Director: Library board member says he lives out of county | News

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JONESBORO — A Craighead Jonesboro County Public Library board member told the new library superintendent that he lives in Randolph County.

Director Vanessa Adams, who has been working for a month, said Friday that Mark Nichols told her this during a conversation she had with Nichols.

“He told me in conversation that he lived in Randolph County,” Adams said. “I have no reason to lie about it.”

Council members must live in Craighead County, council chairwoman Janice Griffin said.

When asked via text Friday if he and his wife lived in Randolph County, Nichols replied, “No.”

Craighead County Judge Marvin Day, who nominated Nichols to the board, said Friday he had not spoken to Nichols about the issue.

According to www. parcellookup.comNichols and his wife Stephanie own a home at 4412 Engelberg Road in Pocahontas.

The couple are also shown as owning a house in Bono.

Former board member Amanda Escue resigned in September as she now resides in Randolph County.

“I had purchased another property in Randolph County under an LLC, and since that’s where I permanently reside, I quit for that reason,” she said, noting that she had still a residence in Craighead County.

Escue said that although she was not shown a statute or code indicating that she should resign, she sought legal advice and was speaking to a lawyer.

Nichols disagreed with library staff over the placement of sexual orientation books in the children’s section of the library. He was able to convince former library manager David Eckert to move some books to the parent/teacher section of the children’s library.

In October 2021, Nichols created controversy over the distribution of a DVD, “In His Image”, which promotes Christian conversion for those who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning.

Nichols tried to distribute the DVD to members of the LGBTQ community who attended the meeting, which was a standing crowd. The meeting brought together around 20 people who spoke out for and against a Gay Pride Month exhibit in June that included children’s books about gay and transgender children.

In August 2021, Nichols introduced a new policy regarding library postings and guest speakers that would make the board responsible for approving monthly postings and anyone who appears as a guest author. The policy did not obtain board approval.

Nichols addressed the board members and said that while the director currently has oversight of these events, the board needed a little more oversight.

Eckert said if the policy change were approved, it would amount to about 250 items that board members would be responsible for reading and approving.

The council meets Monday at 5 p.m. in the round room of the library.

Adams said the board will review a social media policy, budget items and revisit the pandemic policy.

She expects the mask mandate for library visitors to be lifted.

“I’m all for the warrant release,” she said. “No other building in Jonesboro requires it.”

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