Board Questions and Answers

This is a compilation of written questions to the Board and the answers given. In general, these are in the order they were received. Additional information can be found on the North Shelby Library District FAQs linked here:

What is the schedule for regular board meetings?

The only set meeting is the Annual Meeting in October. The rest are dependent on immediate issues and the times of the meetings are based on Trustee’s work schedules. The Board Bylaws which include information on meetings can be found using this link.
*Additional information: meetings are posted at least 1 week in advance on the bulletin boards at North Shelby Library and Mt Laurel Library. Board meetings are also posted on our online calendar which can be found at

What is the board’s policy for deciding what materials are inappropriate?

The Collection Development, Reconsideration, and review policies for the Library are on our website at this link: Collection Development Policy

Does the NSL receive any funding or grants from the Shelby County Commission?

We do not receive any funding from Shelby County. To the contrary, we have paid the County $21,157.00 so far this year for internet and IT services.  This includes the expenses of a county van that delivers materials between the member libraries of the Harrison Regional Library. 

What is the process and dates for qualifying to serve on the NSL Board?

The qualifications for serving as a Trustee are to be a registered voter residing within the District. As to the process and dates, the next election is in September 2024. The Probate Judge will have the exact date of the election as well as how and when to qualify.

Is there at database that could be used to quickly verify dues pays occupants of the library district who want to make comments at the board meetings so the two day advanced sign up would not be needed?

We have no issue determining if a proposed speaker owns real property within the District. We do not have a database and system that would allow payments to be received at a Board meeting. The four day notice requirement allows two days to determine property ownership and assessment billing and two days for someone with a past due account to bring it up to date prior to the meeting.

How does the board define censorship?

Censorship – Limiting or removing access to words, images, or ideas. The decision to restrict or deny access is made by a governing authority. This could be a person, group, or organization/business. Censorship by the government is illegal.

The definition used by the 5th Circuit Court: “censorship—‘an effort by administrative methods to prevent the dissemination of ideas or opinions thought dangerous or offensive,’ as distinct from punishing such dissemination (if it falls into one of the categories of punishable speech, such as defamation or threats) after it has occurred”

What is the process to decide what materials are appropriate for children?

The North Shelby Library does not have any children, thus, does not have any part in the decision as to what materials a parent wants their child to have access to. Our unattended child policy makes the parent the sole decision maker.

How is Reconsideration Committee membership determined?

  • One Alabama-certified K-12 educator
  • One member of the Friends of the North Shelby Library or Mt Laurel Library
  • One North Shelby Library District Librarian
  • One Public Librarian from the community
  • and one patron residing in the North Shelby Library District who is in good standing with the library and current on District Assessments

Has the Book Review Committee been put in place? Are they active yet? Is Kate over this committee? How will the committee function?

The Reconsideration Committee is in place and active.  There are forms available on the NSL website for patrons that would like to volunteer to participate. ( The Director of Library Service is not over the committee but will provide information to the committee and take notes on what books are reviewed and the committee decisions.  Details of the Committee are in the updated policy available on the NSL website. (

How can the committee be confidential if this is a public library receiving funding?
Why would you have a confidential committee with tax payer dollars?

The Library takes the safety and security of its patrons seriously. The names and contact information of people who submit reconsideration forms or statements of concern as well as the people who serve on a reconsideration committee are kept confidential in order to limit the opportunity for harassment from people who disagree with their complaint or the decisions made.

What is the annual cost for North Shelby Library and Mt Laurel Library to be members of the American Library Association? As a district resident, how am I benefitting from that membership (if at all)?

Neither North Shelby Library nor Mt Laurel Library are institutional members of the American Library Association. Since the libraries do not have memberships, we do not have an answer for your question. However, as a resident, you are benefiting by having access to the programs, materials, and services offered by the libraries. Patrons that checked out materials from the libraries saved more than $8 Million for the 2022-2023 year.

How do you choose the organizations for your different community service projects?

Some organizations we work with frequently or have a long-standing partnership such as Grace Klein Community or the Alabama Wildlife Center. Another way organizations get chosen is if a patron or staff member facilitates/suggests the drive. Finally, we get direct requests from organizations.

