Letter to the Editor –

Appearing in “The Posey County News” newspaper October 11, 2005.


“Consider choices for Poseyville Library board”


            Posey County Commissioners, Posey County Council and North Posey School Board members, each of you have appointed certain Board Members to the Carnegie Library Board in Poseyville.  As an American Citizen, a Citizen of Posey County, and a person that lives in Poseyville, I plead with you all, “Consider the choices you have made and the future choices you will make regarding people that will be appointed to sit on the Library Board.”  “Also, think of the Poseyville community and its growth for all future generations”.

            The most recent change in the Poseyville Carnegie Library came the week of September 19th.  In that week the Library Board chose to immediately fire the Library Director, Stan Campbell.  With that firing came the close of the Poseyville Carnegie Library.  On September 28th, the President, Bill Heilman, stated that the Library should hopefully open the next day.  Your Carnegie Library has now been closed going on 4 weeks.  This irrational and rash firing has greatly affected our community.

            I want each of you to think about the students going to North Elementary, North Posey Jr. High, North Posey High School, and anywhere in this county or our closest county, Gibson…..where are they to go for information???  School has now been in progress for over 6 weeks, and these children have no Library in this part of the county!  Many children have no computer at home, very few books, and a need of a safe place to go until many parents get home from work.  This is definitely not a Board that is aware of their Library, community and the Library patrons.  This is very poor planning!

            Why would a Library Board, immediately fire their Library Director? 

On September 28th, in the Evansville Courier, Bill Heilman, President of the Library Board has cited “that the board had lost confidence in Campbell’s ability to perform the duties of Library Director, and it is a personal matter.”  Here is a Library Board stating problems with a director, but not communicating nor engaging a solution before an immediate firing.   They didn’t even tell him why he was fired.  I question their communication abilities, and their inability to give straight answers to the press and those at the Library Board meeting on Oct 4th. 

I would think the Board would have been directing their time and efforts to find a suitable Director, before firing Stan and locking the front door, under the pretense of a state audit.  The Library Board President, Mr. Heilman, stated this reason for closed doors.  Did he or any of his board check to see what could be done to accommodate the public who needs the Library?    The state audit is only a few days and can be done with a Board Member present, minus a Director, the auditor in a roped off area, and the library doors left open to the public.  This has been done in another Carnegie Library.  Also, this state audit has not taken 4 weeks…it was done within a matter of a few days.  To date the Board still has a sign on the door stating “CLOSED FOR AUDIT”.

This Library Board is self serving.  Do they maintain these positions in the best interest of the Library and the Poseyville community, or just for themselves to look good and flaunt a prestigious title of Library Board Member?  Do these Board members do what they think and want, or do they check the policies implemented for this Library.  I certainly wasn’t impressed of their board meeting, which was run by a few members. 

They put an ad only in the Posey County News, to advertise the Director’s position, and at the Oct. 4 board meeting cited they didn’t have much money to advertise.  This shows you how much your LIBRARY BOARD KNOWS ABOUT A LIBRARY.  You can advertise for free on the Indiana State Library website.  Also a Library usually has an allotted amount in the advertising fund. 

At the October 4th board meeting I was in awe at the children’s section.  In the past the shelves were full of books.  The shelves are empty.  Why is Ms. Folz, the treasurer and a few others, removing books from the shelves?  When Ms. Folz was asked why books in the children’s section were gone and shelves virtually empty, she stated, “Those books had not been checked out in 20 years!”  To Ms. Folz, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but many, many libraries across the United States have thousands of books that have not been checked out for quite some time….they can be on those shelves, considered as older referenced and picture books.  What have you done with these books???  In addition, Ms Folz has no clue what the children’s section was like 20 or even 10 years ago….maybe she should engage her brain before her mouth.   

At what point did the Library Board make this decision to pull books from the shelves?  There was no decision at the Oct 4th meeting and no mention in the prior minutes at the Sept meeting.  And this started after Stan was fired. 

How long have these people been on this board and do they honestly know what is expected of them?  And just what did Mr. Heilman mean when he said “Stan’s firing was a personal matter”?  Or did some of them just not get along with Stan?  You know the prior Librarian, Carol Lamar, had similar complaints about her board.  In the state of Pennsylvania an appointed Board member must go through a Library Board course, provided by the state, to assure that they know what they are doing and what is expected of them.   

The Library’s Board Members should be aware of their surroundings and what they are governing.  Listening to what they had to say in their recent meeting versus what they are stating to the outside world is two different things.  They are not consistent, but only self serving.

Mr. Heilman stated in the Courier, that some Board members were concerned about books inappropriate for young children??  Any book can be determined inappropriate for any child or adult.  What books in your school libraries are inappropriate for some children?  I was told after the Library Board meeting by a newspaper reporter that the board had stated after the meeting, they had found an erotica book in the children’s section.  I certainly can understand the concern, but who placed it there could be an adult, a child, anyone who looked at it and didn’t want to check it out or return it to the Librarian to be filed, lest someone know what they were looking at.  Is Stan to blame?   Did he not have enough time to go through the entire library each night and correct all of the books in wrong places…or maybe Stan was setup?

Mr. Heilman stated in the Oct 5th press release, “The board was recently concerned with the disarray and lack of cleanliness”.  And they fired him immediately?  Remember, Stan and one part time helper was all that was there.  Where has Ms. Folz and other board members been?  If you are committed to being on a board, I would think you could do something, like clean, and help organize books, etc…or get a cleaning person.  Ms Folz has certainly found the time the past four weeks to remove many, many books from the shelves…she has been at the Library every day, and all day long….and with the Doors closed!!!  Where were she and the others when things were unclean and unorganized?   I challenge this Board’s motives and their rash thinking.

Ms Emge stated in the same Oct 5th press release, “There is so much more to this than we cannot even begin to discuss”.  If there is so-o-o much, I would think you would have been doing something before now, and not an immediate firing.  And just where have these Board Members been?  Apparently by that statement, they only went to the meetings once a month and never darkened the library door again…then all of a sudden let’s fire someone, because recently books are in disarray.

The Library Board member is a very important position.  This is an eye opener, not only to Poseyville, but other areas that have libraries.  Get involved and find out who is in your Library.  Our freedom of speech and what we can and can’t look at in a Library can be quickly taken away by this Board.  Our rights and freedoms to books and media in the Library hinge on the thinking of the Library Board members, which should not be their own personal and religious views.   People in these positions must be able to maintain a good Library and keep an open mind!  Can you imagine what the libraries in the entire United States would be like, if the Poseyville Library Board Members were inflicting their bad judgment and rash decisions on them.

I challenge the appointing Boards of Posey County (Commissioners, Council and North Posey School Board) to reevaluate the Posey County Carnegie Library Board Members that you have appointed.  Please place this community problem on your agenda.  Determine and question more of those serving in these positions and should they remain for the duration of their appointment.  This Library Board is not communicating!  Their competency is lacking and their credibility is completely gone due to irrational behavior.  If a Library Board cannot communicate with a Library Director why he was fired…how can they communicate and make sound rulings that are in the best interest of the Library and the growth of the community.  What else are they not communicating?  What are they not doing, or may be doing to our Library?  What unforeseen censorship of books and media that are now in place in the library could be taken away, or we may never see?

I give everyone a last thought, stated by Andrew Carnegie, upon establishing his first Library, which is specifically stated in the trust agreement….” The Library shall be free to the people forever…..”


Cheryl Colston

Poseyville, Indiana