by Max Brantley
The Central Arkansas Library System Board is meeting during the noon hour to discuss the proposal to name the new children's library branch for Hillary Rodham Clinton, who devoted a significant portion of her career to advancing the interests of children.
We've received letters pro and con and the board is apparently hearing a similarly mixed set of viewpoints on the issue.
David Koon is in the room along with Brian Chilson and we'll have a report later.
UPDATE: Koon reports that the meeting was largely a pep rally for moving forward on naming the branch after Clinton. Seventeen members of the community spoke, only two in opposition to the move.
One of those speaking against it, June Freeman, said libraries shouldn't be named after people until they were deceased and that Hillary Clinton was a polarizing figure in the community. (The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette editorial page had griped about the name earlier.)
Library board chair Lupe Pena-Madison said the library received 89 emails in support of naming the library for Clinton and 43 against. A board member made a motion to officially change the name, but Pena-Madison said the board should first reach out to Clinton to see if she'd be OK with having the children's library named for her. The board voted unanimously to inquire.
PS — A Republican hothead who claims to be a legal expert has sent a threatening letter to the library about this action being some sort of violation of a new law that prohibits naming of publicly financed structures after most living people. As I wrote earlier, that law has not taken effect yet and won't until August. This library name change process began last year. As far as I'm aware — at least until John Burris and David Sanders and Jason Rapert decree otherwise — only laws that are actually in effect have force of law.