LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – Supporters of a Lafayette Public Library employee whose job is being threatened spoke up at Tuesday’s Lafayette Parish Council meeting on her behalf.
North Regional Library Manager Cara Chance’s job is on the line after controversy erupted over the library board’s decision to ban LGBTQ+ displays. Chance’s supporters appealed to the Parish Council on Tuesday, noting that the council has the authority to appoint Library Board of Control members.
Lynette Mejía, the founder of Lafayette Citizens Against Censorship, said the Parish Council appoints the library board members. Therefore they wanted to bring the matter to them during the public comment session of the meeting.
“Board President Robert Judge attempted to fire her last week without any due process,” said Lafayette Citizens Against Censorship founder Lynette Mejía. “Without the consent of her direct supervisor. Without following civil service procedures. This is an unprecedented move by this library board, and I think the Parish Council needs to take a very close look at what’s going on over there.”
Mejía describes Cara Chance as saying, “she’s a beloved member of the community. She’s a beloved librarian.”
Supporters said Cara Chance spoke against the board’s decision to ban displays of LGBTQ+ books during Pride month. In November, Chance spoke against the board’s proposed ban on a book called “This Book Is Gay.” Several supporters in agreement with Mejía also spoke up at the meeting. They said the board had created a firestorm.
“When you have major media organizations that are picking up this story, there has to be a problem,” said another supporter of Chance.
Community members believe Chance’s job is on the line because she’s been outspoken against the board over censorship efforts.
“Everyone is entitled to their personal opinions, but Mr. Judge’s personal opinions and particularly his personal religious opinions are not library policy,” said one supporter.
Since the meeting, Library Board Vice President Landon Boudreaux submitted his resignation letter. While Boudreaux stated that a new job would hinder his ability to serve on the board, residents said they fear the negative backlash will cause no one to want to serve on the board.
“We don’t want to serve on boards where there’s this much controversy and dissension; that’s unfortunate because it’s a volunteer position that is not paid,” said a supporter.
Overall, supporters of Chance said they hope their voices are heard and the Parish Council steps in.
“I asked you to remember that you serve the citizens of this parish. Citizens that have different personal opinions and religions,” one supporter said.
The next Library Board of Control meeting will be held on Aug. 15. Whether it is the date for the next meeting to discuss Chance’s employment has not been made yet.