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What’s Going On At The Sandpoint Library?

It’s no overstatement to say that some library staff have openly embraced the woke narrative

Sandpoint library

As part of a homeschool civics class comprised of students in the 7th through 10th grade levels, students were asked to write opinion editorials on topics of their own choosing which reflect current themes in governance and policy-making.  

Over the course of the next few weeks the class will be tracking the views of and commentary on their op-eds with the goal of generating as much meaningful community engagement as possible.  

A prize will be awarded to the student who is most successful at generating meaningful community engagement with their op-ed.

Thanks so much for partnering with us to create this experience for the children and teaching them to be actively involved in the governance of their community!

What’s going on at the Sandpoint library?

by HSC23

Libraries are public spaces designed to serve the patrons who live in the community. Rumors are floating around that the Sandpoint Library is, perhaps, overlooking the needs of some of its constituents. There are two ends of the spectrum. On one end, some believe that the library is pushing a woke political agenda. On the other end, some praise the library, its resources, staff, and the range of library events and media. The question becomes, is either side justified in these divergent lines of thinking?

A recent reviewer on Yelp stated, rather pointedly, “It’s heartbreaking to see how libraries are being used to perpetrate a political agenda. Immediately upon walking in, you see two bookshelves loaded with political books that lean heavily to the left. We’ve seen kid’s books with the ideological leanings of the far left as well….”

When taking a look at where the Library stood during Covid-19, I found that during May of 2019-2021, the library continued to enforce wearing masks. This requirement continued after county mandates were lifted. Community response was highly negative and several protests took place. Even now, in 2023, there are still mask boxes throughout the building. In fact, there are multiple staff who still wear gloves and double masks.

When you enter the library, first thing you see is book displays. These displays are important because they create a first impression and an environment about what the library has to offer, seasonal trends and other types of cultural commentary. On a recent visit, I was pleasantly surprised that a broad range of interests seemed to be reflected on the shelves. Books ranging from The New Testament Christian Bible to an autobiography of a transgender person. One wonders if public complaint may, in some way, steer the toning-down of leftist media that has been a frequent fixture on the entry displays.

When talking with the Human Resource Director, she says, “The ongoing and number one goal is to make sure that everything is being represented.” She also made it clear the library is against all censorship. She continued, “We will not remove materials off of the shelves because somebody finds it offensive.”

When questioned how displays are rotated I was told it is completely up to the staff. It is also noted that they are picking books at “random” to put on display. However, it doesn’t seem likely, and it especially does not seem like a fair way of balancing the selections if books are arbitrarily picked. Mainly, what if the majority of the staff tends to select books based on personal biases and tastes that are not necessarily reflective of a wide readership?

For example, when reviewing the children’s area, I gravitated towards the historical section. I pulled 30 books at random from the shelves. Astonishingly, 21 of those were books on the history of African Americans and themes revolving around the Civil Rights Movement and oppression. While it is vital to learn about Black Americans and their history, it is likewise important that every ethnicity has a voice and receives equal representation. I find it odd that so much space seems dedicated to marginalized groups without proportionately celebrating other ethnic groups. It does not require special information to see that the main demographic of Sandpoint and the outlying areas are predominately white. So why are twice as many African-American books than all other ethnicities?

In our discussion, I asked about tailoring books to the main demographic of constituents. The Human Resource Director reported that only one person, the Principal Librarian, makes purchasing decisions for library materials. For example, if she believes a book will sit on the shelf for 10 years she will opt to not purchase it or sift it through an interlibrary loan process to be placed in another library.

Every human has a bias. So leaving all purchasing decisions to one person seems unwise. Perhaps this has to do with funding. Even so, such exclusivity may have an undue influence that impacts every library patron. However, when it comes to executive decisions there is a board of directors. The board may get involved to address complaints or issues that need governance beyond the principal librarian’s job description. Such as the prolonged mask mandates.

