Conservative campaign forces Georgia librarian from post

Jo Ann Pinder, a completely mainstream librarian and longtime head of the Gwinnett County, Georgia, library system, was recently fired from her job by the library board, with no explanation given, after a local conservative organization set up a website that aimed to “harmonize [their] library system with the conservative values of Gwinnett County families.” A posting in Kathleen de la Peña McCook’s Librarian blog led me to this, and provides some good information on Pinder’s background.

2 comments on “Conservative campaign forces Georgia librarian from post

  1. This sounds like the most repressive, non-community oriented board in the nation.
    –The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
    (06/13/06) reports
    “No more than 10 people will be allowed to address the Gwinnett library board during the public comment section of its monthly meetings, members decided Monday.

    The new rule is among changes the board adopted to a policy that had required library patrons to sign up five days in advance to address the board during its monthly meetings.

    Citizens had complained that the sign-up policy discouraged people from speaking. Two women who had wanted to speak at a March meeting were forced to wait three months for their next opportunity after they missed the March sign-up deadline by less than 24 hours.

    The new policy eliminates the sign-up requirement, but limits how many people can speak at a meeting. Each speaker will get a maximum of three minutes.”
    –The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

  2. I am usually the first to jump on conservatives for trying to dictate policy and control libraries, but there seems to be more going on here. I read some of the other info on the website of the group who wanted to get the system in line with their values. They post a letter from a former (and very disgruntled) employee which details a long list of mismanagement and environmental issues in that system under Director Pinder. Some of the other comments from the Friends of the Library (which the Director dissolved) also speak to the mismanagement. I understand the issues involved in managing a large public system, but if even 1/3 of what they describe is true, the libraries there will be better off without this person leading them.

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