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Shelby County lawmakers propose improvements to how their local library board members are elected

Members of the Shelby County delegation to the Alabama House introduced a bill in the first week of the 2024 legislative session to make the election of board members for the North Shelby County Library Board consistent with the expectations of residents in their community and the procedures in place for boards across the state. 

The local library, enacted by the Alabama Legislature in 1988, is a dynamic resource for the area. It serves portions of Shelby County that had no library and no municipality to support one. 

Under the current code, the North Shelby County Library board is mandated to conduct elections for its members every even year. However, records indicate that since 1998, no such election has been held – and board members have faced no opposition.

“We hope the selection of library board members every four years by the legislative delegation will actually give more residents in the district an opportunity to serve,” State Rep. DuBose (R-Hoover) said. 

“This proposed amendment to the legislation has been years in discussion, we did not make this decision lightly but consulted with Shelby County officials and employees, former legislators involved in the original legislation and our legislative services agency in Montgomery. HB 89 was unanimously recommended by the Shelby County legislative delegation for the reasons noted above which bring the North Shelby County public library governance in line with every public library in the state of Alabama.” 

RELATED: Rep. DuBose: Alabama Public Library Service taking ‘a step in the right direction’

Public library boards on both the local and state levels have been entrenched with controversy stemming from left-wing influence pushed by activists who have worked their way into elected positions that typically don’t receive attention from parents and constituents. Last year, state lawmakers sounded the alarm on “toxic” influences into Alabama libraries, Governor Kay Ivey empowered their calls, and a push to put parents back in charge of their local libraries was ignited. 

In Shelby County, as officials move to revise outdated portions of the law, officials hope to do just that – put stakeholders back in charge. DuBose also underscored the underrepresented importance of the business community in library governance. 

“The collection of library dues, fines, penalties and liens on homes has been a source of concern for residents and businesses in the library district since the formation of the district,” she said. “Residents and business owners in the community expect financial transparency and financial accountability from the library board.”

The legislative delegation representing the North Shelby County library district, who will select the five board members are State Reps. Jim Carns, Susan DuBose, Arnold Mooney, along with State Sens. Jabo Waggoner and Dan Roberts. 

Grayson Everett is the state and political editor for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @Grayson270

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