All things considered, there is evidence to support the idea that the library leans woke and, at the same time, that its more conservative patrons are also well served. What else can one expect in a town, even as small as Sandpoint, where news of the larger world has an impact on how we live and consume media? It’s no overstatement to say that some library staff have openly embraced the woke narrative. Consequently, this influences the overall environment of the library. As citizens, it is our civic duty and right to use our voice when we are faced with issues and concerns. We can take action by voting, voicing concerns to library staff, filling out forms for the board of directors, or even contacting local politicians. We can also talk with local friends and community members to become more influential and have an impact on public policy regarding libraries. Citizens can also engage in local government to advocate for changes representing public interest. This is the beauty of being a citizen of a community, using your voice to protect, guide, and build a better future for everyone.


Related Article: Idaho MUST Cut Ties With The ‘American’ Library Association


37 Comments on What’s Going On At The Sandpoint Library?

  1. Having been to many library board meetings over the past two years, I can definitely agree there are some issues with how EBCL makes book procurement decisions, and how the books on display are chosen. It is my opinion there needs to be more community oversight in the procurement process, as taxpayer dollars are being used for this activity. The constituent (taxpayer) base for the library is more conservative leaning than liberal and the library would do well to choose representative community members to participate in the process. Placing too much decision-making power on one staff member, and a fairly liberal one at that, is not in the best interest of the community. And, while patron requests are often granted, that too may be a biased representation.

    Prior to the last board trustee election, there were many monthly meetings where the library was asked to protect children by placing books of an obscene, sexually explicit nature in an area restricted to adults, or children with express permission from a parent or guardian. Rather than consider the idea, the library put the word out saying people were trying to ban books. As a result, a swarm of people who had never been to a board meeting started showing up to protest ‘banning.’ A candidate for the board trustee election in May was accused of wanting to ban books, and being an extremist, both of which were untrue.

    In short, the library should be a welcoming place for all, representing the make-up of the local community in how books are procured and displayed. The dialog about this is difficult at this point, but more community involvement could help to turn the tide.

  2. This article is extremely well written! The student did an amazing job! I think it is important to have control over what books are in the library. As well as what books our children are reading. One person should not be deciding this.

  3. This article is written very well. You can tell the author has done quite a multitude of research and is truly versed in the topic. Good job bringing up facts and information about different aspects of the library in such a mature way. Leaning on a single person to pick what books are in our library seems very unreasonable. Also all the controversial materials that are being displayed front and center seem uncalled for. Once again, great article and way to bring up points that really make people think.

  4. I am concerned with a single person making all decisions towards purchasing. This is not a well known point. There should be a committee of at least 3.

    Additionally, as pointed out in an above comment, it seems that the people running the library are pandering to the side that makes the most noise. This can have both sides included, as it seems they pulled specific titles from the shelves prior to the last election, yet returned them to the shelves afterwards. This is very disturbing.

    As a tax funded entity, it is important that the people hold them accountable. This article goes far in achieving that goal. Well done!

    • Shari, I appreciate that you remind us that the public library is a tax-funded entity. This should further enflame the public if there is evidence of political leanings (in any direction). It is a travesty that any Sandpoint citizen should enter the library space and feel disenfranchised by the heavy presence of any particular group (including religious, LGB, political or anything else). The library should be a neutral space where every citizen feels welcome and not forced to celebrate another group’s lifestyle.

      One thing I will give the library is that it opens the foyer displays to anyone. This is appropriate, as it is citizen driven. Many different groups/interests/hobbies are represented, which is quite refreshing, as it’s a variety. However, these are displays designed by private citizens, not endorsed or chosen by the tax-funded library.

      When it comes to the choice of books available on the shelves, the highlighted books on end caps and special displays inside the library, I want to see a neutral variety and not a majority of Trump-hating books (for example) on the front two shelves as I’ve witnessed first-hand. The public has been gaslit so severely on political issues, why is a tax-funded organization doing the same thing as the mockingbird media? I’d rather enjoy my time at the library than feel like I’m being politically (or otherwise) manipulated and influenced.

  5. Well done writing! I do want to mention that we, as patrons of the library, are able to make book requests. I think that may have been missed in your article, questioning, or understanding of responses. The library did a presentation over the summer about how books are selected. While the principal librarian may make the choices outside of patron requests, patron requests are filled. And, according to the numbers, about 50% or more of purchases each month are because of patron requests. I hope everyone here understands they are a part of building the library’s catalog. Is there a book you want? Request it. Otherwise, the library just has to choose for you. Remember, it is Your library, and yes, you do have the ability to help with procurement by filling out request forms.

