After months of debate, public protest, and letters of support from the Kansas Library Association, OIF, and ACLU of Kansas, the St. Marys City Commission voted to renew the lease for Pottawatomie Wabaunsee Regional Library for another year.
The current lease was set to expire on December 31, and renewal was in question because of demands from members of the commission that the lease include a clause demanding the removal of “socially divisive” content, such as materials dealing with racism, LGBTQ+ issues, and sexuality. Commissioners also proposed a clause that called for an oversight group that would determine “whether or not texts and programs in the public library are up to community standards.”
Members of the community attended commission meetings to voice their dissent, resulting in packed meetings. Most attendees supported Pottawatomie Wabaunsee Regional Library and renewal of the library’s lease without restriction. The Kansas Library Association, OIF, and the ACLU of Kansas sent letters of support. The commission voted on December 6 to renew the lease without the objectionable clauses, indicating that “the outpouring of public support for the library informed their decision.”
ALA appreciates the decision of the St. Marys City Commission to extend the library’s lease without restriction, and we will continue to support library staff and the residents of St Marys City as they work to keep the Pottawatomie Wabaunsee Regional Library in their community.
The KLA and OIF letters appear below. You can view the ACLU of Kansas letter here.