3 new trustees sworn into Smithtown Library board following Pride display controversy

The outrage from the community led to a highly contested library board election in November when 15 people ran for three available seats.

News 12 Staff

Jan 5, 2023, 3:09 AM

Updated 475 days ago

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New board members for the Smithtown Library were sworn in Wednesday after a summer controversy where Pride displays were removed from the children's section.
The outrage from the community led to a highly contested library board election in November when 15 people ran for three available seats.
The three new trustees - Annette Galarza, Mildred Bernstein and Howard Knispel were sworn in - all of whom were endorsed by the Long Island LGBT Network.
"We had the unpleasantness we had back in June and now we've turned it around," said Sarah Tully of St. James. "We have a great board in place, and I look forward to our library operating as a library in the future."
Galarza was appointed vice president by her colleagues.
"We should all be able to go to the library and find the information were looking for and we should all be able to understand we're not all the same - that we're different and it's OK to be different," Galarza said.
Two of the former trustees who voted to remove the Pride displays have resigned.
The board started working on filling those vacancies - appointing Anita Dowd-Newfield to one of the positions.
Dowd-Newfield was on the previous board but did not vote to remove the Pride displays. The second spot remains unfilled due to the resignations.
Linda Rose, with the LGBT Network, hopes that means the library will be a safe and welcoming space from now on.
"The library is a supportive place for all people - not just some people," Rose said.
The new board says they want to get back to business as usual while making sure everyone feels included.
Two of the board members have terms that expire at the end of the year.


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