Fighting breaks out during discussion on closure of site of cancelled drag story hour and alleged staff harassment
H. Rose Schneider, Times Union
Warren County sheriff’s deputies were called to the Rockwell Falls Public Library Tuesday night following what other media outlets described as a heated board meeting in which punches were thrown.
It’s the latest controversy involving the Adirondack community’s public library, which remains closed after staff abruptly quit two months ago, citing harassment following some outcry over a drag story hour.
Warren County Undersheriff Terry Comeau confirmed deputies were dispatched to the library on Main Street in Lake Luzerne. A meeting discussing the library’s reopening was scheduled to be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday. CBS6 News reported that meeting turned violent, sharing video in which a crowd can be heard saying someone hit one or two people before a sheriff’s deputy arrives. Comeau said he had no further information to disclose at this time.
The library has been closed since late September after the director and all but one staff member abruptly resigned. Library Director Courtney Keir previously said at a board meeting harassment of staff had “fallen on deaf ears” when reported to the library board. Since then, the Southern Adirondack Library System announced three of the library trustee seats are vacant — leaving the board without a quorum and effectively unable to function.
The resignations and vacancies followed a heated meeting in April over the library hosting a drag story hour, with a majority of attendees in opposition and saying it would lead to children becoming gay or transgender. The emergency meeting had been scheduled to accept the sudden resignation of the board president and choose short-term leaders. By June, the postponed story hour was canceled.
The difficulties in Lake Luzerne occur as Adirondack Park libraries change with the needs of their communities.