LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Saline County Library Director has been officially terminated after months of controversy over new policies dealing with books found to be obscene for children.
Saline County library director Patty Hector confirmed to FOX 16 News that she was fired Monday. The confirmation from Hector that she was fired came after a county spokesperson told FOX 16 News that she was no longer employed by the county.
Hector had been outspoken based on her concerns over moving books classified as “sexually explicit” or “pornographic” in the library. She and others claimed some of the books in question did not align with Republican political agendas, such as books supporting LGBTQ+ or race discussions.
In April, the Saline County Quorum Court passed a resolution mandating that certain books be out of reach in the library’s children’s section. A few months later, the quorum court passed an ordinance moving control of the library’s hiring and firing away from the library board and to the county judge, a position currently held by Matt Brumley.
Book placement was further mandated by Act 372, passed during the legislative session, which changes state code for endangering the welfare of a minor to include sexual material and removes protection for library workers. The federal district court in the western district of Arkansas temporarily blocked sections one and five of the acts, essentially making it moot before it went into effect.
The resolution in Saline County was highly supported by the Saline County Republican Committee. Complaints were heard numerous times from them over the last few months after members had spoken out prior to quorum court meetings where the resolutions were considered.
In response to Hector’s termination, Chairman David Gibson Sr. told FOX 16 News that this was not their goal. Their goal was simply to keep ‘inappropriate’ books out of the children’s section, and they supported anything necessary to ensure that would happen.
“She was more committed to books than she was to children’s safety,” Gibson said. “This move has everything to do with children. It has nothing to do with politics.”
Hector declined to comment any further on her termination Monday, though the Saline County Library Alliance sent out a statement in her support.