Evansville Vanderburgh Library Trustee Loses Seat Amid Drag Queen Story Hour Controversy

Feb 6, 2019

Credit Isaiah Seibert / WNIN

A trustee on the board of the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library (EVPL) has lost her seat amid controversy over a library event that will feature drag queens and kings reading to children. The Vanderburgh county council declined to re-appoint Barbara Williams to the board at a meeting Wednesday afternoon.

Library trustees serve four-year terms. Williams was at the end of hers, and instead of re-appointing her, all but one councilmember voted to appoint Richard Clements in her place.

Councilman Tom Shetler says Drag Queen Story Hour revealed the board hasn’t been doing its job. He says it's like peeling back layers of an onion.

Shetler believes the new appointee will hold the library more accountable and will think hard about the story hour. "I think that he’s going to look at it in a very sound, reasonable way and he’s going to weigh it all out," he says. 

Councilwoman Stephanie Terry was the only one to vote against Clements’ nomination, but she said during the meeting that she had nothing against the nominee.

"Not reappointing Barbara Williams is a great loss to the EVPL board. She was one of the most qualified trustees that they had," she said. "Good things are happening at the library…and I believe that it’s due in part to some of Barbara’s contributions."

Williams couldn’t be reached for comment.

The story hour is scheduled for Feb. 23 at Evansville's North Park library.