The State Library Commission sets forth policies and funding priorities that empower the State Library to meets its mission and statutory obligations and to advocate for the State Library and the Montana library and information communities whenever possible.
As your article noted, the commission ruled 5-2 to remove a state requirement that directors of a public library system serving more than 25,000 residents have a master’s degree in library science (MLS). This was a majority vote despite public sentiment to the contrary.
An MLS may be advantageous for large libraries, but it is not an absolute requirement. The State Commission concurred.
This ruling also correctly brings in local control by giving library trustees, and county and city officials, greater latitude in making hiring decisions for their communities. This is community-centered governance. We should welcome this.
It is not a recipe for irresponsible management of our library resources, as there are 30 other quality assurance standards in place. Along with that, the Library Trustees are publicly appointed to be in charge. It is easy to criticize, but harder to provide meaningful solutions.
In that regard, having attended numerous Imagineif Libary Board meetings this past year and being acquainted with a few of the trustees, I can confidently state that they are doing a commendable job. Our Trustees are providing accountable stewardship of our taxpayer resources.
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