Noblesville School Board appoints teacher to Hamilton East Public Library board

Bill Kenley
Bill Kenley

The Noblesville School Board appointed Noblesville High School teacher Bill Kenley to the Hamilton East Public Library board in a 3-2 vote during its Aug. 15 meeting. The board did not re-appoint Laura Alerding, who had been an advocate of the library’s policy of relocating certain books from the young adult section to the adult section.

School board member Misti Ray and Alerding voted against appointing Kenley.

“Noblesville Schools has the authority to appoint to the Hamilton East Public Library board because we are an important academic institution in the community,” Marnie Cook, executive director of marketing and communications at Noblesville Schools, stated in an email to Current. “These appointments have traditionally been filled by educators and it is unusual for a board member to hold one of the seats.”

Although board members typically rotate committee assignments, Cook said those who supported Kenley’s appointment decided to revert to a past practice of appointing an educator to the HEPL board.

Kenley has been a writing and literature teacher for more than 25 years, is a published author and the founder of a community literary magazine. Some members of the public who spoke at the meeting supported appointing someone with library or teaching experience to the HEPL board. Twenty-six people spoke during the public comment period: Fourteen people supported Alerding or the library’s book policy, and 12 wanted a new appointee or were against the book policy.

One of the speakers, Scott Perry, a 2006 Noblesville High School graduate, supported Alerding, stating the need to protect children from certain material.

“I think the statement is, yes, we need to protect our freedom of choice, but we also need to protect our freedom of innocence,” said Perry, noting, like other speakers, regulations that prevent access to products like alcohol and cigarettes to children.

Many speakers, like Laura Mongon, who did not support Alerding complained about the library’s policy.

“My feelings and my thoughts about what I need to do and what morality should be should not overarch everybody’s thoughts and everybody’s role,” Mongon said. “The role of the library is to be for the public, it is a public library. It is not for you or me, it’s for you and me.”

The next public Hamilton East Public Library meeting is Aug. 24 at the Noblesville location. The next school board meeting is Sept. 19 in the Educational Services Center Board Room.