Vanderburgh County Council replaces library board member over Drag Queen Story Hour

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(Photo from Drag Queen Story Hour Facebook page)

EVANSVILLE — The Vanderburgh County Council have replaced their appointed library board member in response to the the Evansville-Vanderburgh Public Library’s planned Drag Queen Story Hour.

Local media reported that some community members opposed to the story hour demanded library board members be replaced, saying they hadn’t done their job in preventing Drag Queen Story Hour.


The Vanderburgh county council declined to re-appoint Barbara Williams to the board at a meeting Wednesday afternoon.

Library trustees serve four-year terms. Williams was at the end of hers, and instead of re-appointing her, all but one councilmember voted to appoint Richard Clements in her place.

Councilman Tom Shetler says Drag Queen Story Hour revealed the board hasn’t been doing its job. He says it’s like peeling back layers of an onion.

Shetler believes the new appointee will hold the library more accountable and will think hard about the story hour. “I think that he’s going to look at it in a very sound, reasonable way and he’s going to weigh it all out,” he says.

The Tri-State Alliance, a LGBTQ rights group supporting the story hour, was not happy about the decision.

“Patrons of the library have a right not to reach a book or go to a library program,” TSA president Wally Paynter told the Eagle. ‘It is different when a patron says … I don’t want other people to be able to read this book or attend a program. And what is different about this program is that it is LGBTQ community members doing the program.”

The TSA said that a local anti-LGBTQ minister was supporting the new trustee.

Paynter said this was one board member out of seven, so much of the board is still unchanged. While the library board hasn’t taken formal action, it has been informally supporting the event. “One person out of seven,” Paynter said. “Won’t stop it but won’t be as easy.”

As of Wednesday, Drag Queen Story Hour is still set for Feb. 23 in Evansville.



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