    • I appreciate you highlighting this! Being able to request books for the library to purchase and make available is something any concerned citizen should do! I would love to see someone organize a quality list especially for children and youth. I would like to request books, but not sure I have the time to research which ones to choose.

    • Thank you for the insightful comment! In the eighth paragraph of this article I underlined how the Principal Librarian makes the decisions of which books will be filtered throughout the library and purchased. I did have prior knowledge about book requests so it seems this may have been a forgotten piece of information. However, it doesn’t change the concern with requests being affirmed or denied by a single person.

    • Yes, Reader thank you for highlighting this! One thing to bear in mind is that even though 50% of books are requested by patrons, these are not necessarily all conservative patrons! There is a very active liberal group that is very enmeshed in library matters and I would guess that they are a majority of that 50%. That, coupled with a potentially left-leaning Librarian choosing the rest of the titles and you have the majority of book selections of the liberal persuasion.

      It is an important call to action for us conservatives to get busy and start requesting quality book titles!

  6. This very news outlet published a well researched description of the agenda being pushed by the American Library Association and how it has infected the East Bonner County Library District back in May. It can be found here (

    Interestingly enough, the book to which the article’s author refers that instructs children on how to upload pics of themselves to sexually oriented dating sites for adults and meet-up with strangers for random encounters had been removed from our library collection around the Library Bard election, but it is back now being made available to children.

    While the library classifies it for “Young Adults,” in library parlance Young Adult equals children aged 12 to 18 (

    This is clear evidence of an agenda to sexualize children (and quite literally groom them) being pushed forward in the EBCL. And the hiding of one of the worst books during the election and then putting it back in circulation afterwards demonstrates just how disingenuous and misleading the library staff were during the election campaign.

    • Ezra, I appreciate your important contribution to this conversation. I was extremely disturbed to learn this information! It seems as though there may have been a concerted effort to conceal a very controversial book in timing with the library board election. This diminishes my trust in library staff significantly. Very sad to hear this! Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

  7. Very interesting article. The Sand Point Public Library is supposed to be there to serve all of the people, not just a select group. I felt the research that was done was fair and proves that the Sand Point Public Library has a tendency to cater to the left.

  8. Excellent article! This was well balanced and informative. I had no idea that the material ordering in the library is done by only one person. That seems problematic regardless of where they stand politically. Thank you for presenting ways to get involved! It’s so important for everyone to be involved and have their voices heard!

  9. This article is well balanced and brings up interesting points! I even wonder if it is *more* fair to assess the needs/wants of the library’s constituency as a whole and then balance the books titles accordingly. For example, if they put out a survey and overwhelmingly 80% of the people wanted Christian-leaning books, would it make sense to offer 80% Christian religious titles, 10% Jewish, X-% whatever other religious books desired (proportionate to survey results)?

    With the current method, it almost seems like the groups in Sandpoint in fewer numbers, with the biggest activism are getting more representation than the majority of patrons. It seems as though the library has an overwhelming number of left-leaning (trans, liberal politics, occult, oppression—focused) books when I would guess a VERY small percentage of constituents actually want these books. The vast majority would likely be better served by other titles. Seems like proportionate title selection based on customer desire/request would be something important to consider.

  10. Very well written article. It’s difficult to not become angry at how the “woke agenda” has overtaken just about every aspect of our lives! I completely agree that we need to stand up & voice our complaints when we see these injustices! I think if more people took a stand and got involved we would see a difference.
    Freedom of speech/press for “all” not just the “woke.”

  11. In regards to the article “What’s going on at the Sandpoint library”
    Eye opening to see that only the principal librarian
    decides what books to be purchased. That alone seems problematic.
    Good article, and it’s definitely a time to let our voices be heard.
    Somebody’s got to put the woke back to sleep!

  12. I have to say that I fully agree with this assessment. I also agree that libraries need to be balanced in their approach as support an agenda or narrative that one of few in control have. The libraries offerings and catalog of books and provided resources should be broad, open and accessible to meet the needs of the community without being weighed or skewed to represent a certain ideological idea or belief system. This is a very well written and provides very fair a reasonable suggestion for correcting the problem along with exposing the libraries potential dangerous and biased leanings.

