The Flathead Beacon covered the appointment of Carmen Cuthbertson and the resulting fallout. Commissioners Abell, Brodehl and Holmquist unanimously appointed Cuthbertson, who brought a book challenge against "Gender Queer" in 2021 that's still pending resolution, over vocal opposition from the community and eschewing many other well qualified applicants. As the article points out, "The trustee board is now exclusively made up of individuals — Dave Ingram, Doug Adams, Heidi Roedel and Cuthbertson — who have indicated a desire to alter library policies and remove certain materials, including the graphic novel “Gender Queer,” from ImagineIF." Her appointment prompted the resignation of Trustee Marsha Sultz, who's seat is now vacant and will be filled by another Commissioner appointee.
The FCLA has heard from many library supporters who were shocked that elected Commissioners would appoint yet another politically motivated trustee after the last several appointees have sown so much turmoil and divisiveness at our public libraries. Sadly, such appointments have become common in recent years. We urge supporters who want elected officials to choose experienced, neutral library stewards to vote for future Commissioner candidates who respect their duty to fill County boards with citizens capable of putting the needs of those institutions above their own personal or political goals.
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