Statement in Support of Dismissed St. Tammany Library Trustees in Lawsuit Against the Parish

EveryLibrary stands in support of William R. McHugh III, Anthony Parr, and Rebecca Taylor, the plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the St. Tammany Parish Council in Louisiana.

We believe they are right to seek an injunction and restraining order to prevent the unjust removal from their legally appointed positions on the St. Tammany Library Board. We urge the U.S. District Court judge for Eastern Louisiana to issue a ruling before June 1, when the new, otherwise illegally appointed members would be seated.


The facts of the case are as follows: On May 2, 2024, the St. Tammany Parish Council passed a resolution to terminate the plaintiffs' appointments and replace them with new members, effective June 1, 2024. This decision followed a campaign of vilification and political pressure stemming from a controversy over LGBTQ+ materials and displays in the library. The plaintiffs argue that their removal violates their First Amendment rights and the Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Clause. They are seeking declaratory relief and an injunction to allow them to serve their full terms until mid-2027. Despite the St. Tammany Parish District Attorney affirming the legality of the current board members' positions in March 2024, the Parish Council proceeded with the resolution to appoint new members.

EveryLibrary deeply respects the Oath of Office that Lousiana board members take, which should secure their tenure during good behavior. We agree with the St. Tammany Library Alliance, and we echo their Statement when they say, "The Parish Council's actions appear to be politically motivated and retaliatory, aiming to suppress the plaintiffs' defense of intellectual freedom and inclusivity in our libraries. This Parish Council cannot be allowed to ignore the Constitution in their governance of our Parish." 

John Chrastka, Executive Director of EveryLibrary, emphasizes: "The St. Tammany Parish Council's attempt to remove dedicated library board members based on their viewpoints and in response to a smear campaign is an egregious violation of their rights. The plaintiffs have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to their roles and to upholding the values of inclusivity and intellectual freedom. They deserve to complete their terms without fear of political retribution." 

We call on the court to recognize the plaintiffs' rights to serve their full terms as duly appointed library board members and to prevent the enforcement of the Parish Council's resolution. The integrity of public service and the protection of constitutional rights must be upheld. EveryLibrary reaffirms its commitment to defending the rights of library board members and opposing any efforts to undermine intellectual freedom and inclusivity in our libraries.

News stories about this important lawsuit:

St. Tammany library board members sue over removal
Louisiana Iluminator | May 20, 2024

Lawsuit filed against St. Tammany Parish over newly appointed library board members
WDSU / Yahoo News

Louisiana: “St. Tammany Library Board Members Sue Over Removal”
InfoDocket / Libray Journal