Meeting on library’s collection policies, practices set

March 13, 2019

The Allen County Public Library board has scheduled a promised public meeting to discuss concerns about its collections policies and practices.

The meeting will take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. March 27 in the theater of the main library, 900 Library Plaza.

The meeting was set after community representatives concerned the library was discarding too many books attended and spoke at the Feb. 28 board meeting.

The issue was raised last year because state statistics showed the library in 2017 had about 1.4 million fewer books than in 2014, when 3.58 million were reported.

Library officials said the earlier statistics were in error, partly because duplicate records were counted. But the library was continuing to “weed” books to create space for public programming, and updating collections in that manner is a recognized and normal library practice, officials said.

The group, Concerned Library Patrons, sought the meeting and a pause on discards until after it occurs.

The group also wants officials to address an ethics policy that calls for discipline if employees speak out against the library, and whether and why the library is moving toward a “popular materials” library model instead of remaining a library with a collection of breadth and depth.

The library is offering to answer a list of questions provided by the group and provide 15 minutes for a representative to speak, according to an email from James E. Williams Jr., board president.