Library trustees clarify they never got a chance to discuss diversity statement |

Library trustees clarify they never got a chance to discuss diversity statement

The diversity statement that prompted a response from Douglas County Sheriff Dan Coverley that became national news was never placed before the Douglas County Library Board of Trustees for discussion.

“I want the public to know the draft diversity statement in question was initiated by the library director and staff,” said Board Chairwoman Kathryn Garrahan. “The July 28, 2020 Discussion of Possible Diversity Statement agenda item was to be our first opportunity to discuss the statement, give our input and receive community input. Any suggestion that the board drafted, offered input or voted on the statement, as individuals or as a body, is inaccurate.”

Garrahan said that her board’s goal has always been to guide the public library in promoting literacy and to provide the best access to information, services, and programs for all members of our community.

On Thursday, The Record-Courier obtained a copy of a letter written by Attorney General Aaron Ford regarding Sheriff Dan Coverley’s letter to the board regarding the diversity statement.

In the letter, Coverley threatened to withhold law enforcement response to the library if the statement, which contained #black lives matter in its text. 

Coverley walked that back a day later, saying that the sheriff’s office would respond.

In a joint statement, Librarian Amy Dodson and Coverley indicated they met and discussed the issue.

Ford said he welcomed Coverley’s subsequent statement that the sheriff’s office would respond to calls at branches of the library.

“I believe, as do many of my fellow elected officials and members of law enforcement, that Black lives do matter,” Ford said. “And no government official should issue a threat – either real or perceived – to withhold public services simply because you believe and say it. Thus, I welcome Sheriff Coverley’s further statement indicating that the library will continue to receive police services. That is undoubtedly the right outcome.”