Commissioners put a muzzle on library complaints

The Campbell County Commissioners from left, Rusty Bell, Colleen Faber, Chairperson Bob Maul, D.G. Reardon and Del Shelstad will no longer entertain public comments regarding books at the library. (Campbell County, Wyoming Government Facebook photo)

The Campbell County Board of Commissioners is taking a stance on repetitive complaints received during public comments at its regular meetings since July.

After listening to concerns about the placement of a few books at the Campbell County Public Library (CCPL) from mostly the same small group of residents, the board has decided to put a stop to it for now.

The commissioners issued a public statement, signed by Chairperson Bob Maul, at noon Friday that made it clear no more comments on the subject will be taken.

“For the past several months, the Board of Campbell County Commissioners has received extensive public comment regarding materials at the Campbell County Public Library. Individuals have expressed their preference and reasons for those preferences with respect to the materials. These preferences include removing materials deemed objectionable, moving the materials to another area of the library, or leaving the materials as is,” the letter reads.

“As a result of the comments, the Board has held two joint meetings with the Campbell County Public Library Board where additional comments were received, discussions held and questions fielded. During these meetings, the library collection and book challenge policies were discussed. The library has provided update to this Board and the public on the status of the challenges it has received.”

-- Advertisement – Story Continues Below --

The CCPL has made clear that it is working through the nearly four dozen challenges. A challenge could take as long as 120 days if all appeals are exhausted, however, the current books in questions have not reached the 60-day mark.

Though the commissioners have been listening to complaints since July, CCPL staff has only been shuffling through the book challenges since mid to late August. The group pushing for the removal, relocation, and censorship of books by the commissioners/CCPL initially took their complaints directly to the commissioners, instead of using the CCPL’s challenge policy for materials in its collection.

Because the process is ongoing for about 40 challenged books, the commissioners have now stepped in and said it’s time to allow the CCPL to complete a process that has been in place for years.

“The library is engaged in its book challenge process and although some may be displeased with the length of time required in completing this process, this process must be allowed to proceed to completion,” the letter reads.

The commissioners next regular meeting is Tuesday, Oct. 19. The CCPL Board’s next monthly meeting is Oct. 25 in Gillette.

(Campbell County, Wyoming Government Facebook page)