No word on whether library board will discuss diversity statement
Whether a diversity statement that set off a two-week social media storm, and resulted in up to 1,000 protesters in Minden last weekend, gets a hearing before the Douglas County Library Board of Trustees on Aug. 25 has yet to be written.
“I don’t know if the diversity statement will be on the agenda,” Librarian Amy Dodson said Tuesday. “I don’t have any word from them.”
The statement, which included a sentence about supporting #Black Lives Matter, has never been discussed by the trustees. The July meeting where it appeared on the agenda was canceled.
“Any suggestion that the board drafted, offered input or voted on the statement, as individuals or as a body, is inaccurate,” Library Board Chairwoman Kathryn Garrahan said not long after the debate broke.
Under Nevada’s open meeting law, agendas must be posted three working days before a meeting.
The statement’s inclusion in the agenda prompted Sheriff Dan Coverley to publicly respond in a letter that caused members of the Carson City #blacklivesmatter organization to call a demonstration in Minden on Aug. 8. No more than 50 of the demonstrators turned out during the day that saw hundreds of the sheriff’s supporters take to the streets in the Douglas County seat.
On Tuesday, Dodson said the proposed statement that #black lives matter was first posted by the library in June when libraries across the nation were issuing statements.
“We joined in by writing our own statement,” she said. “We spent a lot of time on it.”
The statement was posted to the library’s social media in June and within a few hours she was advised by the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office to take it down and place it on an agenda.
The board was supposed to discuss the statement with the passage at their July 25 meeting, but never got the chance.
Dodson said she received Coverley’s letter the same time it was posted to the sheriff office’s web site.
“I was surprised by the sheriff’s letter,” she said. “It was simply up as a matter of discussion.”
Dodson said she is taking responsibility for the statement.
“I’m the one who drafted it,” she said. “In June after we took it down, the county said to put it on the agenda and talk about it.”
Dodson said she was taken aback at the reaction to the statement.
“I was very surprised at some of the feedback we’ve gotten,” she said. “It ran the gamut from very supportive to hateful. We’ve received hundreds of emails and phone calls since it started circulating. We’ve received some letters, both positive and negative.”
Some of the letters asked how the library could adopt the statement, when it was up for discussion.
“We were just going to talk about it,” she said. “Some of the really negative hateful messages surprised me.”
Dodson said the library staff has been holding up well under the circumstances.
“It’s hard to take these phone calls and comments over and over again, when they’re so negative,” she said. “They’ve been real troopers. They are very strong and resilient and professional through the whole thing. They’ve done an excellent job.”
Dodson said she hasn’t received any indication the trustees will ask her to leave.
“I was just doing what other libraries were doing,” she said. “When it was written in June and things were very different. I love my job and I don’t want to go anywhere. I expect to hear various opinions, but I hope to stay because I love Douglas County and I love the library.”
On Satuday, Coverley said the Sheriff’s Office supports the library and its mission.