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Bonneville County Library Board Meeting


by : Reporter G3, G4

Bonneville County Library Board Meeting - Dec 14, 2023

Electrical Issues

Michelle Tollman, the Director, started the meeting by reporting to the board they are having a few electrical issues, a couple of blinking lights, in the Ammon location and will need to have some work completed. When this is done, she is looking for permission to increase the number of charging outlets available to patrons

2023 Audit Results

Idaho law requires all local government agencies submit to an audit on a regular basis. The periodicity of the audits is based upon the annual expenditures of the agency. The Bonneville County Library system is required to perform the audit annually. The results of the 2023 Audit will be reported in the January meeting of the board. One issue of significance is the cost of the audit. It cost the Library almost $10,000 for this audit. Bonneville County Library does not fall into the “small government entity”. But the burden is on other small government organizations. Thoughts were that if you can use an accountant and then have an Audit every few years would reduce the cost.

Personal Research regarding Audit:

This can be a substantial burden for small government organizations. The Idaho Statute requiring this audit is 67-450A and 67-450B (

The periodicity of the audits is based upon threshold values of $150,000 for bi-annual audits and $250,000 for annual audits. These values were put in place in 1993. When adjusted for inflation, these values would be $318,738 and $531,230 in 2023 dollars. Consideration should be made to submit a legislative change to update the threshold values for audit requirements in our small government agencies.

Policy Issues

The board discussed a policy for campaigns seeking people to sign petitions on library properties. Last month a group had come in seeking permission to ask library patrons to sign a petition. Michelle spoke with the owner of the building for their position. The property owner stated that petitioning or campaigning is not allowed to take place on the property.

Board Discussed a need for a “Patron’s Code of Conduct” within the policy.

Director’s Speaking Engagements

There was some concern by some members of the board that the Director’s speaking at local venues concerning the Bonneville County Library policies and goals for the community may be inappropriate. This topic generated a lot of discussion. Some board members believed that the Director’s recent speech to the Stand Up for Idaho group was well done, depicted the Library system in a positive light, and highlighted the Library’s (I will use the capitol “L” Library, to imply the entire organization of the Bonneville County Libraries) goal to serve the needs of the entire community in a balanced way. Others felt that any speech of this type could be potentially inflammatory to members of the community

Several key points are as follows:

  • The information from the American Library Association (ALA) can often be misleading when quoting requirements of the law. The ALA states that the Library must proceed with caution and seek legal advice when making policy that will direct labels or designations of certain books for adult only or designations of parental advisory required for check-out requirements before minors can view them.

Reporter’s Personal Research

  • Guidance for what constitutes “obscene” materials is found in Idaho Statute TITLE 18, Crimes and Punishments, Chapter 15. Children and Vulnerable Adults, (

  • While this Statute is fairly specific on what constitutes obscene materials it does contain some language which muddies its interpretation. These phrases include materials that “appeals to the prurient interest of minors as judged by the average person, applying contemporary community standards;” (18-1514, para 6 (a)(1)) and “which are patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community with respect to what is suitable material for minors” (18-1514, para 6(a)(2)). Who is the “average person”? Who sets the “contemporary community standards”? How is a person supposed to determine the “prevailing standards in the adult community with respect to what is suitable materials for minors”? We all have our opinion, but we don’t all agree. This is a challenge for our library staff.

  • Another phenomenon the staff sees is that highlighting a book as having potential harm to minors increases the interest in seeing it. Thus, some books that were on the shelf being ignored are suddenly in greater demand just because it hit the news as a “banned book”. This requires some balance from the library staff. The Legislators need to clean up the language in the law.

The board determined that the Director may speak at engagements as she determines is appropriate, using her best discretion, so as to highlight what the Library is doing for the community as a whole and how it is tackling these very real, national issues facing our society today.

Insurance Changes

The director was informed by their insurance company, the Idaho Counties Risk Management Program (ICRMP), that it would no longer cover lawsuits brought against the Library for materials in their collections. This is a concern for members of the board who may be held personally liable for lawsuits of this kind. It was discussed in the meeting that two bills were entertained in the last State Legislative session that would restrict certain materials from being in the library and lift exemptions they currently have to the Title 18 statutes previously cited. This would potentially open them up to criminal and civil penalties for either offering books to patrons or not offering books to patrons (damned if you do and damned if you don’t). Both bills did not pass. There is some indication that similar bills will be submitted in the 2024 legislative session. The board agreed to the following:

  • They would invite ICRMP to the next meeting to further explain the proposed insurance policy changes

  • They would actively work with the legislators and the community on bills that define library policies across the State.

  • Commissioner Reed was contacted. He was there at the inception of ICRMP.

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