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

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

West Bend Library Board - lies, anger, and vengeance

Tonight's rendition of the West Bend Library Board meeting...

The meeting began with a long, boring enlightenment on where materials are located in the library, complete with power point.

The opening statement by the library board, presented by Barb Deters (new president of the board) was lengthy. My husband and I were placed on trial, for lack of any other word that can describe the event with their version of a timeline of sorts. The dissertation ensued lending itself to incorrect depictions of an alleged timeline of events, stating time and again how we were the ones who did this and that and everything else. Adjectives? Accusatory, inflammatory, vengefully attacking...

Not to fear.

The Library Board had a little help.

The following organizations were so afraid of what was going down in West Bend, they decided to pay a visit and lend their 2 cents. Mind you, the standards inflicted on our community by the likes of ..

are insignificant to us. The Library Board did not use the same discretion that we did (Town Hall Meeting of March 27) in allowing members of the community we live in to speak to the issue first. No. Instead, they threw in these unofficial voices who lent no credibility to our community standards and twisted the knife to commit the murderous assault on the minds of the West Bend children.

In the usual unsurprising fashion, Ms. Stone accused:

DAN KLEINMAN OF http://www.safelibraries.org/

of opposing intellectual freedom, calling them "censorship advocates."

Here are some quotes from tonight..

"Children should explore their curiosity and it is better that they do it with books." - Speaker unknown.

"Your library does not receive CIPA funding, so you are not required to have porn filters on your computers." That was from Ms. Caldwell-Stone.

"Libraries are exempt from the law." Another precious moment from Caldwell-Stone.

How about this one from Latham?? "...when I was a kid it was so easy to find the dirty books because of the labels on them" Our city attorney, Mary Schanning, found this highly amusing as she openly laughed over this account. So was this a confession? An enlightenment? A suggestion that perhaps we need to be askng for greater restrictions?

The board listened to the community speak. This began with two minutes of personal attack on my husband and myself from Ms. Deters husband.

After community commentary, the board then adjourned for a 10-minute break in the 3.5-hour-long meeting.

All of the library board members had prewritten a statements, so the outcome was (as we had anticipated) inevitable.

Each vented their anger over the City Council's disapproval of mayoral reappointments to the library board, specified our involvement in the "constantly changing" complaint, but took no blame themselves for stonewalling, lying, being misinformed and dragging their feet.

A motion was made to leave the books where they are. All voted "aye."

The only surprise in all of this was that we were never notified of this meeting. We found out inadvertently through a friend.

The most profound statement read tonight was by an area resident thast went like this, "All is permissible, but not all is profitable."


SafeLibraries® said...

"'Your library does not receive CIPA funding, so you are not required to have porn filters on your computers.' That was from Ms. Caldwell-Stone."

TRUE. If a library is not receiving CIPA funding, it need not have filters. But it may have filters anyway. And if it does, it could apply for CIPA funding.

"'Libraries are exempt from the law.' Another precious moment from Caldwell-Stone."

FALSE. Libraries are not exempt from the law. But, what is true is that libraries are free to be exempt from ALA policies.

"In the usual unsurprising fashion, Ms. Stone accused: DAN KLEINMAN OF http://www.safelibraries.org/" ... of opposing intellectual freedom, calling them 'censorship advocates.'"

FALSE. I oppose censorship. True censorship, not communities protecting children from material the US Supreme Court says is "legitimate, and even compelling" to keep from children.

Obviously Caldwell-Stone is very worried that my repeatedly referring to the case the ALA itself lost is causing communities to think for themselves.

This is for you, Deborah Caldwell-Stone:

"The interest in protecting young library users from material inappropriate for minors is legitimate, and even compelling, as all Members of the Court appear to agree." US v. ALA. Well now it's West Bend v. ALA.

John Jost said...

The only "murderous assault on the minds of the West Bend children" is to label them Christians before they are able to choose.

I don't mind if you don't publish this - you've just read it.

John Piechowski said...

So what's next? I clicked the links and it's OBVIOUS that this material is inaapropriate for my 11 year old child to view. Playboy is less graphic than this stuff. How can the library board actually think they are subscribing to the Library Bill of Rights? It doesn't discuss excluding Playboy - maybe they'll add that to the YA Zone next week.

