Flathead County

County Commission Reappoints Adams to Library Board

Over the last several years the library board has almost entirely turned over and the library has gone through four different directors

By Micah Drew
Board Chair Doug Adams at an ImagineIF Libraries board meeting in Columbia Falls on Oct. 27, 2022. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

The Flathead County commissioners at their June 4 meeting reappointed Doug Adams of Whitefish to a second term on the Flathead County Library Board of Trustees. The commission voted 2-0 to approve Adams’ appointment to a second five-year term, with Commissioner Pam Holmquist absent.

Adams received an unanimous recommendation from the sitting trustees, three of whom he listed as his references for the position. During the commission meeting, two members of the public spoke up in support of the other applicant for the position, Mellissa Wood.

“I think [Adams] has five years of experience through some tumultuous times with the library, and so I am supporting that,” said Commissioner Randy Brodehl, who recently held a campaign event with Adams. Adams is running for Montana State Senate against longtime Whitefish legislator Dave Fern.

According to Adams, two different county commissioners requested he apply for the library board over the years, but it wasn’t until he found himself upset over the way the board handled a controversial children’s book, “Prince and Knight,” a gay-inclusive fairytale, that he put his name forward for an open position in 2019. Adams said the people responsible for reading the book during storytime should be fired and in his application he stated the board had lost its objectivity and neutrality.

When the county appointed Adams to the board in 2019, the three-member commission opted to go against the library board’s recommendation to retain incumbent trustee chair Michael Morton, who had spent nine years on the board.

“It’s important we appoint board members who we believe represent the citizens of Flathead County and who will also be excellent be team players for the library,” Brodehl said at the time. “We can’t base our decisions on the desires of the board.”

Since Adams’ appointment, the library board has almost entirely turned over and the library has gone through four different directors, several of whom took issue with perceived overreach by the trustees. Adams has helped secure county funding for a new Kalispell branch of the Flathead County Library and overseen many changes to the library system’s governing policies, including disassociating the library from the American Library Association, a national nonprofit group that advocates for libraries and librarians.