Douglas library investigation finds no policy violation

Kurt Hildebrand / Record Courier

An investigation conducted at the request of the Douglas County Library Board found that proposing a diversity statement including #Black Lives Matter didn’t violate its policies, but did reveal communications issue.

Attorney Molly Rezac said the written version of the 50-plus-page report conducted by a Reno law firm would be distributed on Tuesday afternoon.

Rezac said that Librarian Amy Dodson posted the proposed diversity statement to social medial on June 24 but took it down within hours of the initial posting on the advice of the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office.

Rezac said the social media post was within Dodson’s authority, but that it revealed there were some issues between her and the board.

“Some board members feel they don’t receive information about what’s going on at the library,” she said. 

Dodson posted the draft statement for discussion by the library board at their July 28 meeting, which never occurred after Sheriff Dan Coverley’s opposition letter was made public.

In the letter Coverley said that if the board approved the statement that the library shouldn’t bother calling 911 for assistance.

He quickly rescinded that statement, but within hours it was national news, something he said he never expected to occur.

“In this case, it was the open meeting law working,” Rezac said. “There was much misunderstanding among the community. It was a topic up for discussion. I don’t think the library director or anyone could have expected the result.”

One issue Library Board Chairwoman Kathryn Garrahan brought up was whether Dodson would be speaking to the press.

Rezac said that Dodson initially agreed not to talk to the media, but then changed her mind. Garrahan said Dodson told her she wouldn’t talk to the press.

“I do not find in these instances there were violations of policies regarding the statements,” Rezac said. “It is clear the board members don’t feel they are adequately informed. If their relationship was a little bit closer they would have more information overall, especially outside the COVID.”

Rezac recommended board members participate in agenda setting and receive weekly written reports from Dodson.

“The majority of what occurred here was a lack of communication, and that needs to be the key in how we move forward and work toward the betterment of the library, overall.”

Dodson’s evaluation is scheduled to take place on Tuesday.

Three of four callers leaving public comment on the virtual meeting, which was watched by around 50 people, said they supported Dodson. 

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