Lafayette Parish public library system director Teresa Elberson retired suddenly Friday, our media partners at The Acadiana Advocate report.
The Springfield, Missouri native has lived in Lafayette for almost 40 years. She has worked for the library system for more than 38 years and was appointed director after Sona Dombourian retired in 2016.
Elberson's retirement comes days after the library board of control rejected a $2,700 grant from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities that would have funded books and discussion facilitators on the history of voting rights, The Advocate reports.
According to minutes from the December 21st board meeting, the library got council approval to apply for the grant. It was requested that the library and the program remain "apolitical and neutral," and that the library secure two speakers from opposing sides to "offer differing perspectives."
Those concerns were raised once again at Monday's meeting, with some questioning Elberson over the selection of the speakers. Elberson said the speakers were notified and chosen before the board expressed concern and were both advised they had to present both sides of the issue.
According to The Advocate, board members expressed concerns about the library system's image with conservative voters, who make up much of Lafayette Parish's voting population.
LEH's grants manager stated that LEH is "not a political advocacy organization and they are bound by their bylaws to stay neutral," according to the minutes.
Vice president Hilda Edmond reported that Mayor-President Josh Guillory was "not in favor of accepting the LEH grant."
The board ultimately denied accepting the grant with a vote of 5-2.
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