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Noblesville school leaders replace member of library board as it faces reshelving pushback

Laura Alerding and Bill Kenley. (Provided Photos/Noblesville Schools Website)

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — The president of the Hamilton East Library Board will no longer serve on it next month as the Noblesville School Board voted Tuesday night to replace her with a longtime teacher.

Laura Alerding is president of the board of the Hamilton East Library, which has facilities in Noblesville and Fishers. The library board has faced controversy over its reshelving of titles for young adults being moved to the adult section. Alerding had supported the library district’s Collection Development Policy.

The policy requires strict attention be given to nudity, alcohol and drug use, profanity, violence, and sexual content before a book is placed in the children’s or teen sections. The library district in April estimated it would spend up of $300,000 to review all titles in the teen section.

Bill Kenley, an English teacher for more than 20 years at Noblesville Schools, was appointed Tuesday night to serve as the school board’s appointment to the library board.

The Noblesville School Board 3-2 vote to appoint Kenley came after it heard about 75 minutes of public comment about the library’s reshelving policy. Alerding and one other member of the five-member school board, Misti Ray, voted against Kenley’s appointment.

Alerding is a member of the Noblesville School Board who’d been appointed to the library board through Aug. 26. She will continue to be a member of the Noblesville School Board after being elected in November 2020 and beginning her term in January 2021.

She is the only person on the seven-member library board who was elected to a governing body.

Alerding had noted recent criticism from author John Green who wrote the book “The Fault in Our Stars,” which was among teen titles moved to the adult section of the library. She said in a weekend announcement that the book should be moved back to the teen section immediately after an error was made in implementing the Collection Development Policy.

“The Board of Trustees will discuss further what went wrong with the review process at the next public board meeting. No further comments at this time,” Alerding’s message on Sunday concluded.

Library board meetings are generally at 6:15 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of the month, according to the Hamilton East website.

In a related matter, the Hamilton Southeastern School Board had advertised in the Hamilton County Reporter newspaper a special meeting, set for 7 a.m. Aug. 30, to remove a board member. However, the meeting does not appear on the Hamilton Southeastern School Board’s website.

Andre Miksha, a member of the Hamilton East Library Board who was appointed by the Hamilton Southeastern School Board, has told News 8 that the leaders of the Fishers-based school district want to remove him from the library appointment because he’d opposed the Collection Development Policy.

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