Fitzgerald LIbrary

Jennifer Fitzgerald: Why appoint Fullerton citizens to the library board when the city council can have so much fun running it themselves?

Matthew Leslie

Late last night during a meeting of the Fullerton City Council Jennifer Fitzgerald requested that the council agendize an item to consider effectively replacing Fullerton’s Library Board of Trustees with the city council itself. The request came just after a vote by Fullerton’s council to restructure some of the city’s citizen committees and commissions. Her exact words were:

“I do want to bring the library board code sections up to date. I want to add to that we institute a new organizational structure for the library board that calls for the appointment of the city council members to serve as the trustees to the library board and to form a library advisory commission.”

Surprisingly, none of the other council members commented on this unexpected proposal.

Library boards of trustees in California are state commissions, whose terms are governed by state law*. They cannot be eliminated by the mechanizations of city councils, and for good reason. But city council members can presumably appoint themselves to serve as the library trustees rather than appoint trustees, as they do now.

Ms. Fitzgerald’s brazen move should be properly seen as a way to eliminate any opposition from the current Library Board of Trustees to efforts by some members of the city council to sell not only the Hunt Branch Library, but also a parcel of land on Bastanchury Ave. once meant as the site for an unbuilt northern library branch. The land was donated long ago by the Fullerton Library Foundation, which raises funds for the library.

There is no sensible reason to discontinue the longstanding practice of city council members appointing Fullerton residents to serve as trustees of our public library in favor of taking on those duties themselves. Jennifer Fitzgerald’s suggestion that the library codes need to be “brought up to date” can only be seen as a blatant power grab meant to ensure that land and buildings meant for library facilities can be sold off at will by the city council to backfill a growing gap in Fullerton’s general fund. This move should be resisted.

Fullerton’s Library Board of Trustees will hold a special tour and meeting on Saturday, May 5, 10:00 a.m. to allow members of the public to inspect the closed Hunt Branch Library and discuss possible uses for the facility with the trustees.



*California State Education Code –