison or District Attorney at this time.
Item 5- Approval of the Agenda: Item 7 (Emergency item) was stricken from the agenda.
Item 6- General Public Comment:
Each member of the public will be given 3 minutes to speak on items concerning the library.
Nicole Walters- She runs No Opinion News, and she explained what her organization does. She wanted to thank the board of trustees and has asked that librarians post events in more local groups.
Muriel Areno- Thanks the board for putting back up Joan Lewis’s picture (the library’s first director). She said that since we have a plaque in the library with all the past board members, it would be nice to have one with all the past directors. However, that is just a suggestion. Also, some comments were made at the last town of commissioners meeting, and she wanted to reassure Dee Mounts that she has nothing to fear. She did feel like Mount’s comment was a bit exaggerated, but Ms. Areno and other groups are here, because they want what is best for the library.
Helen Schneider- She mentioned that she went to the last commissioner’s meeting and there was some discussion about a group. Yes, she is involved in a group that includes two people, who are concerned about the library. She is happy that the District Attorney is here and that the officers are present. She hopes the board meetings will stay civil and that things will improve.
Laura Larsen- She informs the board that a senior producer has been indited on three counts of child pornography. When is this going to stop? Unless we all stand up and say our children are our future, do we really want to push these ideals that have gone on for centuries. What do we have to show for our nation’s future? She wants our children to be happy and thanks the board for improving the library. She is thinking about her autistic daughter’s future.
Bruce Shoenberger- He thanks people for coming. He was part of a rally on Saturday the 8th with a fantastic turn-out. He explained that we are all Americans, and we need to come together and stand up for what is right. There will be more rallies in the future, and he will let us know when those are happening.
Item 8- Approval of the Minutes: Brian Shoemake made a motion to accept the minutes of the March 13, 2023, Library Board of Trustee’s meeting. Dee Mounts seconded the motion.
No public or board comments were made for this agenda item. The board voted to approve the minutes of the March 13, 2023, Library Board of Trustee’s meeting 5-0.
Item 9 was skipped by accident and Item 10 was conducted. Assistant Director Shanna Gibbons spoke up and got everyone back on track.
Item 9- Presentation of Treasurer’s Report: Director Anderson presented the treasurer’s report on expenditures and revenues for March 2023, as found in the backup.
There were no public comments.
Board Discussion: John Shewalter asked about the expenses under petty cash. Director Anderson explained that all the Amazon purchases have been paid for with petty cash. Since we no longer have an account with Amazon and use a credit card only. Shewalter also asked about the carpet cleaning since it cost $5,000. Director Anderson explained that she had the carpets cleaned in the entire library by Peter’s Carpet Cleaning. Director Anderson explained that the carpets were cleaned because it has not been done since 2019. When going forward with it, the carpet cleaning will be half that price. Shewalter feels that having the carpets cleaned is reasonable, but not for that price in the future. Shewalter asked if the cleaning was done okay, and Director Anderson said yes. Dave Ochenreider had a question about page 14, that he did not see in the minutes. He was redirected by Shewalter, that that page was the signature page for the vouchers. Brian Shoemake asked Director Anderson if things are running smoothly with the security network. Director Anderson explained that the only problem was the library’s internet went down, but we were not alone. The school’s internet went down too. She said she is still waiting to hear back from VEA on what is causing the issue. Chris Marini suggested we get a second internet service that we can use as a backup. Shoemake asked if VEA is unreliable since we may need a second option? Director Anderson mentioned that it would be worth discussing it with the IT department, but as far as she is concerned the library is running smoothly.
Item 10- Approval of Payment Vouchers: Brian Shoemake made a motion to approve the payment vouchers for the period of March 2023, to April 2023. The motion was seconded by Mathew Morris.
There was no board discussion or public comments. The board voted to approve the payment vouchers 5-0.
Item 11- Presentation of Librarian’s Report:
Vanja Anderson- Read her report, that can be found in the backup.
Shanna Gibbons- Reported on the February 2023 library activities, which included patron traffic, books checked out, books returned, internet usage, website usage and materials added. See report in backup for more information. Ms. Gibbons also reported on Fine Amnesty, where $437 in fines were waived and $86 in fines was paid. There was also an Easter Basket Raffle where the library got $141 selling tickets.
Alysha Wogee- reported on the children’s programs: STEAM, Baby Time, Story Time, no Train Workshop, no Game Day, no Holiday Parties, and Teen Library Club. Ms. Wogee also shared with the board and public about programs coming up, like the 2023 Summer Reading Program. Shoemake asked Ms. Wogee about the Dr. Seuss passive program and she explained that the Youth Department hosts it every March for Dr. Seuss’s birthday. Children and teens write their favorite Dr. Seuss book on a Cat in the Hat, hat and it is hung in the Youth Services tree for all to see. Shoemake also asked if the Youth Department has Dr. Seuss books. Ms. Wogee said that her collection has Dr. Seuss books, both banned and not. More questions were asked about why Dr. Seuss books were banned, which was due to nationwide controversies. Shewalter asked Ms. Wogee why the banned books were pulled from the collection, and she explained that the library was worried about theft. The books are still available for patrons to look at, at this time though.
