ATTENTION NORTH SHELBY COUNTY LIBRARY RESIDENTS

Your Shelby County Legislative Delegation believes in the importance of local public libraries in our county, and we are working to keep them healthy and well-funded.  We know many of our community members have personally volunteered hours and worked hard to raise money to support the local libraries.  We want to work with you to strengthen the libraries in our county.

The Shelby County House delegation filed local bill HB 89 that would amend the current local code to change the election of the North Shelby County Library board to be consistent with the election of public library boards statewide.

This proposed amendment to the law has been years in discussion. We did not make this decision lightly but talked with Shelby County officials, former legislators involved in the original legislation and our Legislative Services Agency in Montgomery to listen and learn everything we could. HB 89 was unanimously recommended by the Shelby County House Delegation to bring the North Shelby County public library governance in line with every public library in the state of Alabama. 

All public library boards statewide are selected by county or city elected officials, or the legislative delegations in which the libraries operate. This bill amends the current law to allow for the North Shelby County library board to be selected in the same manner as every other library in the state, by elected officials representing the library district.  

Current law calls for the board to be elected by public vote of district residents every two years.  Since the formation of the district in 1988 board members have not faced any opposition, thus eliminating the need for public elections.  The law allowed the current board to select replacements as needed when a member drops off the board.  Limited turnover of the board and lack of an appointing body has allowed the board to operate with no oversight. 

Under the current statute, there is no oversight to the board, and we believe that every dollar of tax payer money should have the same checks-and-balance that other publicly funded entities have to meet. An appointed library board would provide that accountability.

The selection of library board members by the legislative delegation will give more residents in the district an opportunity to serve.  We also are expanding the expertise of the board by requiring one member to have a business located within the library district.  For many years the business community within the library district has felt underrepresented, despite also being subject to the district library fee. Their inclusion will help the library board to have fair and equitable representation.

Residents and business owners need transparency in the collection of dues, fines, and penalties. The public deserves to know that the tax dollars funding the North Shelby Library District are spent responsibly, with regular financial audits, full public disclosure of income, expenses, and financial statements. 

We realize the importance of selecting a North Shelby Library Board that will work with Shelby County officials, Shelby County Commission, residents, and business owners to properly oversee the collection of required district library dues.  The collection of library dues, fines, penalties, and liens on homes has been a source of concern for residents and businesses in the library district since the formation of the district and we believe that the changes HB 89 will implement will provide oversight and transparency.

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