Library Guy and his pals are preparing to continue their hateful diatribe at Tuesday’s county commission meeting.
Meanwhile, library supporters, disgusted with this attack on Library Director Eric Head and the staff, are also planning to show up en masse to defend the county’s honor.
Before we all get ready to rumble, can we please just take a breath?
The issue – I’m not actually sure that’s what this is – revolves around a small group of narrow-minded people who object to certain displays at the county libraries. An Inverness man, exposed in his former South Florida hometown for his hatred of people unlike him, is leading the charge.
I’ve dubbed him Library Guy, though I heard from someone this week that the moniker wasn’t fair to libraries.
As with most people using deception, Library Guy and his ilk are tossing insults and innuendoes to see what sticks. So far, nothing has but that hasn’t stopped their pursuit of ugliness.
County commissioners really want nothing to do with this, but it can’t be avoided. Sometimes taking on people looking for a fight is the best approach, if nothing else to settle the situation once and for all.
It’s on Tuesday’s county commission agenda at Chairman Ron Kitchen Jr.’s behest. The Library Guy and his gang think that’s because Kitchen is in their corner. The library supporters are aghast that it’s coming back and blame Kitchen for stirring up trouble.
Neither of those groups know Kitchen very well if that’s their conclusion. For one, it’s never safe to assume anything with Kitchen. He is in no one’s corner; Kitchen is famous for saying he has no allegiance with any group.
If I’m guessing, Kitchen wants clarity. Library Guy keeps incorrectly saying Head is defying the county commission’s direction. The county commission has given no direction so there’s nothing to defy.
To the county’s credit, the agenda topic is not about books or displays. It’s about policy, as it should be.
I know “policy” is dull is day-old dishwater but it’s policy that makes the trains run on time. The only role the county commission should play in solving library disputes is ensuring there’s a policy in place that’s fair and easy to understand for folks who complain.
And there is one. It’s very simple and works the way you’d expect. Someone complains about a library material or display, and there’s a review process. First the staff, then the director and then, if necessary, it goes to the library advisory board.
The process is all written on a form called “Citizen’s Request for Reconsideration of Library Resources.” Anyone can fill it out.
You’d think Library Guy would have a pretty decent beef, right? He made the complaint, it went to the staff, then the library director, and finally to the advisory board. He followed the process and still it didn’t work to his satisfaction.
Oh, wait. That DIDN’T happen. He followed NONE of that. He made no complaint to the staff, no discussion with the library director, and the only interaction he’s had with the all-volunteer library board has led to confrontation. Wonder who started that fight.
I’m a super supporter of the libraries and of Eric Head. Eric is a fifth-generation Citrus County native who, as a kid, would leave Homosassa Elementary School at the end of each day and walk across the street to the Homosassa library where his mother was librarian.
Eric breathes life into the Citrus County libraries and that’s where his passion lies. So when someone comes along and bashes the guy, his employees and volunteers for no reason other than to force backward views onto others, well, it just makes you wonder what the real purpose behind all this is.
County Administrator Randy Oliver provided three suggested options for commissioners:
I think we all – at least those with open minds – would agree No. 3 is the worst solution. Might as well close the libraries altogether if we’re going that route.
This is a policy decision. And it’s an easy one. Make the call, commissioners, and move on from this nonsense.
OK I’m done. Let the rumble begin.
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Mike Wright has written about Citrus County government and politics for 35 years.