Unknown said...


I respectfully ask that you correct your account, which misquotes me.

I did not say "Libraries are exempt from the law." I said libraries are exempt from *a* law, Wisconsin Statute 948.11 (available at http://www.legis.state.wi.us/statutes/Stat0948.pdf on pages 5-6) which defines the crime of providing harmful materials to minors. I quoted extensively from paragraph 4, which states that 948.11 may not be used to prosecute librarians, library board members, or library employees, in order to allow libraries to carry out their "essential purpose of making available to all citizens a current, balanced collection of books, reference materials, periodicals, sound recordings and audiovisual materials that reflect the cultural diversity and pluralistic nature of American society." I read the quote to assure that there was no confusion about the point I was making.

Thank you for your consideration.

Deborah Caldwell-Stone

Mpeterson said...

Ginny, take a deep breath.

First, Barb has been president for decades. She's not new to this at all. As you discovered, noone on that board was new to this process or to questions about how our Constitution treats libraries.

Second, in what universe is the Constitution of the United States an outside standard "imposed on our community"?

I hate to say it -- I've been trying to get you to see this all along -- it's *your* point of view that was at loggerheads with the Constitutional protections on freedom of speech, not the library's policies.

Shoot, it only took me about 20 minutes to Google up most of the relevant constitutional case law.

In essentially every case, your specific complaints have been dealt with and dispatched by the Supreme Court, most of them years ago.

What I haven't been able to figure out is why you didn't take this easily accessible information into account when you crafted your complaints.

One last point that wasn't said out loud at the meeting last night.

Let's say the library, just to be nice, moves a single book. That would place the library and city in violation of well established Supreme Court decisions.

Anyone could file a lawsuit against the city of West Bend on these ground -- and they'd win.

That could cost city taxpayers millions. (Nick Dobberstein alluded to this when he mentioned the court costs that the city would incur.)

You'll have to decide how you want to proceed now, but go through the constitutional case law first. It'll save you a lot of time and trouble.

I don't have a million dollars, but I'd still be glad to buy you coffee sometime.


Buzymom said...

The way I interpreted what Ms Latham said was that she was simply making a joke (which was probably why you saw the city attorney laughing). She said something to the effect of that when she was a teen, she would have thought it was great if all the "dirty books" had labels on them to make them easier to find. She didn't say that the books then did have labels on them.

SafeLibraries® said...

Mpeterson said, "In essentially every case, your specific complaints have been dealt with and dispatched by the Supreme Court, most of them years ago."

Mpeterson, please specify.

Libby said...

As far as I know, you are still able to bring challenges to the placement of INDIVIDUAL books, and indeed, I think you could have had some success had you done so in the first place. But once you challenged a group of books en masse, it made it extremely difficult for the library to vote with you because of the public perception that they would be supporting censorship of materials on a large scale. An individual work is one thing, an entire collection is another. The truth is, the library board was backed into a corner and probably felt they had no choice but to vote the way they did.

Yes, I do think some items on your list should be in the adult section (and in fact at least one title on your list I bought for the young adult section but put in the adult collection), but if I were on that board and had to vote on a large scale reclassification or labeling effort, I would have voted the same way as they did, despite my feelings about any of the INDIVIDUAL books.

Free West Bend said...

"The following organizations were so afraid of what was going down in West Bend, they decided to pay a visit and lend their 2 cents."

And how is that different from your church advocating people outside of the community to get involved? Or is it only permissible for your group to implore these tactics?

Mpeterson said...


Sorry, I'm not doing your homework for you. Had any of these complaints had even a smidgen of legal merit the board would've bent like a twig.

Most of the key court cases were addressed in my column -- the one you didn't like.

Eema-le said...

"Children should explore their curiosity and it is better that they do it with books."

You left out what she said before and after this snippet. She stated that children are going to looks for answers to questions that they have re:sex, and that they should get those questions answered by their parents, or through their church, but if they can't get answers that way or are to embarrassed to get answers that way, they they are better off getting those answers from a book than from their peers.

Concerned mom in CA said...

