Two administrators stop Iowa Metropolis Library after complaints about hiring, LGBTQ books and Biden | State and Space Information

Gage Miskimen, The Gazette, Cedar Rapids

The Vinton Public Library has misplaced two administrators in two years as townspeople complain concerning the library’s publicity to LGBTQ books and books about President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

Renee Greenlee, its director for six months, not too long ago left the library. She served because the Library Assistant for Baby and Household Providers on the Marion Public Library and she or he has additionally labored on the Hiawatha Public Library and the Kirkwood Neighborhood Faculty Library.

Greenlee, who left Vinton’s publish in Might and began a brand new job on the Cedar Rapids Public Library, declined to touch upon why she left Vinton’s publish.

The Vinton Library Board accepted Greenlee’s resignation earlier this month in entrance of 100 residents. In the course of the assembly, a dozen individuals spoke in favor of – and towards – Greenlee.


Some residents have accused the library and its former administrators of getting a “liberal agenda” as a result of its hiring of overtly LGBTQ workers members and the show of books on LGBTQ matters. They argued that books on faith ought to be displayed equally.

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In March, Brooke Kruckenberg of Vinton mentioned the library had a “liberal agenda” based mostly on guide selections and the hiring of Greenlee and her workers, as reported by Vinton Newspapers. She and her mom, Deb Hesson, have advocated for extra Christian content material.

“There appears to be a gradual, quiet program taking maintain of our native library tradition by means of workers hiring selections and the books which have crept into the kids’s part of the library,” mentioned Kruckenberg mentioned on the March assembly. “I do not assume the library represents our metropolis effectively by hiring a majority of workers who’re overtly a part of the LGBTQ neighborhood.”

At that assembly, Greenlee mentioned that of the roughly 6,000 kids’s supplies within the library, seven included LGBT, homosexual or transgender matters and 173 have been based mostly on Christian residing.

Though library board members accepted Greenlee’s resignation, additionally they adopted an announcement of ethics and new guidelines for the board’s public remark interval.

The ethics coverage says, partly, that board members will respect the opinions of their colleagues and never be swayed by public strain or concern of criticism, library board chair Jimmy Kelly instructed the Des Monks Register.

“The purpose is to guarantee our subsequent director that we assist the duties he wants us to undertake,” Kelly mentioned. “And that we perceive our function as a board and take it critically.”

McMahon Mandate

Vinton, a city of about 5,000 and the seat of Benton County, additionally noticed one other director, Janette McMahon, step down in July 2021. She is now director of the DeWitt Public Library in Clinton County.

McMahon instructed The Gazette final week that she had good library workers at Vinton, and a few library board members who “have been completely unbelievable” and others who “have been a problem”. .

“Not everybody was as supportive as others when the library needed to champion inclusion and variety of their supplies,” she mentioned.

McMahon mentioned she’s additionally acquired complaints about kids’s books on show, together with “Joey,” written by First Girl Jill Biden, and “Superheroes Are In all places” by Vice President Kamala Harris.

Nonetheless, no official complaints have been filed about these books.

“It places library managers in an attention-grabbing place as a result of if nobody fills out a assessment kind, there is not any method for a library to reply,” she mentioned. “I firmly imagine that everybody can have the precise to have their very own opinion, however they do not have the precise to inform others what they’ll or can not learn.”

As an alternative of submitting a proper criticism, some individuals would have a look at the books and never return them, McMahon mentioned.

“Which is {hardware} theft,” McMahon mentioned. “Then we needed to undergo a course of to get them again. … We all know the individuals who received them out had filed complaints with different metropolis officers and folks round me with out going by means of an actual course of. “

Some residents have additionally argued that the library ought to show extra books about former President Donald Trump, McMahon recalled.

“Kamala’s (Harris) guide was donated to the library when she spoke there, and the ‘Joey’ guide was a purchase order request” from a patron of the library, McMahon mentioned. “It wasn’t deliberate.

“I am unable to purchase what does not exist, and there have been no high quality books on Trump. Selecting supplies is often a protracted course of. We take note of reviewers and publishers, and our assortment wants as an entire. We do not simply say what appears good on Amazon.”

McMahon mentioned the way in which she was handled at Vinton shortly grew to become extra private and uncomfortable, to the purpose that she was not pleased residing in that neighborhood.

“After they refuse to file a proper criticism and never undergo the method, it always turns into facet conversations, and you’ll’t even defend your self as a result of you do not know the place it got here from,” he mentioned. she acknowledged. “It is private, and it isn’t even about work and it isn’t OK.

“Once I received bored with it, we could not operate correctly as a library, so I made a decision to discover a neighborhood that higher suited me as a librarian and my library ethics requirements.”

Members of Vinton’s library board didn’t reply to a request for remark over the weekend.


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