Anderson County Library Board is expanding and some worry books will be banned

Anderson County Council gave final approval Tuesday to expand the public library board from five to seven members, with two new at-large seats.

The current members are District One Elaine Stoll (Chair), District Two Pinkey Rinnix, District Three Frances Saville (Secretary/Treasurer), District Four Nicole Davenport (V-Chair), District Five Angela Dixon, District Six Wendy Tucker, District 7 Sara Crocker and library director Annie Sutton.

Anderson County Council members from each district appoint trustees.

Each board member has a term of four years and can serve a maximum of two consecutive terms.

The board has the authority to appoint members of the library board, but cannot remove them from office under state law.

“The Library Board of Trustees can consist of up to twelve members,” said District Councilman Brett Sanders. “I would like to see two younger and diverse individuals installed.”

According to Sanders, Anderson County Library will begin accepting applications for the board of directors starting this week. “Anyone can run for library board.”

Some residents were against adding new members

Some residents argued that adding new members would politicize the board and ban certain books from the library.

Dr. Ernest Mackins of Anderson discusses what he wants to say during the Anderson County Council at the historic courthouse in Downtown Anderson, SC on Tuesday, March 5, 2024. Mackins and others attended the third reading of an ordinance, 2024-010, "An ordinance to amend second 28-48 of the Code of Ordinances, Anderson County, South Carolina, to provide for two at-large members of the Anderson County Library Board of Trustees: and other matters relating thereto," with a three-minute public hearing. The ordinance has already undergone two readings at previous meetings.

“Adding additional board members for the wrong reason is problematic,” said Anderson resident Dr. Ernest M. Mackins. “Our children should have every opportunity to read. When you censor books, you censor our children’s right to learn and grow.”

“We have no intention of banning books,” said City Council Member Brett Sanders. “There is a place for certain reading material. There is no agenda or intention behind it.”

Anderson District Seven resident Andy Cocosua said he supported the idea of ​​adding two members to the library board.

A crowd gathers for the Anderson County Council meeting at the historic courthouse in downtown Anderson, SC, Tuesday, March 5, 2024. One of the ordinances, 2024-010, "An ordinance to amend second 28-48 of the Code of Ordinances, Anderson County, South Carolina, to provide for two at-large members of the Anderson County Library Board of Trustees: and other matters relating thereto," with a three-minute public hearing. The ordinance has already undergone two readings at previous meetings.

“Provincial libraries allow the promotion of inappropriate material in the children’s and young adult sections,” he said. ‘I believe this practice must stop. Adding two at-large members would better represent the people of Anderson County.”

The Library Board meets six times a year on the second Monday of the month at 5:30 PM at the Anderson Main Library: January, March, May, July, September and November.

Meeting dates and times are subject to change.

Travis Rose covers Anderson County for the Independent Mail. Reach him by email at trose@gannett.com.

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