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Copyright (c) 2009 Ginny Maziarka. All rights reserved.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Library upset about giving over public records

As we continue to see and hear from the media that parents asking for assistance from their local library are:

  • book burners
  • book banners
  • censors
  • bigots
  • giving the city a black eye

...we should also take note that the library board brought the attention to the City of West Bend on their own volition by:

  • refusing to respond to it's own policies
  • putting off public meetings
  • ignoring citizen requests to dialogue

Interesting how:

  • The library board loves the city attorney's advice when it can be used as an excuse to get rid of citizens, but...
  • hate the city attorney's advice when a citizen calls for compliance with open records requests, then...
  • calling an emergency meeting on short notice (Where is the public notification? On a city hall or library bulletin board? Nice.) and stating they will hire (taxpayer dollars flying out the window) outside counsel to....what?

  1. Try to hide open public records from the public?
  2. Keep the public from learning something?

This is the same public library that follows the standard of "all things for all people."

Think about it.

16 comments:

Lyndsey said...

Our libraries do prescribe to "all things for all people," your attempt to challenge these books violates that principle.

In "all things for all people," the library is saying that they will try to provide materials that are appealing to as many people as possible. They are in no way saying that they will remove anything that is objectionable to anyone. If that were so all of our libraries would be empty.

Reading books like "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" help us - and help teens - to experience someone else's way of thinking. They ask us to think critically (and teens are able to think critically and evaluate the material in their hands as they read). They help us expand ourselves because books are our only way to truly feel and see as someone else does.

You seem to center on books that feature homosexuality, and specifically books which do not condemn homosexuality. Why are you unable to respect the ability of young people who may wish to go into the library and read these books to make their own decisions?

The only reasoning that I can think of is that you're afraid those teens will come away thinking differently than you do, than you think they should. However, they have a right - a right supported by our constitution - to the ability to inform themselves and make those decisions.

Liz said...

Okay.

Horrified as I am by your misguided opinions, I think I may be even more horrified by your appalling grammar. How do you expect to be taken seriously, particularly as someone who wants to deny children access to books (of all things!), if you haven't even mastered the language?

The possessive form of "it" is "its". "It's" means "it is".

Also, you have some serious serious agreement issues. You can't use "loves" "hate" and "calling" as verbs all in reference to the library board. You just can't.

So why don't you stop trying to deny other people access to books and pick up a book or two yourself? You might learn something. And maybe someone will take you seriously next time. I hope you realize that by taking books out of children's hands, you are only increasing the likelihood that they will be plagued by the same inability to form a coherent sentence that you seem to suffer from.

West Bend Citizen Advocate said...

Liz,

If you don't care for the way I write or my opinion, you certainly are not being forced to type WISSUP into your search engine, are you?

Let's just stick to the issue. Otherwise, it kinda looks like you really have nothing to contribute.

SafeLibraries said...

Lyndsey said, "Our libraries do prescribe to 'all things for all people,' your attempt to challenge these books violates that principle."

The library has a library materials reconsideration policy. Why have the policy if compliance with it violates "all things for all people"?

Liz said, "How do you expect to be taken seriously, particularly as someone who wants to deny children access to books (of all things!), if you haven't even mastered the language?"

I fail to see why people launch persistent ad hominem attacks on Ginny. Everyone knows that means the attacker has no valid logical argument.

Notice neither commenter addressed the issue raised, namely, that the library board is reportedly continuing in its law defying rut.

Hey Lyndsey, Liz, drop the attacks and respond directly to the issues raised. The library is seeking to prevent the public from getting access to public records. These are the same people who want children to retain access to inappropriate material.

"[O]ur children ... have a vested interest in what happens in the local public library and wider community." But apparently the adults don't and the library is doing what it can to keep them in the dark.

Those are the issues, not Ginny's grammar. Respond to the issues, please.

Lyndsey said...

"Respond to the issues, please."

While Liz unfortunately attacked Ginny, if you read my post I was responding directly to a statement by Ginny. Ginny raised the issue "all things for all people" by using it to make a point in her blog post. I responded specifically to that issue.

"The library has a library materials reconsideration policy. Why have the policy if compliance with it violates 'all things for all people'?"

You say it right there. A library reconsideration policy. That policy isn't a violation of "all things for all people" in that the library will evaluate the challenge, deem whether or not the challenge is reasonable, then proceed based on the decision they reach. Generally this involves only one or two books.

