Library agrees to special meeting on book discarding policy

March 1, 2019

A group of residents who have been urging the Allen County Public Library to stop weeding large numbers of books got some results Thursday.

About a dozen people attended library board’s monthly meeting, saying they represented 1,922 signers of an online petition.

The petition, at change.org, asks for an evening meeting open to the public at which the board and library officials will answer questions and respond to concerns about new library practices and policies.

Board members voted in favor of the meeting, saying they wanted it to take place in the next two to four weeks.

The board also voted in favor of the group’s second request to suspend discarding books until after the meeting takes place.

No date or time was set, but group organizer Kimberly Fenoglio of Fort Wayne thanked board members for what she called a willingness to be “transparent” with the public.

“We’re looking for transparency and an honest and open discussion,” said Fenoglio, who has been an on-call library staffer.

During the meeting, Greta Southard, library director, objected to Fenoglio’s using the word “purge” about deleting books that hadn’t circulated much or were old, worn or outdated.

She called the term “inaccurate” and “inflammatory.” She also denied librarians were facing “quotas” for discards. She said they were working with “targets and goals” because of changing needs for, and uses of, space.