Item 12- For Possible Action: Shoemake made a motion to approve, amend and approve or reject 1) estimate number 11242 by Industrial Light and Power, LLC to provide electrical changes per Arch Flash Coordination Study Engineer’s Report in the amount of $9,611.00 and 2) to fund from capital improvements funds. Ochenreider seconded the motion.
Each member of the public will be given 3 minutes to speak on items concerning the library.
William Lovegren- He has experience in the light and power industry, and asked the board what percent of amp are they checking for? Is it 10 or 15 amps? He said that depending on the percentage that the library has, will also depend on the gigs. For instance, if the library is running on 14 gigs, it may need 12 gage wire. He said that there may also be a cost if wiring is not up to code.
Lora Stewart- She would like the totals from Industrial Light and Power. Of how much everything has cost and for what.
Bruce Shoenberger- He specialized in construction and is not sure why the amp needs to be boosted. He feels the board should have a committee to look at this stuff, especially for people who do not understand.
Shoemake explained that they are trying to bring the library up to code. Shewalter also explained what the contractor’s report said and the contractor’s responsibilities.
Jenny Okawa- Said that Shoemake said that the board is trying to bring the library up to code. We just spent all this money, and we are not up to code?
Shoemake explains that he wants to make sure the wiring can carry the load. That the board is discovering things along the way that need to be fixed.
Shewalter said that no reasonable person would want hanging wires in a building, with how much amp they are supposed to carry.
Morris says that wires need to be able to carry so many amps, until they cramp out.
The board voted on the item, 0-5 and the item was passed.
Item 13- For Possible Action: Shoemake made a motion to have a discussion and deliberation to re-catalog books from the area of the library that is dedicated to youth services, based upon the book’s educational suitability, appropriateness to age and grade level. Mounts seconded the motion. The motion passed.
Shewalter explained to the public that this item is very narrow. That the board is deciding whether or not to create a policy to re-catalog books.
Each member of the public will be given 3 minutes to speak on items concerning the library.
Bill Carns- Fixed the podium’s microphone and then sat down.
Bruce Shoenberger- Asked what rules under what delegations, dictates what is good for youth? He said values need to be respected.
Muriel Areno- Says that the decision on what children should and should not read belongs to the parents. No one thinks the same. We also have the first amendment and should be able to read what we want. We need common sense, and we can get that from books. Children need to know about other places.
Nicole Walters- When it comes to making sure if a book is appropriate, that is the parents choice. Often books that are available go by national things. It is her job to protect her child and no one else’s. Such choices are a parent’s job until the child turns 18.
Kelly Green- She is a retired school librarian. Believes that parents have the job to choose. The library is public. We should leave the choice up to all parents. If parents or children are uncomfortable, then it should be used as a teachable moment. Books should be available to all families.
Bill Newyear- Asks what the board is considering on re-cataloging? Why are they considering changing things?
Jacob Smith- He was born and raised in Pahrump. He is a part of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). He is concerned about this decision. Hopes the board remains constitutional.
Laura Larsen- She approves of the fact that books need to be moved. We need to make sure that things are appropriate. She also submitted an American Psychiatric document for the record.
Helen Schneider- Believes parents are responsible for assisting children with their book choices. She mentioned that the bible has been banned.
Diane Davis- She asked for understanding; are the books to be re-cataloged in Youth? When she was a seven-year-old, she did not know boys vs. girls. She prayed to God to be a boy. She wanted to be a boy because they were the ones who could climb trees, ride horses, etc., while the girls had to learn to clean, cook and raise children. She believes that books influence people and that children do not know what they want until they are older.
William Lovegren- His daughter has been a part of the children’s and teen programs at the library. He has seen big changes and not all are good. There is a system to keep in mind and he is tired of people trying to censor materials. If it is so bad, why do we not just move it, and put a sheet over it like they do with rated R movies? He agrees that certain books should not be in the youth collection and would like them moved.
Thomas Rasmussen- He does not agree with separating books. Not everyone is of the same mind. He is not a Christian and does not pray. Everyone comes in all shapes and sizes. All children should be represented, if they are not based on a diverse belief or characteristic, then that is sending a message that they are not sociably acceptable. They are a part of our community. We have librarians, it is their job to decide what materials to provide the community. We do not need a special policy. It is unnecessary.
Gene Fisher- She congratulates the board for this decision. They are not banning it, but moving materials that are not appropriate to another location in the library. Parents are the ones who make the decisions, not the children.
Charles Spurrier- This is his first board meeting. He has read the Pahrump news regarding what has happened at the library. Books have been banned before, such as “Fahrenheit 451.” He reads a passage from the book. The board needs to consider what they are reading. Could such issues be a slippery slope?
Bruce Hofficker- Agrees that parents are responsible. Curious why there needs to be a policy. If adopted, who will decide what books stay? He paused, waiting for the board to answer and said it was a simple question.
