The guy who hates the library but wants on the library board sure knows how to make an impression.
Library Guy, as he will now be known here, showed up at the Citrus County Library Advisory Board’s Oct. 26 meeting looking for trouble, according to numerous emails and conversations I’ve had the last few days.
As I wrote last week, Library Guy is a former Miami resident now living in Inverness. He lost his job as a media aide for the Miami-Dade county commission after he wrote hateful things about LGBT persons and refused to attend sensitivity training.
He complained to the Citrus County Commission in June about a Pride Month display at the library. The commission’s general reaction then, and every time he’s brought it up since then, was uniform support for Library Director Eric Head.
Library Guy is one of two applicants the county will consider today for a spot on the library board; fortunately, the excellent alternative is Shavonna Reid, a recent graduate of Leadership Citrus (as am I from the Great Class of ‘04).
Now Library Guy wants the library director fired, the county administrator fired and county commissioners to Do Something. Basically, Library Guy wants a fight and he’s enlisted others who stand by him.
They’ve written emails to county commissioners demanding action. However, Library Guy is either misinformed about past board nonaction on his smear campaign or he’s simply choosing to ignore it.
Library Guy is portraying himself as a victim from the Oct. 26 library board meeting at Lakes Region Library. It’s a public meeting and he had his say, but then confronted these volunteer board members afterward to demand why he wasn’t answered.
(For the record, there’s no rule that says board members have to say boo to anyone. The law requires time for the public to speak; it doesn’t require a response. While we obviously would prefer interaction between public and official, silence is best when the person asking the questions is just spoiling for a confrontation.)
After the meeting, Library Guy badgered board members to answer his questions. They just wanted to get the heck out, and when Library Guy attempted to video record one board member, she bumped the phone from his hand and it fell to the floor.
(Library Guy posted a 6-second video on YouTube. I’m not going to link it, but I could be convinced otherwise if someone has a thought on that.)
Not surprising, accounts of exactly what transpired differ. The county suggested all involved contact the sheriff’s office if they believe they were a victim of something.
Not that the county itself didn’t respond. The library board meetings are moving from the library to the Lecanto Government Building Room 166, which has video and audio recording equipment in place. So there are no misunderstandings.
I want you to wrap your hands around all that. This is the LIBRARY. Other than the bizarro, larger-than-life New York Times scandal of 2019, the Citrus County Library System is quiet as a mouse and should be. Nothing to see here.
County commissioners should treat Library Guy and his pals that way. Listen politely and move on. This is a distraction caused by people looking for trouble. That’s it. Simple as can be. Easy peasy.
Maybe once upon a time we’d be OK with bantering around this nonsense for a few weeks or months. Today we don’t have that luxury. Citrus County is facing major growth issues concerning water quality, taxes, fees, recreation, sewers, roads, yahoos on the water – the list is seemingly endless.
Give no weight to silliness. Let’s keep our eye on the prize.
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Mike Wright has written about Citrus County government and politics for 35 years.