Nebraska state senators are considering a bill that would give city governments more control over their local library (LB969).
The proposal is facing opposition from the Nebraska Library Association (NLA), which is being joined by the American Library Association.
Steve Fosselman, NLA advocacy committee chairman, says his group is against the measure, because it’s unnecessary.
He says any differences between a library board and city government can be worked out without changing the law.
“The Nebraska Library Commission has a great track record of talking to cities and libraries while they’re involved in situations that need a little bit more management,” Fosselman tells Nebraska Radio Network. “They can help out an awful lot.”
The NLA fears giving direct operational control to city governments would politicize a library’s actions.
“Not only do the city council and the mayor have the power to appoint and approve the library board,” Fosselman says, “but they have the ultimate authority every year, and that’s the formation of the library budget.”
The legislation had a hearing before the General Affairs Committee Feb. 1, but no vote has been taken.