Library officials across Kentucky exhaled with relief on Friday, March 20, after the state Court of Appeals ruled that systems in two northern counties correctly and legally set their annual tax rate based on a decades-old law that allows revenue to be raised without voter approval. The decision reversed two lower-court verdicts and means the Campbell and Kenton County systems will not have to roll back their tax rates 35 years or more, which would have triggered staff layoffs, branch closures, and other draconian cuts.
A public library in Lawrence, MA., has changed its meeting room policy, eliminating restrictions against religious or political expression in that space, after the city settled a lawsuit brought by Liberty Counsel, a non-profit Christian organization that has championed a number of high-profile conservative political causes in recent years.
Former Queens Library (QL) president Thomas W. Galante filed a $2 million suit against his former employer on November 1. Galante, who was placed on administrative leave by the library board of trustees in September 2014 and fired in December for alleged misconduct and mismanagement of library funds, is claiming breach of employment, among other points.
The Daughters of the Republic of Texas (DRT) in September won at least a temporary victory in an ongoing battle for the control of the historical items held at the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library—now known as the Alamo Research Center (ARC)—located in the historical Alamo complex in San Antonio. The dispute over the collection’s ownership began in July, when the Texas General Land Office (GLO) assumed ownership of the Alamo complex. On September 22 the 407th Judicial District of Bexar County granted the DRT a temporary injunction against the GLO until ownership of the 38,000 books, maps, and flags, artwork, and manuscripts collected by DRT over 70 years can be assessed.
In a Statement of Claim dated July 15, 2014, Joe Murphy—a 2009 LJ Mover & Shaker—named librarians nina de jesus and Lisa Rabey as defendants in a civil lawsuit filed in Toronto, Ontario (de jesus is a Canadian citizen). Murphy is suing the two for $1.25 million in damages–$1 million for general defamation, and $250,000 for aggravated exemplary and punitive damages. On March 25, 2015, de jesus and Rabey both published retractions and apologies to the Team Harpy website, which had previously hosted their joint legal defense fund, as well as to their personal blogs and Twitter accounts.
The McLean County Public Library, a one-branch system in the tiny rural community of Livermore, KY, is a valid special taxing district, a state appeals court affirmed in a Jan. 30 decision, enabling it to continue raising revenue without voter approval. McLean County is one of almost 100 county library systems in Kentucky operating as a special taxing district, so the decision was welcome news for the entire Kentucky library community, which is still awaiting the outcome of another pending appeals court case challenging the funding mechanism.
Within 24 hours of being dismissed by the recently reconstituted Queens Library (QL) Board of Trustees on the evening of December 17, former QL President and CEO Thomas Galante announced via his lawyer Hillary Prudlo that he would sue for wrongful termination. The reorganized board had placed Galante on indefinite, paid administrative leave on September 11, citing an ongoing audit of QL’s finances by New York City comptroller Scott Stringer, and investigations by the city Department of Investigation (DOI) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) regarding construction contracts awarded by the library.
Bringing apparent closure to a months-long fight for control of the Queens Library (QL) Board of Trustees, Judge Frederic Block of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York on Wednesday November 26 dismissed Arrington et al v. Katz, a lawsuit filed in August by six former QL trustees against Queens Borough President (QBP) Melinda Katz and New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.