Lafayette Parish Council selects new member for embattled library board
The Lafayette Parish Council selected a cybersecurity expert and airman with no stated community service experience to serve on the Lafayette Parish Library Board of Control, passing over a former university professor and library fundraiser. The vote Tuesday night was along party lines.
For months, the board has been the venue for intense battles over book content, including requests to ban books for LGBTQ and sexual content. One member openly protested a Drag Queen Story Hour event the library held in 2018.
A similar controversy has emerged in Livingston Parish, where a library board member wanted certain books removed from the children’s section. Conservative activist Michael Lunsford, executive director of the Lafayette-based Citizens for a New Louisiana, has been involved in the issue in both parishes.
Ten people submitted their names for the Lafayette Library Board position, which opened in July after former board vice president Landon Boudreaux resigned to accept a job and attend graduate school.
Christie Maloyed and Ernesto Padron were the only two nominated for the position.
Maloyed is a University of Louisiana political science professor and a member of the Lafayette Parish Library Foundation Board, for which she raised $10,000. She was nominated by the council’s only Democrat, Lafayette Parish Council Chairman A.B. Rubin.
Padron, a cybersecurity professional, was nominated by Councilman John Guilbeau and approved in a 3-1 vote. He will finish out Boudreaux’s term on the board that ends in November 2025.
The Acadiana Advocate, which has closely followed the parish’s library battles, noted that the council has favored Christian conservative candidates with its recent appointments. Including Padron, its six newest members are conservatives, including a member of the Lafayette Parish Republican Executive Committee.
No council members put forward any arguments for or against any of the candidates. All discussion on the topic came in the form of public comments. Several members of the public, including Lafayette Public Library Director Danny Gilane, endorsed Maloyed. Nobody spoke in support of Padron.
“If I had a vote, and I realize I do not, I would vote for Christie Maloyed,” Gilane said.
“And my reasoning is that she reached out to the library, came by to talk to me a little bit and I think she’d be a good addition to the board.”
Maloyed and Padron have applied for open positions on the board multiple times. Maloyed said in an interview that she intends to put her name forward when a position on the all-volunteer board opens again. She added that she believes the council tends to approve applicants that they know and that support the same values as them.
“The library board, for a while, was considered the boring board to be on,” Maloyed said. “There’s been a lot of overturn, a lot of folks who don’t necessarily have a ton of board experience, and I think that has come through. I’m not ascribing any ill intent to any of those members. But there are some procedural mishandlings that have happened that have drawn national attention, and that’s unfortunate because it makes it harder to get to the good work the library system does.”
Padron did respond to a request for comment from the Illuminator.