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Important vote: May 16 Idaho library district elections #VoterGuide ✅

Image of back of main branch of Boise Public Library with famous LIBRARY! sign
Boise Public Library / Tamanoeconomico, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In normal times, this would barely be notable, but we are not in normal times and therefore you must take note: If you enjoy your local library, if you agree that free, public libraries are essential institutions for democracy, if you want to keep Idaho communities informed and welcoming for all, then please, check if you live in one of the ten districts with elections this week, do your research and VOTE on Tuesday, May 16 2023 in the Idaho Library District elections.

You can dive into our May 16 library district voting guide below, but there are critical library elections in Meridian, East Bonner, Boundary, Latah, Kootenai and Shoshone, among others so check your registration!

Check to see if you are registered and to find your polling place! Or call your local county clerk’s office. In Ada County, check if you have a library election on the county website (Meridian, Kuna and Ada County Free). In other counties, check with the county clerk.

Here are key races and info on the candidates who support free and open libraries:

Meridian Library District

Not surprisingly, the Meridian Library District, which has been under attack this year (Boise Dev), is contested. Two people – including one who recently signed a petition to dissolve the Meridian library – are challenging the incumbents, both of whom have been great defenders of the library continuing to serve the entire community and refusing to bow to extremist censorship (Idaho Press, Idaho Statesman).

If you are in the Meridian Library District, vote for the two incumbents:

✅Destinie Hart, @Hart4Mld

✅Josh Cummings, @Vote4Cummings

Kuna Library District

There is very little information available about the Kuna candidates, but we suggest supporting the incumbent again, as the challenger has suggested she’d consider removing books from the collection. (More in Statesman.)

If you are in the Kuna Library District, vote for the incumbent:

✅ Barb Powell (incumbent)

Ada County Free Library District

There is not a ton of information available online about this small library district either – and more reporting is needed, but we suggest the two candidates below. There are three other challengers, at least two of whom have strong extremist ties (Idaho Press, Idaho Statesman).

Mary Anne Saunders, for diversity and against censorship/book banning

✅ Sandra B. Taylor (incumbent - Hidden Springs)

Portneuf Library District

We were not able to find any information on the Portneuf candidates. Best of luck, Bannock County. Election information here and the two candidates are:

Tia Schaffer (incumbent)

Christine Paulsen

Blackfoot Library District

Almost no information is available on Blackfoot Library District either, so we suggest sticking with the incumbent:

Kathleen Pressler Hall (incumbent, chair of the district board)

East Bonner Library District

East Bonner Library District is an important race this year where library staff have recently been threatened and have even filed a police report* against the folks attacking library materials. The challenger in this race supports extremist positions on library materials and we are strongly recommending the incumbent Susan Shea. You can listen to a forum and judge for yourself, but please support:

✅Susan Shea (incumbent, North Idaho Voter Services endorsement)

Boundary County Library District

Boundary County Free Library in Bonners Ferry is facing a challenge from two far-right endorsed candidates. We recommend the two incumbents. Read about the candidates via 9B News and support the North Idaho Voter Services endorsements:

Aaron B.C. Bohachek (incumbent), former journalist and honey maker

William "Lee" Colson (incumbent), on county commission too, retired wildland firefighter

Latah County Library District

Moscow has a few decent candidates running. Latah County actually posted a ton of information on the candidates and there’s a story in the U of I Argonaut as well. We suggest the incumbent and please take a look at the other two candidates below as well:

Saba Baig (incumbent)

Wayne Schmidt (former librarian and library trustee)

Michelle M. Huso

Madison Library District

Rexburg library has an open seat, but a former library trustee who recently moved back to the area is running and deserves your vote against his conspiracy loving opponent. There is very little information available online about this race – you can read about it in the BYU Scroll – but support:

David Reeser (high school teacher and former library trustee)

Kootenai and Shoshone Free Library Districts

For the combined Kootenai and Shoshone Free Library districts, you can find voter information on the county website and view a remarkable candidate forum on FB, including a history lesson on how the library district was originally formed by an actual library pioneer! The Spokesman Review explains the clear differences between the incumbents, whom we endorse, the two extremist challengers. Support the North Idaho Republican endorsed candidates:

Judy Meyer (incumbent)

Regina McCrea (incumbent)

*Text has been updated to clarify it was a police report 5/16/23

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