EVANSVILLE, In. (WEHT) — People packed the Browning Room at the Central Library in Evansville on Wednesday to hear from three finalists in the search for EVPL’s next CEO-Director.
The search comes within the same year the library faced controversy for it’s “Drag Queen Story Hour” programming.
They handed them to a moderator to read, and people in the room did not hold back.
“This programming has filled our community with polarizing division under the guise of social justice, while actually only pushing a biased socio-political agenda. “What will you do to prevent such divisive and controversial programming in EVPL’s future?”
Candidate and current director for Mobile Public Library in Alabama Scott Kinney faced backlash in his community when the library held a Drag Queen Story Hour.
“I dealt with the same issue in Mobile, Alabama. […] Sometimes we have to do difficult things that may go against our personal beliefs, but…as a public library, everyone has the right to use the library.”
Kinney is not the only candidate facing controversy. Chicago newpaper headlines have targeted candidate and current Winnetka-Northfield Public Library Director Rebecca Wolf in their coverage of staff resignations.
“I am working with them now, I am getting them in a room. I am talking about the concerns they have.This is also about change. […] We are going to be brave about this. And….I really hope that….I really hope that comes through as the media coverage goes on, because honestly, I do not think it’s been fair.”
Candidate and Rio Rancho, New Mexico director Lynette Schurdevin said her library is not without its own challenges.
“A public group, and I mentioned it earlier as a fracking group, it keeps trying to be in and do some politics within the library.”
Evpl’s board says despite any controversy, it’s time to move on.
“That’s in the past. And we’re not going to allow one event to define the future of this organization,” said board member Eric Williams. “This library has a long history of providing great service to this community, and we are very proud of it.”
The three candidates spoke about many topics, including how they would connect with educational services and what role they believe a library plays in the community.
All three will be interviewed by the library board tomorrow.