I just read an article on CNN and due to the unbelievable-ness of Ms. Maziarka's public rant forced me to send a comment that she and other bible thumpers can read (+ if they have 1 oz of grey matter try to comprehend).

You and your flock are crazy. You are sheeple, completely brainwashed by your 'religion' yet again. Get a grip and get a HOBBY. What you are doing is out right censorship and will not be tolerated. I am glad the ENTIRE board voted to keep things they way they are and not move the books around the way you want them. Who the heck are you, anyways? Do you think you are a human form of your god (little g)? People like you are the reason religion was forcibly divorced from 'state'. People finally WISED UP and realized the church has no business in 'business' or the state or schools. The church should stay IN THE CHURCH OOOOONNNNLLLLLYYYY.
That is the only appropriate place for it. Get over it. You probably have grandchildren who want to hang out with you. You are missing out on that - children are important - but instead you choose to spend your time ranting and raving like a crazy person.

Thanks though - you provided me with a good laugh today.... it’s funny that people waste their time like you do!

I know I won't see this on your site - but I'll post it to others -

Jane McNally said...

Ya know, you could have saved yourself and many others a lot of time and just didn't let your kids go to the library if you found what was in there, offensive. It's a parents responsibility to determine what is and what is not appropriate for their children to read, watch on TV, etc.

I found out about this on cnn.com and it's so sad that there are still fanatics in this world like you who still feel that censorship is an acceptable practice. I'm surprised you weren't outside burning books or something!

Lady, give up and raise your children the way you see fit. Let them read what YOU want them to read and leave the rest of your town, the country and the world to do what THEY see fit for their kids.

I'm a mother of two unbelievable kids...one 19 and 16. While we are spiritual individuals we do NOT believe in organized religion and ya know what? My kids are respectful, smart (oldest going to college on a full scholarship majoring in music education) and they are huge readers. My husband and I have never censored their reading and we have never had an issue with them reading something that was not acceptable or inappropriate for their age.

And one last thing...people who are gay do not choose to be gay and can't just decide NOT to be gay. Anyone that says they can is full of crap...if anything should NOT be in a library is books that talk about that but hey, I'm OK with it because I would never censor a library.

In closing, you are closed minded, sad individual who is very harmful to society. I feel sorry for you and hope that you see the light some day!

Unknown said...

So I saw this story on CNN and I just had to find the imbecile who was trying to ban books. SERIOUSLY?!? Maybe instead of BANNING books you should READ SOME. Like George Orwell's "1984" for example. The instant we start choosing what other people can and cannot read/watch/hear is the instant in which we have chosen to become a nation like the one in which Mr. Winston Smith resides.

In any case, you are a living, breathing person, so therefore you are fully able to dictate what books YOUR children read. But PLEASE let other parents have the option to do the same; don't have the audacity to choose for them.

P.S. My parents allowed me to read whatever I wanted whenever I wanted, and I grew up to be an honors student and a valedictorian of the Class of 2009. But since I've read naughty and banned books, I'm sure I'm very rotten on the inside.

William Lefkoski said...

Stop Raping Our Values!
I believe in freedom of speech as much as anyone, but I also know that when that freedom offends someone or some group, it becomes a different matter all together.
Let us get real here, it is not like we the concerned citizens of West Bend are asking that you take the books out and burn them like “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn” because it had the word “nigger”, Mark Twain’s word not mine, in it, which was not even used in a derogatory way, but as a word of the times. We are just asking that they be labeled explicate material so that parent’s can guide their children.
Just think how you would feel as a parent if you walked into your child’s room and they were reading penthouse, hustler or maybe even something less descriptive as Ann Landers Talks to Teen-Agers about Sex, I real hope she didn’t come out with a book Ann Landers talks to Kindergartens about Sex! Would you think, well they are just curious?

William Lefkoski said...

Stop Raping Our Values!
This just goes to show how poor our school systems really are, and you should really be concerned about your child’s education. If you did not know that the separation of church and state was meant to keep government control out of church business and not the church out of Government then you may need more history and less Sex education. Take out a dollar bill, turn it over and READ “IN GOD WE TRUST” This is what America is suppose to be (A nation founded under GOD)
Sorry just venting.