PELLA, Iowa – In a close vote, residents of Pella decided against changing the structure of the Board of Trustees for Pella’s Public Library.

Resolution 6442 failed to pass in Tuesday’s election. There were 2,042 no votes and 1,954 yes votes, according to unofficial results. The resolution would have given the Pella City Council the authority to make library policy changes – including approving which books could be on the shelves.

The push for the issue to be placed on the ballot came after Pella community members, in late 2021, called to ban or restrict the book “Gender Queer: A Memoir,” written by Maria Kobabe. Councilmembers ultimately voted to keep the book in the adult section of the Pella Public Library.

A petition requesting a referendum on Resolution 6442 was submitted to the City Clerk in May of 2022, with 735 valid signatures.