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Meridian residents file petition to eliminate library district

The 'Concerned Citizens of Meridian' filed a petition last week claiming libraries are sexually indoctrinating children and wasting taxpayer money.

ADA COUNTY, Idaho — First, people wanted to ban books in the library. Now, they want to take away libraries all together.

A group labeled the Concerned Citizens of Meridian filed a petition last week urging the Ada County Board of Commissioners to eliminate the Meridian Library District, claiming the district supports sexual indoctrination and refuses to discuss "obscene and sexually explicit materials."

It claims the MLD has refused to provide financial transparency, shut down public discourse at meetings, refused to discuss minors "access to obscene and sexually explicit materials." It also claims the MLD refused to communicate with speakers at board meetings, have allowed minors to obtain material targeted towards sexualization, that the MLD "continues to provide facilities for sexual indoctrination of minors by the Queer Straight Alliance" and that the board has a member who "supports chemical and surgical castration of minors."

The petition is also asking for a decrease in trustee terms to three years instead of six years and to "segregate" explicit material.

This is one more addition to the continuing saga of the fight to ban books that may contain stories about puberty, children's bodies and LGBTQ+ individuals. In March of 2022, the Idaho Press found that the books brought to Idaho lawmaker's attention for being "obscene" were all located in the adult or teen section.  Bills have passed through the Idaho Legislature, none becoming law, trying to criminalize librarians for providing books to minors that some legislators believe are "harmful." 

However, the library district could dissolve if the petition is successful.

It's a long process, but according to Ada County, the petition must have 50 signatures that is presented to the board of commissioners and a hearing must be held. The clerk will deliver the petition to the board on Thursday at 10 a.m. and it will be livestreamed. No one will be allowed to testify at this point.

The board then has to send their notices for the hearing to the public and the governing board of the library district, a press release from Ada County says.

Another hearing will be held, and then the board will issue an order within ten days. The board can choose, or not choose, to order the Ada County Clerk to hold an election. Once that happens, and the elimination of the library district is approved, the board has to "dispose of the district's property," the release said.

The petition is addressed to the Board of the Ada County Commissioners, Chairman Rod Beck, Ryan Davison and County Commissioner Tom Dayley.

This isn't the first time a group from Meridian has decided to voice their opinions regarding library books. In August of 2022, the Meridian Library Board heard more than two hours of testimony about books that got slightly out of hand. 

According to the Idaho Press, Brian Almon, an Eagle resident who applied for a trustee position, wrote about the book war he speaks out against “normalizing their (LGBTQ) lifestyles and fetishes.” 

And, in November of 2022, the Meridian Library Board had another meeting. This time, Meridian Library Director Nick Grove spoke out against the pushback on his libraries. 

“You have the right to object to an item. You have the right to recommend a reconsideration of an item that you don’t like,” Grove said. “You do not have the right to ban books or segregate access to books that you do not want.”


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