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Three more Prattville library board members resign

Three longstanding members of the Autauga-Prattville Public Library board abruptly quit Monday.

The exterior of the Prattville Public Library on a summer day.
The exterior of the Prattville Public Library on a summer day. STOCK

Three longstanding members of the Autauga-Prattville Public Library board abruptly quit Monday morning in an apparent response to the appointment made by the Autauga County Commission last week.

The resignations include Chair Susan Poteat, Vice Chair Wayne Lambert and Pam Fredrick.

Murmurs of the library board resigning en masse have been rumbling since August when the Prattville City Council was considering a controversial contract to create stipulations for library funding.

Then last week when the Commission was considering appointing Clean Up Alabama member Tony Moore to the board, APR once again heard rumors that the board would resign.

The Commission ultimately chose to appoint Doug Darr instead in an apparent last-minute switchup—but the Commission still broke with precedent by appointing a board member without waiting for a recommendation from the board.

“After the last county board meeting and some decisions made pertaining to the library, I do not feel comfortable serving on the Library board,” Lambert told APR.

Some residents have also voiced concerns about Darr’s alignment with Clean Up Alabama.

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Darr’s public Facebook posts show he shared a press release from the group in August in which executive director Hannah Rees accused the library of “breaking state law by providing children access to pornographic and obscene materials.”

He also shared a flier for the group’s roundtable ahead of the event, at which 1819 News president Bryan Dawson called for the burning of children’s books containing gender ideology, to smiles and applause from some in the audience and the other panelists.

The Prattville City Council appointed Christine Sellers to the board Tuesday, just an hour after the County appointed Darr.

The council, however, followed the standard procedure, accepting the appointee nominated by the library board.

Sellers said she doesn’t have a political agenda coming onto the board.

“I think there should be a good healthy discussion and the community should be actively aware of what is on the library’s bookshelves,” Sellers said. “But at the end of day, we need level-headed people willing to come to table and discuss ways to satisfy all of the community. I feel like the people of Prattville can do that and I’m excited to be part of those conversations moving forward.”

Darr and Sellers join Tommy Gamper, the only remaining library board member that has not resigned within the past six months. Sandra Harvey also remains on the board through the end of the year, although she has already announced her resignation. The city and county will each have two seats to appoint.

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Library director Andrew Foster said the county’s actions are cause for concern as there are so many appointments now up to be made.

“I will say I’m a little bit worried with what direction things are going to take now with how the county has acted and the fact that there been very little communication from them with the library about everything so far,” Foster said.

According to Foster, the library asked the county to table the appointment after they learned that the Commission was going to appoint Moore. Foster said he hopes the county takes steps to restore trust.

It is unclear for now how the library board will proceed with making recommendations, with only four members. Poteat had called a special meeting for Dec. 10 to make recommendations for appointments, but the members on that committee have all resigned.

If no appointments are made before the board’s next regular meeting in February,it won’t have a quorum to conduct any business.

And the library also lacks its own lawyer, a problem that arose during the contract talks with the city.

The resignations will also restart the clock on some of the review processes on books challenged at the library, as the leaving board members were part of the committee reviewing books.

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Jacob Holmes is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected]

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