Explain the Hoopla checkout charge process

Hoopla is a cost-per-circulation electronic resource. Each time a person checks out a book, movie, album, or binge pass, the library is charged a fee. Items generally range from $.99 to $3.00. The library has a set budget we cannot go over each month and hoopla uses that figure to set a daily limit. Each patron can check out up to 3 items each month.

Did the $9658 lump sum bonus benefit all employees? If so, how many?

Yes, each of our 25 employees received a portion of that amount.

If checks are made payable to “Friends” then the funds stay in the respective libraries — correct? Otherwise, all money goes to NSL — correct? If this is true, does Mt Laurel Friends have a budget?

If checks are made payable to the Friends of the Library, the Friends of the Library are the ones who use that money. The Friends of Mt Laurel Library and the Friends of North Shelby Library are separate organizations that have their own boards and budgets. You would need to reach out to the Friends to find out more about how they spend their money. You may reach the Friends of Mt Laurel Library at You may reach the Friends of the North Shelby Library at

Money given to the Mt Laurel Library directly is deposited into NSL accounts since Mt Laurel is run by NSL and does not have a separate bank account. However, we do spend the money for the benefit of the Mt Laurel Library. All memorial gifts from Mt Laurel patrons are spent on books/items for the Mt Laurel Library.  Senator Dan Roberts gave the Mt Laurel Library $5,000 in 2021 and 2022, which was spent on Wonderbooks (print books with built-in audio narration) and STEM items for the library. Donations to Summer Reading pay for programming or provide prizes at the library they were given too. All donors receive confirmation of their gift which states what it was spent on.

What caused the harassment issue in the parking lot?

We cannot speculate what caused the issue but a female patron was followed to the parking lot, blocked into her parking space by a vehicle, and verbally harassed after the October board meeting.

Does the board intend to follow the APLS board and withdraw membership (if any) from the American Library Association?
Will you follow the governor’s instructions to withdraw from the ALA?

The North Shelby Library does not have an institutional membership to the ALA, nor has it ever.

Do you plan to follow the new guidelines regarding children’s books from the APLS director?

Existing policies meet the guidelines in the APLS director’s memo.

How much has the NSL paid to ALA in the last five years in dues, training conferences, or any other reason?

In the past five years, NSL has paid a total of $4,952.29 to ALA for memberships, conferences, training, bookmarks, & posters. This number is 0.07% of our total budget for FY19-FY23. The breakdown can be found at this link: North Shelby Library ALA Expenditures FY18-FY23.

Do you use the current version of the ALA Library Bill of Rights as it pertains to children’s book policies, in your library policies?

We do use the current version of the ALA Library Bill of Rights. However, the privacy portion of the Library Bill of Rights does not apply to minors under Alabama law as parents can access their child’s record to find out what is checked out.

Will you follow the new state aid rules?

Yes, the North Shelby Library follows the administrative code and will follow any changes in the future.

Comments & Questions at Open Meetings

Any resident whose North Shelby Library District assessment is paid in full may speak for a maximum of two (2) minutes on any Library related subject at any regular Board meeting during the public comments portion of the agenda. A resident with assessments owed or any other attendee may leave written comments to be attached to the minutes.
Anyone who wishes to speak must notify the Library Services Director at  at least four days prior to the meeting so your residence and assessment status may be determined and your name added to the agenda.
NOTE: All meetings are open to the public, but they are not public hearings. 

From the Secretary of State (

From Act 2005-40 (
(7) OPEN OR PUBLIC PORTION OF A MEETING. The “open” or “public” portion of a meeting is that portion which has not been closed for executive session in accordance with this act, for which prior notice was given in compliance with this act, and which is conducted so that constituents of the governmental body, members of the media, persons interested in the activities of the governmental body and citizens of this state could, if they desired, attend and observe.

From Act 2022-421 (updating the OMA to allow meeting via electronic means) –
(3) The means of access shall allow members of the public to hear the meeting. A governmental body is not required to allow the public to participate by electronic means to any extent beyond being able to hear the meeting.

From The Alabama State Bar ( Applying to virtually all governmental bodies in Alabama (except the courts), the OMA requires that the public be given notice of government meetings and that the meetings have minutes. A government body can discuss confidential matters in executive session only under limited circumstances. But, not every gathering of elected or appointed officials is a meeting. And, since the purpose of the OMA is to allow the public to see the wheels of government turn, the OMA provides that the public has the right to attend meetings, not the right to speak at them.

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