Library Commission

Library Commission May Protect Petition Rights

Story update: The Library Commission at its May 21, 2018, meeting received from City staff new draft Library Use Rules in the form of line-by-line...

IndyAustin Nears Petition Goal

 IndyAustin Nears Petition Goal

Plans to continue petitioning at city library
facilities despite having been barred before.

by Joey Gidseg
© The Austin Bulldog 2018
Posted Tuesday March 6, 2018 1:42pm

Bill Aleshire provides guidance to IndyAustin members

The Library Commission meeting of February 26 left petitioners with unanswered questions about why City libraries cracked down on petitioners who were gathering signatures on library properties,

But petitioners intend to continue doing so long enough to complete IndyAustin’s CodeNEXT petition drive and submit petitions to the City Clerk by the end of the this month. Detailed written instructions are being given to volunteers on how to conduct themselves when petitioning anywhere but particularly at today’s polling locations and at libraries. (Linked below.)

Instructions cover the do’s and don’ts, including where to stand, to “Be polite at all times,” and what to do if asked to leave: ask for the reason, ask what rule is cited, and if possible get pictures.

IndyAustin members gathered last night at Austin Energy for an update and get some answers from attorney Bill Aleshire of Aleshire Law PC, who is representing the group pro bono in urging the City to back off its stance.

Library Commission Debates Petitioning Rights

Library Commission Debates Petitioning Rights

Petitioners appeal for access to library properties,
library director and attorney adamantly opposed

By Joey Gidseg
© The Austin Bulldog 2018
Posted Friday March 2, 2018 2:06pm
Corrected Saturday March 3, 2018 12:20pm re: branch library where Debbie Russell was petitioning

Scott RoyderOn February 17, IndyAustin volunteer Scott Royder received a “trespass notice” from the Austin Police Department, for refusing a library employee’s request to leave library property where he had been gathering signatures for a petition to bring CodeNEXT to a public vote.

The Austin Bulldog’s coverage of that incident triggered a discussion of the Library Use Rules at the February 26, 2018, meeting of the City’s Library Commission at the Pleasant Hill Branch. The discussion addressed whether citizens can distribute materials, including petitions for signatures, on Austin Public Library property.

Several people spoke during citizens communication, including IndyAustin volunteers who shared their experiences and concerns about being asked to leave multiple branch libraries where they were petitioning the same day as Royder.

Petitioners speak their minds

Debbie RussellDebbie Russell had petitioned outside of the Hampton Branch at Oak Hill [not the Howson Branch as originally published] from 2:30pm to 4:15pm. She said that “an embarrassed and nervous staff member” had told her that she “wasn’t supposed to be there,” but that she had declined to leave.

Russell said she told the staffer she would take her chances with the police if they were called. None arrived during the additional hour Russell spent petitioning.

“I wasn’t harassing anybody. I wasn’t blocking the sidewalk. I was standing on the grass part of the area, about 100 feet from the entrance, and no one indicated they were annoyed with me.”

No posts to display