Brian Kunzi spoke up due to some negativity going on. He said that the board will decide the policy.
Eileen Fisher- She worked in a library. She said the director buys the books. Ms. Fisher said she raised two daughters and knows what books are suitable for them. She does not want children to see certain books. She is not against certain books, but the parents need to be the ones who decide what their children should and should not read.
Chelsea Fisher- She is Christian and against pushing views on other people. She is against books like “Gender Queer,” “All Boys Aren’t Blue” and anything with porn. Such titles should not be in the library. Romance books should not be read where there are children. If parents are not concerned about what books are available, then they should not be parents.
Chris Montgomery- He works with children at a youth theater. He has had people who are LGBTQ. He mentioned that there is a special day for Dr. Seuss, and it is celebrated in schools. Dr. Seuss illustrated children’s books, for porn and political advertisements. Dr. Seuss is also beloved by families across the nation. Mr. Montgomery says he loves children’s books and that each book has a different category they belong in. If we are being honest, families can go online and order anything they want. So, why the sudden push?
Alysha Wogee- She is the Children’s Department Head at the Pahrump Community Library. Ms. Wogee said that when she saw the agenda item, she talked with her youth staff about what their thoughts were. She asked several questions to the board, like what books do they wish to re-catalog? Where do they want to put these books? She also said that books may be going through a phase right now and that is why we may be getting books concerning a particular subject. She also said that it is up to the parents to decide what is appropriate or not for their children. Pahrump has such a diverse population of children, and it is important to include diversity and inclusion in our book collection. She said she is sad that families were unable to come to her about these issues they had with the collection. She is willing to make it work for the community she serves. Also, as a librarian she must remain neutral and cater to all, and not just one individual group.
John Shewalter- Answers some of the public’s questions. He asked for a complaint he received to be passed around to those who wanted it. It was an email detailing an issue with a certain book in the youth collection. Furthermore, he referenced some books he checked out, that some of them have foul language in them. Director Anderson mentioned to him that she does not like foul language, so he asked why have it in the books? The email that was passed out was added to the record. Shewalter read the library’s material selection collection policy. It says that “checkout rests solely with parents or legal guardians.” He has an 8-year-old granddaughter. Does he have to be a supervisor, so she does not read certain books? He also discussed an NPR article on LGBTQ suicides. He does not want a child to commit suicide, and their reasoning having been because they read a book from this library. The law does not allow children to drink until a certain age, because there is a reason. He has no interest in banning books. Honestly, he prefers such books did not exist. However, he said you should be able to read anything you want to read. There are books that will give his granddaughter insight into different things, but they do not need to be in the children’s section.
Brian Shoemake- He has no intention of banning any books. He would prefer that none of these such books existed. However, you should be able to read anything you would like to read. Books should be categorized based on appropriateness. There should be parental guidance for certain books. Youth cannot make certain decisions. We are supposed to protect those most vulnerable. Children under-aged are unsupervised at times. Books that are considered taboo, children flock to because they are curious. We should not be putting books in their hands that promote these ideals. Since our standards are not up, then we need to make a policy. Since children do not understand the consequences, we make policies. If we fail, we fail as a nation. It affects us all. When re-cataloging books, we are not here to push these ideals on our children. We will make a policy to reflect our community.
Dave Ochenreider- Thinks the board should consider a committee of parents to look at this issue.
Dee Mounts- She mentions that a 12-year-old committed suicide. She says we should not be surrogate parents. Wanted to ask the author of the article that came out a couple days ago in the newspaper a question (for the record), why ban books? That accusation is not true. She does not want kids to kill themselves because we left an inappropriate book in the Youth Services department.
Mathew Morris- This is our community. Everything done decently needs order. Why not have a policy for this? This will help us serve the community better.
Brian Kunzi- Assures the public that there will be legal council when drafting the policy. They will do what is appropriate. What he has seen in the press is disheartening. There is no banning or burning of books going on here. It is all about parental control. We need to have control over what a child sees. It will be a careful process and he will enforce it.
All ayes, item passed to make a policy to re-catalog youth books based on their educational suitability, appropriateness to age and grade level. Vote was 5-0.
Item 14- Trustee/Director/Liaison Comments: This item is limited to announcements or topics/issues proposed for future workshops, committees, and agendas.
Dee Mounts- Thanked the public for coming. She congratulated them on their good parenting. Based on the comment said earlier about her being afraid of the public at the commissioner’s meeting, she said she did not want the deputy here because she is afraid but to keep the meetings civil. People twist things. She can handle herself.
Dave Ochenreider- He thanked all those who commented. They will do this by upholding the law.
Brian Shoemake- For possible future agenda, he wants to address classified information that they need access to. To further complete the security needed for the library.
John Shewalter- He explains that he wants the sheriff here due to safety. It was not a desire, but a demand to keep meetings good. If someone wants to find out what is true, then they need to come to the meetings and find out.
Item 12- Adjournment at 12:15 p.m.