Candidate for 6-Year Position: Michelle Huso

LCLD Trustee Election
May 16, 2023

Question 1. In which Latah County community do you live?

Question 2. What kinds of civic experience qualifies you to be a library trustee?
I worked at the Latah County Library District for over five years, working directly with the public to create a comfortable place to visit with daily respect given to all who entered the library at that time. This work showed me the value of having policies that work in the day to day reality of the library.

I’ve also volunteered at food banks and judged Invent Idaho, where children create new inventions to solve problems in their world. Seeing how young people learn so much to solve their problems inspires me to be more active in my own problem solving.

Question 3. What are the most important issues facing public libraries today?
The recent Idaho legislation, passed in both the house and senate, with such large margins in favor of limiting library materials. Giving anyone the ability to collect money based on what a child chose to take home at the neglect of the parents is very disheartening. Having libraries closed down because of lack of materials or because funding has been given to those who oppose certain materials is a real threat – that could have been the result of the bills going into effect, especially with the ambiguity initially. I’m in favor of protecting children: the best way to do so is to prepare them for the realities of a world that is hard to live in, which contains differing opinions and points of view.

Secondly, the rising cost of digital media, and its instability. Physical books can be used for generations. On the contrary, digital copies can expire at the whim of big companies or at the next update. Transitioning to more digital materials makes the library less stable than it was before.

Question 4. What is intellectual freedom and why is it important to all segments of society?
Intellectual freedom is the right to have all points of view on any argument made available. It’s important because everyone needs full information to make informed decisions. Without access to all points of view, one can’t be fully informed. Making decisions based on half-truths is unhealthy, so we all need full access to every side of each argument, whether it’s popular or not.

Question 5. What is a public library’s role in promoting equity and inclusion in the community?
Every person deserves respect. The purpose of public libraries is to be available to each and every individual in their service areas. This means that those associated with the library (employees and others who represent the library in the community, such as board, foundation and friends members) can’t discriminate against any individual with different views or backgrounds than oneself. Treating everyone with respect, even those with whom one disagrees, is essential to library success.

Question 6. List your top three goals if elected to a trustee position.
The library board already has a comprehensive set of goals written for the district in the years 2022-2025, available on the LCLD website. Of course I want to further those goals as much as possible and help provide district accountability. When 2025 comes around, I’ll help to draft another set of goals that are effective for the improvement of the library district as well. Finally, if I’m elected I will help maintain current library policies as needed.