Public access radio that connects community members to one another and the world
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Join KDNK for a live interview and listening party with Natalie Spears, Saturday June 1 at 5:30 PM.

Library board candidates interviewed with decision imminent

Garfield County Commissioners and Adrian Rippy-Sheehy, president of the Garco library board of trustees, interviewed nine candidates for a library board vacancy on Tuesday in front of an audience of close to 80 concerned citizens.

"This next question is going to more or less cut to the chase. And that is… federal law, Colorado law, and the Garfield County Library District's bylaws, require the library to protect children from material on the internet that is harmful to their beneficial development. Do you believe there should be the same reasonable policies for children's access to books that are designated for mature audiences only?"

Garfield County Commissioner Tom Jankovsky's question was one of six questions posed to each library board candidate. Here's how they responded. First up was Deb Grizzle.

"I think I would have to have more information because that's a huge subject. I definitely agree with following the laws of the state of Colorado and of the county, but I think that to answer a question off the top of my head, I would need To make sure I had all the facts"

This is Lydia LaBelle de Rios, who attended via Zoom:

"We all have our biases, right? But at the same time, I have to agree that I need all of the information presented to me before I can make a hard decision. And that again, it's not just on me, it's on a team of people. To answer your question, I guess I'd need all of the facts as well."

Jaime Roark:

"I think we definitely should protect our youth. I think that we have a lot of problems in the youth in this nation, and I think a lot of that comes from weak parenting coupled with unfettered access on television and on smartphones and on computers. And I don't think that our library should become an easy out for kids that are running amok.
When I was a child, there was [sic] books that were not allowed just because the librarian shook her head and said, tisk, tsk, tsk. And I think we should go back to that. I think that we should have better control, especially when it comes to our youth."

Cherri Wall:

"You know, I went down to the library and specifically asked a librarian, Where are these books? I had no idea. And so she took me over to the area, the back of the library, and there was a sign there that said Adult Graphic Novels. I said,' Do you know about the book that's in question here?' And she said,' I don't know.' So I stood there for probably five, ten minutes trying to find it. I couldn't find it.
Then I asked her, I said, 'So, what would you do if you came over and you saw a 10-year old standing here?' And she said, 'We would say to this child, How about you let me go over and show you where the graphic novels are in the juvenile section?' And I thought, well, that's good. I said, 'Are you looking over here every so often?'
'Yes,' she said. So that made me feel much better about that situation. So, yeah, I do think kids need to be protected."

Laura Colby responded to a question from John Martin who asked, "Do you feel they should be equal, books and internet?"

She said, "Yes, and we need to look into what those policies are and say, should we have these policies for the books? And then discuss it all and, as long as everything was going along with the mission and the values."

Trish O’Grady:

"Not only books, any material that is deemed obscene by a reasonable person. That could be R rated movies that are found in the library. I don't see why there's been a distinction between the internet, books, and movies. I think the only reason why the Garfield County Libraries have any kind of internet protection policy is because they are mandated by law.
And I believe that we need to have those same laws for these books."

Kirsten Clancy:

"I do see a difference between access and encouragement. I think eliminating materials is a very slippery slope. I think that having one decider of what is considered obscene and what is not is also a slippery slope and a very hard decision to make. But I do understand the spectrum of maturity in children and I think not denying anything but allowing for restrictions"

Hanna Arauza:

"The internet and printed materials on a shelf in a library are simply not the same thing. They definitely both contain material that kids shouldn't be exposed to but you can't apply one policy to the other for a variety of reasons. I think you have to find a fit that works with printed material, with the media that you're talking about, with the communities that you're talking about to ensure that parents are informed, that kids are informed and have resources."

And finally, Myrna Fletchall:

"I think we all want to protect our children. I think it's our duty as a community - members of the community - to protect our children. And I feel like if there is [sic] some rules and regulations for, like, internet and movies, I think there should be rules and regulations for books.
I'm not a fan of banning books because I think that's the freedom and the liberty, you know, of speech. But I feel that there has to be some rules and regulations for kids."

The commissioners will deliberate and make their decision at the regular meeting on Monday, May 6th.

You can find more of this story in this week’s Sopris Sun. A video of the interviews is at theGarfield County website.

Amy Hadden Marsh’s reporting goes back to 1990 and includes magazine, radio, newspaper and online work. She has previously served as reporter and news director for KDNK Community Radio, earning Edward R. Murrow and Colorado Broadcasters Association awards for her work. She also writes for Aspen Journalism and received a Society of Professional Journalists’ Top of the Rockies award in 2023 for a story on the Uinta Basin Railway. Her photography has also won awards. She holds a Masters in Investigative Journalism from Regis University.