My point is that this group of West Bend citizens, seemingly spear headed by Ginny, are attempting to remove many books (82 was the number given by the School Library Journal) of mainly a certain type, from the YA section of the library, and asking that only books “affirming traditional heterosexual perspectives” remain.

That is asking the library to violate their policy as it is an eradication of an entire orientation and view point, thus restricting access to only one point of view as to what is right and what is natural.

Amanda said...

I know this is a separate issue, because there's no taxpayer money involved, but how do you feel about bookstores (especially the big chains, which are usually unresponsive to local interests)? Do you continue to patronize those stores even though any child could not only look at, but purchase any item in the store - including all the books you list in your complaint?

SafeLibraries said...

Lyndsey, a materials reconsideration policy does not have a limit or it would not allow for materials reconsideration.

Further, Ginny is not asking the library to violate its policy. And the library will not violate its policy. And no one expects it to. The ALA is all agush about "self censorship." Is Ginny supposed to "self censor" her application under a materials reconsideration policy because you think she is asking the library to violate its own policy?

Amanda, good point. Bookstores, as you pointed own, are private businesses. Further, bookstores I've seen provide notice to parents of potentially inappropriate content. The sign for the "Young Adult" section may have an asterisk, for example. The small print, but visible, warns parents about book content. Simple, but effective. The ALA provides no such warning, such as when it awarded a book containing oral sex as the best book of the year for 12 year olds. I even got the award-winning author to admit he wouldn't even give it to his own 12 year old if he had one.

Ginny is suggesting the library provide similar notice, among other things. Other libraries do it. It's legal. Why can't West Bend, because people are shouting "censorship" when it's not true?

Shouldn't decisions be made on reasoned arguments and not the browbeating of those with vested interests?

Concerned West Bend Citizen said...

@Safelibraries "I fail to see why people launch persistent ad hominem attacks on Ginny."

Because language matters; grammar matters; education matters; access to information matters.

SafeLibraries said...

So, Concerned West Bend Citizen, you are justifying personal attacks. Is that correct?

Amanda said...

Further, bookstores I've seen provide notice to parents of potentially inappropriate content.

What store is that? That isn't a half-bad idea (a sort of blanket disclaimer re: YA books) - I've never seen it, though.

Liz said...

Grammar aside (by the way, it really wasn't intended to be a personal attack--more an illustration of why I feel that it's important to read, etc, and the way that information is presented really does influence other's perceptions of that information--and I apologize for the way in which it was phrased, I just feel passionately that it's really vital for people to have access to tools that will allow them to think and learn and express themselves, so I really do apologize), I do have some questions about what is deemed appropriate or inappropriate.

I see that you object in particular to books containing information on homosexuality (and possibly just sexuality?). While these may be topics that you personally find unacceptable for young adults, there are many gay young adults, or young adults with gay parents, or even straight young adults who need to read about sexuality in order to understand the biological impetuses within them and feel like they are not alone.

Is it preferable for these teens to be unaware of the realities that they will encounter? This might be particularly important for children who have parents who would be uncomfortable with these topics, and uncomfortable with their children having access to books about these topics, because they may not have any other way to learn about them.

Also, whether or not a library posts signs announcing that the content of books may be objectionable, is there really a way to enforce who can read those books? Isn't it possible that notices would inspire more curiosity?

SafeLibraries said...

Amanda, it was a major chain. Borders I think. I took a picture but I can't put my finger on the picture at this moment.

Liz, you said, "I see that you object in particular to books containing information on homosexuality...." You weren't referring to me, were you? If so, that is 100% incorrect.

You weren't referring to Ginny, were you? If so, claims against such material were dropped long ago by Ginny. It's a total nonissue now, except to the extent it continues to be raised to sow confusion and freeze people into taking no action to legally protect children.

You also say, "Isn't it possible that notices would inspire more curiosity?" Good. Let them. For the right audience, such books can be literal life savers. You see, everyone wins this way. The key here is proper notice so parents can determine if their own children are the right audience for such material. There's nothing unreasonable about this request, and indeed other communities implement such policies.

"Enforcement"? Good question. But the difficulty in finding the right set of enforcement techniques should not mean you throw the baby out with the bath water.

And notice the issue of Ginny's request for legally available Internet filters is nowhere discussed. It's never addressed. Never. Why? Who benefits if the library does not use Internet filters in a CIPA-compliant fashion?

