Dear Greenville County Council,
We are writing to request that this council conducts a review of the actions of Allan Hill, the chair of Greenville County Library, Board of Trustees. We move you to reprimand this and other members of the board of trustees for breaching the integrity of our public library system.
It has come to the attention of Greenville County residents that Mr. Hill may have engaged in corruptive misconduct during his tenure as chair, through direct intimidation of library staff, spreading misinformation, and allegedly coercing with other members of the library’s board of trustees and previous and current members of this council with malice towards the LGBTQIA+ community and librarians in Greenville County.
Mr. Hill’s emotions and distaste were on public display while he reportedly stormed into the Travelers Rest Sargent Branch after he claims to have received a phone call stating sexually explicit materials were allegedly being distributed to children by our county library staff. A claim in which local librarians strongly oppose and take serious offense to. Mr. Hill may have abused his power and influenced the misuse of public services by instigating anonymous tips and a formal police complaint filed with the Travelers Rest Police Department, against the Sargent branch of the Greenville County Library.
Feeling strongly about this issue while appealing his arousals’ to others, Mr. Hill and others may have convinced themselves that filing a false police complaint or asking council to propose a bill is necessary to bring attention to the issue and force the library to remove the materials. They may have gathered support from like-minded individuals who share the same prejudices, and together they clearly have exaggerate the severity of the situation to make it appear more explicit when the library has polices and procedures to ensure children are safe in our libraries and are committed to enforcing them.
It is strongly believed that Mr. Hil has coerced certain members of the library materials review committee, Greenville County Council, the media, Greenville’s republican party, and tens of thousands of others in our community into believing his claims without careful review and/or disclosure of discovery of the library’s policies in which he’s charged with oversight. The books cited in these mounted complaints are not available to children under the current policies of our Greenville County Library and are considered to be out of reach.
According to the library’s user registration policy, users must be 18 years old and present a valid identification to become a patron of the library. Minors must have a parent or guardian obtain their card and may not under any circumstances obtain access to circulations without the permission of an adult.
There are three types of borrowers:
- Juvenile Borrower card: (restricted to juvenile materials only) or
2. Juvenile Adult Borrower card: which includes access to materials classified for young adults and adults and provides access to Interlibrary Loan Service and digital materials such as eBooks and eAudiobooks.
When a minor turns 18, photo identification and proof of address will need to be presented for Library staff to update the former minor’s Library card to an Adult card.
3. Infants/Toddlers: A Parent or legal guardian may obtain a free Borrower card (Little Learners card) for a child ages 0-59 months. Only a limited number of Easy and Juveniles books and Juvenile music CDs may be borrowed with a Little Learners card.
This card does not provide access to digital materials, public computers or Interlibrary Loan Service. A Parent or legal guardian may upgrade a Little Learners card to a Juvenile or Juvenile Adult card when a child is five years old.
For over 100 years, Greenville County Librarians have ensured our libraries are safe and without bias. Literacy professionals should be making decisions about our media circulations and parents should be making decisions about the materials we decide to read with or allow our children to consume.
The collective trustees’ lack of research and knowledge into the overall operational structure of our public county library has spotlighted a discriminatory target against the LGBTQ+ population of our community and painted our librarians with slander. It has been reported by sources from within the library that threats of violence have left them feeling unsafe, harassed, and disrupted in their workplace.
These fatal, yet uneducated, and biased decisions will soon become recommendations before likely official amended policy without intervention and review of intention. What is the problem this board is attempting to resolve and under whose request was this attention warranted?
The timing of this fuss is delivered in conjunction with over 350+ other worrisome recent state and federal attacks on transgender youth from legislatures around the country. The decisions of our library’s materials review committee and board of trustees is deeply concerning and is in mirrored contrast to the vision described by this council which oversees the trustees aforementioned. Mr. Hill’s actions have been accompanied by immeasurable public humiliation through press, social spread, and unfounded publicly recorded claims. This evidence of malice should weigh heavy on the desk of each official in consideration. Instead, the attention of this council has remained dormant after publicly stating it’s awareness to this broad issue as it relates to diversity in our community.
The published vision described by this council states, “A thriving, vibrant, diverse community with abundant opportunities for unmatched quality of life that blends tradition and innovation.”
The materials review committee made a motion to amend its “Collection Development and Maintenance Policy” then amended the motion to remove access of any media depicting gender transition or promoting sexual identity from anything other than that in which one is naturally born. The committee plans to propose it’s recommendation to the full board in three weeks. Citing supreme court case law, this committee has been apparent about its lack of knowledge, resource, and input from the LGBTQ+ community or allies. It is our dissent that this board has overstepped its authority. Perhaps before imposing new policies, this committee and board should review its existing policies and trust librarians and to make the determinations based on their experience, networked professionalism, and reputation for doing so for our public library system in Greenville County.
Committee member and trustee Mrs. Marcia Moston claims the library received numerous complaints, but according to library staff in a special meeting on December 5th, 2022 we noted library staff attesting to zero recorded complaints using its official grievance process.
Susan Ward, President of PFLAG Greenville has educated and been of great resource to lawmakers across our state as well as this council. When she offered to be a source of education and information to the committee while the attendees were packing up, the members gestured unresponsive and blank.
Representation is important for trans kids because it provides them with positive role models and examples of people who share their experiences and identities. When trans kids see themselves reflected in media, literature, and other forms of representation, it can help them feel seen, heard, and validated.
Furthermore, representation can also help to challenge harmful stereotypes and misconceptions about trans people that are often perpetuated in mainstream media. By providing more diverse and accurate representations of trans people, we can help to combat stigma and discrimination and create a more inclusive and accepting society.
Did You Know?
Librarians are passionate advocates for literacy and lifelong learning. They understand the critical role that libraries play in promoting education and providing access to information, and they are committed to ensuring that libraries remain relevant and valuable community resources. This isn’t about books or banning them. This is just another attack on children who identify as LGBTQ+, transgender, and gender non-confirming.
As taxpayers and frequent library patrons of the Greenville County Library, we are deeply concerned about these allegations and believe it is essential that the council takes swift and decisive action to ensure that the library operates with the utmost integrity and accountability.
We respectfully urge this council to conduct a thorough internal review of Mr. Hill’s actions and hold the board of trustees and its deciding committee members accountable for any breaches of their fiduciary duty and make your findings known to the public. Additionally, we encourage the council to take all necessary steps to train and review the knowledge of trustees and restore public confidence in the library and ensure that it remains a vital resource for our community, including but not limited to the LGBTQ+ and specifically transgender population of Greenville County.
Thank you for your attention to these matters. Please reach out to us if you would like additional resources related to this post.