Just the Facts

Library trustees consider policy

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Deena Bouknight

The Feb. 6, 4 p.m. Macon County Library Board of Trustees meeting launched with the remote introduction of Marsha Moxley, the newest trustee approved by the Macon County Commissioners. Moxley shared that she is a nurse by background, has been a resident of Highlands for the last eight years, and that her mother volunteered at the Hudson Library in Highlands for 20 years. 

“I’m very honored to be appointed to this board,” said Moxley.

Trustee Leah Gaston also joined the meeting remotely via a streaming service. All other library trustees, as well as Fontana Regional director Tracy Fitzmaurice were present.

After Macon County Librarian Abby Hardison provided an extensive list of educational and practical services and programs offered at the library, the trustees commenced discussing a topic that has been front and center for several months: Revising the library system’s Collection Development Policy.

Gaston expressed concerns regarding a statement read by Fitzmaurice at the January Fontana Regional Library (FRL) meeting by Attorney Lynn Hogue regarding the Collection Development Policy. One aspect of Hogue’s statement that troubled Gaston was: “It [the policy] cannot consider content or viewpoint in its acquisition or retention decisions.”

Gaston reiterated her December overture, which was unanimously approved by the board of trustees, urged the FRL board to include the following statement in the Collection Development Policy: “The library will neither promote nor censor any particular religious, moral, philosophical, political or social conviction or opinion.” 

Gaston noted that Hogue’s “opinion” is directly in contradiction to the Collection and Development Policy under review as well as her overture, which was approved. “I want you to take that to the ad hoc committee,” she addressed trustee Debbie Tallent. “His [Hogue’s] opinion is an opinion.”

“I would have to agree that Hogue’s opinion is just that – an opinion,” said Diann Catlin, a trustee. “The new Collection and Development Policy affects patrons who pay taxes. It’s important that FRL serves the community, not that the community serves FRL.” 

Tallent assured that more discussions on the Collection Development Policy will ensue at upcoming FRL meetings. A revised policy is expected out this spring. The current Collection and Development Policy is available online at www.fontanalib.org/faq and will be replaced by the revised policy in the future.

Tax services offered

In other library news, volunteers will be assisting taxpayers with their federal and state income tax preparation and filing on Mondays and Tuesdays through Tuesday, April 9. There is no charge for this service.

The program is sponsored by the Macon County Public Library, American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), and the Internal Revenue Service. Taxpayers do not need to be a member of AARP, a retiree, or a senior citizen.

Services are provided from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. by appointment. Appointments can be made online at www.wnctax-aide.as.me, by calling the library’s reference desk at (828) 524-3600, or by visiting the library located at 149 Siler Farm Road, Franklin. After making an appointment, taxpayers will need to stop by the library to pick up a packet of material to be completed prior to their appointment.

The packet also contains a list of items the taxpayer must bring with them to the appointment.

AARP Tax-Aide volunteers “make it easy,” according to Hardison. In most cases, all necessary tax forms are submitted directly to the IRS and state tax authorities during or immediately following the session.

“A total of 509 tax returns were filed at this location last year,” said Hardison, at the Feb. 6 meeting. “This isn’t just us opening up the meeting room. Our branch staff assists with the distribution of tax packets, so it’s a joint effort and we’re really happy to be able to offer this at the library.” 

For additional information about upcoming library meetings in the Fontana Regional Library system, visit www.fontanalib.org.