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

Friday, August 27, 2010

Doors Open Wide to Confirm Unsafe West Bend Library

Curtsy to Dan Kleinman, Safelibraries:

Ginny v. Maria: Hijacked Library or Safe Library in West Bend, WI

Ginny v. Maria.  Is their local public library hijacked or is it safe?  We report and add hyperlinks, you decide and add comments below.

Since my guest editorial has already been published on this blog, I'll just add Hanrahan's op ed piece with Kleinman's links.
In her recent Guestview in the Daily News, Ginny Maziarka suggests "covert" activities concerning the anti-censorship response to her March 2009 book challenge.  In case anyone is unclear about the details of the book challenge, Maziarka objected to lists of novels with homosexual characters and situations in the young adult section at West Bend Community Memorial Library.  Over time, she rephrased her complaint to concern material she believed was sexually explicit or inappropriate for the age group.  While she first called to ban or remove books, she later called for moving the books to the adult section of the library and labeling them as explicit. 

Maziarka suggests that I was influenced by a "bribe," since the group that I formed to oppose her library complaint, West Bend Parents for Free Speech, was designated as the recipient of a grant from the Freedom to Read Foundation.  What she failed to disclose regarding this startling bombshell was the timing of this grant.  I began my involvement in the library challenge in late March of 2009, was notified of the grant about a week into May, and the public Library Board meeting in which Maziarka's complaint was addressed was held on June 2.  If you do the math, you’ll note that this would have given my group maybe three weeks to go hog wild with our $1,000 "payoff."  In actuality, WBPFFS supporters used their own resources to pay for expenses incurred during the challenge.  Unlike Maziarka's group, West Bend Citizens for Safe Libraries or their supporters, we did not choose to participate in paid newspaper or radio advertising to promote our viewpoint.  Other than a reimbursement request for approximately $180 for the cost of an open records request made by another WBPFFS member, we did not utilize the FTRF grant.  This ORR concerned email and other communication to and from members of theCommon Council regarding the library controversy and the pending appointments of replacement members to the Library Board. 

I became involved in the library challenge because I am committed to the belief that, as a parent, I have the right to decide what reading material is appropriate for me and for my children.  To suggest that I did it for remuneration or that I am a tool of the ALA is as preposterous as it is insulting.  Maziarka suggests that the Library Board did not work in the best interest of families by way of their unanimous vote to keep the young adult materials unlabeled and where they are.  In fact, parents retain the power they have always had:  to determine if and when their children should have library cards, to decide how, when and with how much supervision those library cards should be used, and to provide guidance and ground rules for what materials are acceptable in their households. 

Maziarka says the library has been "hijacked" by the ALA, as if it is a subversive organization bent on taking power away from library patrons.  In fact, the American Library Association has always protected the rights of library patrons, including the Freedom to Read.  The FTRF was established to promote and defend freedom of expression and the right to read and listen to the ideas of others.  I believe that reading is among our greatest freedoms, and will continue to be vocal and vigilant about protecting that freedom.  I appreciate the work of the Freedom to Read Foundation, which helps to protect my right to read freely.  I hope Maziarka appreciates that this "hijacking" group works every day to protect her right to read freely as well. 

Maria Hanrahan is a resident of the city of West Bend, founder of West Bend Parents for Free Speech and co-president of Friends of the West Bend Library.


Maria Hanrahan said...

Kindly remove the logo image of Friends of the West Bend Library from your blog. You do not have permission to use it.

West Bend Citizen Advocate said...

Though legally I am not required to comply, your request was respectful and I am choosing to honor it.

jewelknits said...

It is a parent's responsibility to decide which reading material they think is suitable for their child. No one else has the right to decide which books people or children have the right to read. I review books; I've reviewed YA books as well. There are some that I think should not be characterized as YA due to their content, and I say so on my blog with a gentle warning that I would not recommend them for younger teens. Just because I wouldn't let MY younger set read it, doesn't mean that I can tell others that they're not ALLOWED to let THEIR younger set read it. It's all subjective, anyway. It just slays me that there are people who think that they have the right to force THEIR views on everyone else. We're all different; it's what makes life interesting. I think that with people in America starving, including working people - with people losing their homes because they were unknowingly trapped into a predatory loan - with our youngsters dying in wars - with people moving from middle class to poverty due to job losses - there are bigger and better causes to champion.

West Bend Citizen Advocate said...

Jewel, Thanks for your comment. You are, unfortunately misunderstanding the situation. Nobody is telling anyone that their kids "can't read certain books." We are simply asking for books to be placed appropriately in a section where all children don't have them shotgunned into their faces and labeled for easy identification and assistance for parents. Children could still check them out, and parents need to supervise what their children are reading, of course. It is not a matter of removing books permanently or saying kids cannot have them. Hope this helps!