  13. This was a well written article bringing attention to real issues in public libraries. I like the way the writer provided ways to get involved. There are many ways to make a difference — using our constitutional rights!

  14. I appreciate youth are getting involved in their local community! This article is a great example of this. Way to make a difference! All youth should be invested in educating themselves regarding community policies/governance & stand up and speak out when they want change!

  15. It’s very nice to hear that the library might be representing more varied books based on constituents pressure/complaints/activism!

  16. I appreciate your comment, which aptly highlights the diverse perspectives on the Sandpoint Library. It’s clear that the library is a hub for discussions and varied opinions, reflecting the broader world’s complex issues. Your focus on community engagement is a crucial reminder that our voices matter in shaping the institutions that serve us.

  17. I would have to agree.I have definitly seen an agenda at the Sandpoint public Library. And this artical brings to light the irresponsible motives.

  18. This article dives into the buzz around the Sandpoint Library. Some say it’s pushing a “woke” agenda, while others love the resources. The library’s book displays and one-person decision-making process make for interesting points. It’s a reminder that we can all have a say in shaping our community institutions. Your effort really shows. nice job

    Chris Teller

  19. YES! I wholeheartedly agree that the library has some issues with favoring one side of an argument instead of all sides. I think that the library does in fact need to represent both sides of any argument, whether that be American history, or gender identity. To only allow one side to show their beliefs results in the public having that same mindset.

    We should allow people to have all things available to them, so they can formulate their own ideas on things!

  20. very insightful. The library can be overlooked so easily as being just a tiny government piece but i really appreciate you diving deep into it and not ignoring any of the detail. very well put together.

  21. wow. loved the in depth look into both sides of the story. You didnt go on a rant you simply called into question certain questionable areas in the library system. great job! like The Kind Supporter i also liked the discussion about the mask mandates 😉

  22. Hard to believe this wasn’t written by a college student! Excellent article that is full of unbiased truth! 👍

  23. Well balanced article! I appreciate the hard work that you put in with your research, interviewing, and boots on the ground observations. Well done!

  24. Good article. I like how you really called out the library for being unreasonable with the mandates!

    • This was an excellent article showcasing the trend in libraries across the country who have gone woke, promoting left leaning ideologies. I think there should be a trio who decide on book purchases and displays. If cost is an issue perhaps community volunteers from a broad spectrum can be selected, even on a rotating basis. All community members need to be served. My own library is currently discussing a book rating system where books will be rated just as movies are and will be better able to provide age appropriate selections for children, youth, teenagers along with their parents. Very well done, thank you!

      • I absolutely love the idea of a rating system for the books! I fear many in our children section at the Sandpoint library would be labeled- MA (or some such classification).

        It is important parents and children are well aware of books laced with explicit content. I will also go so far as to say, why not just make a separate section for these type of books? Then again, I suppose the far-left goals of ideological infiltration and indoctrination would be limited in this case. Nothing more disgusting than screening your 6 year old’s book choices at the library only to sit her on your lap to read and find out it has filthy content. And no, I don’t have time to read every page of every book before taking them home! It makes you and your children feel violated.

        • Political Karen, I appreciate you and Susan Merzoian bringing up the idea of a maturity rating system for our library and/or separate section for titles with explicit content.

          One thing that the liberals did during the library board election was gaslight conservatives by lying and saying we wanted to burn/ban books. Though NOBODY ever suggested doing this, it’s a catchy lie that deceived and snared some conservatives into voting for the liberal candidate. Steve Johnson told me to my face that his opponent wanted to burn books. Lies.

          There are many options to serving all patrons in the community as well as keeping children/youth safe from explicit content.

    • Very interesting points of bias being brought up. It is a very good thing to question how equal and balanced a publicly funded institution can and should be. Is the library really serving its local population or is it pushing a larger agenda? Another fact to point out is that it is a county library, not just for the city of Sandpoint. Town residents are decidedly more liberal than most of the county residents.

      • Yes! Thank you. That is very important to remember. Town residents shouldn’t be domniating their values at the library. There needs to be equal voice for ALL constituents across the county.

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