The closure of the Rockwell Falls Public Library in Lake Luzerne, New York, stemmed from a controversy surrounding a drag queen story hour and raised questions about transparency in library funding.
The Rockwell Falls Public Library in Lake Luzerne, New York, has found itself at the center of a community upheaval, leading to the sudden closure of the library.
They’ve Been in Trouble Since April
The library’s troubles began in April when it posted an invitation on its Facebook page for a “Drag Queen Story Hour.”
Books Focus on Self-Identity
The event featured a drag queen named Scarlet Sagamore who was scheduled to read children’s books, including “Red: A Crayon Story,” which focuses on themes of self-identity.
Some Parents Supported the Event
This announcement ignited a passionate debate within the community. On one side were parents who supported the event, advocating for diversity and inclusion.
Others Say It Isn’t Appropriate
On the other side were parents who vehemently opposed the program, arguing that it was inappropriate for public property and should not be funded with taxpayer dollars.
Parents Poured Into the Meeting
The library board meeting that followed the announcement was packed with concerned parents from both sides of the issue.
Parents Raised Concerns
One parent voiced his concerns, saying, “I do try to love, because Jesus loves, the people who are different from me who are on the other side of this issue.”
Shouldn’t Be on Taxpayer’s Dime
They continued, “If somebody wants to take it off-site, a private building, a private place, somebody willing to sponsor this, I’m not even going to necessarily hold it against that business, but it should not be, in a divided community on public, taxpayer dime.”
The Library Was Taking Funds From the Schools
Amidst the growing controversy, it was revealed that the Rockwell Falls Public Library was being funded through taxes intended for the school system.
Library Received Nearly $200,000
Lake Luzerne Town Supervisor Eugene Merlino disclosed that the library received $190,000 in funding through an additional tax levy “through the school system,” which had been approved by residents through a referendum.
The Story Hour Event Was Postponed
As tensions escalated, the library announced on April 13 that the drag queen story hour event had been postponed, and eventually, it was canceled altogether.
Concerns Over Library’s Finances
The episode had already raised questions among parents about the library’s financial transparency and accountability.
Library Staff Felt Unsafe
During a July 18 board meeting, Library Director Courtney Keir, who has since resigned, mentioned that the library staff felt unsafe and “harassed.”
Harassment Was About Finances
It became evident that the “harassment” was less about the drag queen story hour and more about the lack of financial transparency and accountability in the library’s operations.
Where Does the Money Go?
Local resident Colin Hagadorn expressed the concerns of many parents, saying, “Out of our school tax money, $190,000 goes to this library every year, and we just want to know where the money is and have it be accounted for.”
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