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Senate Shelby County delegation approves bill to take over library board

HB89 would allow the Shelby County delegation of the Legislature to take over board appointments.

North Shelby Library
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Two sides spoke out Tuesday about a bill, HB89, to allow the Shelby County delegation of the Alabama Legislature to take over appointment of the North Shelby Library Board.

One side painted the board as an unaccountable, unelected group of bureaucrats who look down on their constituents; the other side argued that the board has been faithful stewards and that elections have simply been unnecessary.

And beneath it all, the board’s actions regarding a pride display that had incensed some local conservatives and Rep. Susan DuBose, R-Hoover.

“I would like to tell you how much I appreciate the North Shelby County Library Board’s refusal to move the library books in question last year,”  said Hoover resident Bobby Breeding. “This event alone was enough to bring attention to their unwillingness to work with their citizenry, that it quickly became evident that there were multiple additional problems with this board.”

As has been the argument since this bill began, Breeding argued that there has not been an election of the board members in the 30 years since the district was established. Breeding also questioned why the library still has an outstanding debt and mortgage over a million dollars and said the library board is unaccountable to a financial audit.

Opponent Linda Well said there has not been an election because the board has served well and no election has been necessary, and that HB89 stripped away the rights of 50,000 voters in the district.

“If few elections or none have been held over that time, it’s not by deception failure to follow protocol; it’s because our board members have served us well and when they move on have been replaced by others, unopposed,” Well said. 

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Rick Tice said the library is “the heart of our town” and complained that supporters of HB89 have been painted as not supporting the library. And he said the library has “stoked the fires” by refusing to move “inappropriate” books.

Resident Will Bennet said “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

“It’s a great example of local people managing their local affairs,” “HB89’s proponents implies that the North Shelby Library Board is out of control and perhaps even up to no good. In fact, the opposite is true. The NSL board is made up of dedicated citizens who volunteer their time to the betterment of the library. These board members should be celebrated for their service to the community.”

The committee passed the bill forward to the full Senate without discussion.

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

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