By now you may have likely heard that a petition was filed by a group of residents regarding The Meridian Library District (MLD). The petition process is being used to seek change, but under Idaho law the result of the process is dissolution of MLD. While Idaho code likely should be updated for both the creation and elimination of districts, the process has led us to a point where today the Ada County Commissioners will be holding a public hearing on the petition. This hearing is not a reflection of if they agree or disagree on the merits of the issue, but rather the outlined process to consider the request of the residents.
MLD is its own taxing district with its own Board of Trustees and they are an essential partner in serving our residents and helping us meet our vision to be the West’s premier community in which to live, work and raise a family. They exist in a unique space providing a variety of resources to all patrons. From time tested roles of providing books to cutting edge tools for businesses, they fill gaps that are an important part of the fabric that exists in Meridian. And I can’t imagine living in a Meridian that didn’t include them as a partner in success.
While state law allows a very small number of people to be able to file a request for dissolution of such an important community partner, it is essential that as a community we provide feedback to the Ada County Commissioners on this topic. Tonight, Monday March 20 at 6:00 pm, there is a hearing that will be held at the Ada County Courthouse in the public hearing room on the first floor. You can attend the hearing and provide testimony or watch the proceedings online here. In addition, you can submit your comments to the Commissioners here. I plan to be there to testify, but Members of the City Council and I submitted our letter requesting a denial of the petition. A full copy of the letter can be found here.
If this petition request was granted to put the question on the ballot to dissolve MLD, I believe it would rally the community together and fail miserably. People understand the importance of libraries in our society and community. And we may not always agree on content, but we can each understand the importance of having appropriate selection and access policies. Additionally, it is the responsibility and decision of parents to determine what information is appropriate for their children – regardless of where it comes from – not me, the library board, or another group of citizens.
The Ada County Board of Commissioners will have 10 days to make a decision about putting this issue on the ballot or not. One thing that will definitely be on the ballot on May 16th will be candidates for the Meridian Library District Board of Trustees. The filing period closed on Friday, and you can find the list of potential candidates here. I encourage the community to take the time and learn about the candidates, why they are running, and make a commitment to vote on May 16th. Vote as if the future of the Meridian Library District depends upon it – because it does.