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Buddy Hardin Is Appointed to the Saint Charles City-County Library Board

Buddy+Hardin+shakes+hands+with+Steve+Ehlmann.+
Credit to Photo Submitted
Buddy Hardin shakes hands with Steve Ehlmann.

The St. Charles County Council recently confirmed retired businessman Buddy Hardin to serve a three-year term on the board of trustees of the St. Charles City-County Library. The library board, composed of five members appointed by the county and four members appointed by the City of St. Charles in a like manner, oversees and governs the City- County Library.

The library has been a subject of great controversy for the past year or so as some residents have objected to what they described as an indecently-dressed librarian being assigned to the children’s section, and some residents have also raised concerns that the library is not doing enough to prevent children from obtaining sexual materials. While the present makeup of the library board has been mostly dismissive of these complaints, many believe that Hardin will be more sympathetic.

“Buddy’s a conservative voice,” County Executive Steve Ehlmann, who appointed Hardin after the county council approved his nomination thereof, said. “There’s plenty of other voices from the other extremes. I’ve never set with the intent of creating a conservative board. I always try to have people from all persuasions. But, you know, if it turns out that there’s a slight conservative majority, that’s a good thing.”

Grayson Jostes, a resident of St. Peters and a LGBTQIA+ rights and anti-book-banning activist, offers a different perspective.

“I hope that he listens to both sides of the community, including the one that is trying to be more diverse and equal and have all books read and not just listen to one side of the community that’s trying to ban them,” Jostes said.

Jostes also lamented the recent removal of the controversial book by Winston Gieseke titled ‘Bang Like a Pornstar.’ The highly-controversial book was seen by many, including Ehlmann, as one of the more flagrant malfeasances of the library. The book was removed after the library itself ruled that the book had “explicit photographs that seemed unrelated to the text they should have been illustrating.”

“The fact that it’s an adult health book in the adult section doesn’t make it a bad book,” Jostes said. “But I’m sad that it was banned and I hope that there isn’t any more banned books like that.”

Jostes hopes that the library board continues to err on the side of allowing books to remain on the shelves.

“Even though the public library is a public library, it should be viewed by everybody,” Jostes said. “If you don’t like a particular book, then don’t get it. I support his rights and his opinions and I respect that but they are opinions that I also disagree with. I believe it should be respected for everyone to read a book if they want to read a book, and if they don’t then just don’t read it.”

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