Nanette said...

Ginny is suggesting the library provide similar notice, among other things. Other libraries do it.

Mr. Kleinman, can you please identify some public libraries that offer the notice, extra labeling, or whatever it is that you are referring to? Also, which libraries have a special "parent permission only" section set aside for YA or children's books? It would help me to know.

SafeLibraries said...

Answer to Nanette, part 1 of 2:

I have a perfect example. St. Louis County Public Library in St. Louis, MO.

It is a perfect example because the library now has a labeling system after the intervention of citizens led by a local library advocacy group (Know Your Library), just like in West Bend. Further, the ALA also intervened in the matter, just like in West Bend. Further, the ALA misled the local community, just like in West Bend. Further, the ALA mocked my efforts to educate the public about the ALA's propaganda, just like in West Bend.

There's one difference. The ALA's propaganda was ignored by the local community. In West Bend, that hasn't happened yet, but I predict it will. I predict once the full extent of the ALA's control over its local acolytes is publicly known, citizens will demand the library turn against the ALA, just like the St. Louis County Public Library turned against the ALA after the ALA's propaganda efforts were exposed.

Propaganda? The ALA advised the local library to mislead the media then wait until the storm blows over. It used SafeLibraries.org as the example. To this day, the ALA has ensured children in Oak Lawn, IL, still have access to Playboy magazine despite SafeLibraries's efforts leading up to the city government unanimously requesting the library drop the magazine subscription. The ALA-controlled library refused the city. The ALA's OIF leader said she was sick and tired of people trying to turn libraries into safe places for children. The local government wanted that, but the ALA just threw its weight around and intimidated the locals. The local government gave up for fear of ACLU/ALA lawsuit. Sound familiar?

The difference now is the people are beginning to tire of the ALA manipulation. People are tired of being afraid of the ACLU/ALA lawsuit threats and leaving children exposed to harm.

SafeLibraries said...

Answer to Nanette, part 2 of 2:

West Bend is actually leading the way at this time by not reappointing the four library board members who stonewalled the citizens. West Bend can see that the ACLU/ALA is only blowing hot air, and if that doesn't work, threatening lawsuits. But communities are beginning to fight back and to tell the ALA to get out of town. West Bend citizens can see that now. The St. Louis County Public Library is a perfect example. If West Bend wishes to protect its children using legal means in the public library, it is perfectly capable of doing so. It first has to shed the ALA misinformation about "censorship" and the First Amendment.

And if the ACLU/ALA chooses to carry out threatened lawsuits, the city should counterclaim for punitive or treble damages for vexatious litigation by the ACLU/ALA for raising issues already asked and answered by the US Supreme Court, and for other reasons. Further, if bad faith is evidenced in the ALA's manipulation of the local community (and the open record requests already executed may expose the tip of the iceberg), West Bend should bring, at the very least, an ethical complaint against Deborah Caldwell-Stone, Esq., for appropriate attorney disciplinary action up to and including a revocation of her license to practice law.

There is no longer any reason for communities to lie down and play dead, like Oak Lawn did. Communities are beginning to stand up to the propaganda, like St. Louis did, like West Bend is in the middle of doing. The ALA has been exposed as an organization that uses muscle to force communities to follow ALA policy. If it sues, go for the throat and become the beginning of the end of the ALA's hegemony once and for all over local public libraries. With the law and the citizens at your back, there's nothing to be intimidated by.

What's the goal here? The goal is to protect children from the harm that may occur to them in public libraries that may be caused by the forced adherence to ALA policy. For example, had Philadelphia or Des Moines followed local desires to filter computers instead of being forced to follow ALA policy by ALA acolytes, children may not have been raped in the bathrooms.

Is threat of ACLU/ALA lawsuit enough to convince West Bend citizens to ignore legal means to protect children from harm in the West Bend public library? I'll bet not any more. The jig is up.

Kristina said...

YOU said: If you don't care for the way I write or my opinion, you certainly are not being forced to type WISSUP into your search engine, are you?
No no one is forcing her to type that and yet you are trying to force our library to conform to your ideology (sp).You are forcing parents to not be able to decide what is appropriate or not appropriate for their own children to read.
So why is your opinion supersed (sp) other parents? Why is OK for you to try and force your opinion down the libraries perverbial throats?
Ironic don't ya think?