ACLU Vs. The \"genre\" stickers in a public library
Susan Hill writes:
Okay, I\'ve tried to hold my tongue, but I simply cannot remain quiet now. I
have just read October 30 American Libraries Online
specifically \"Kansas Library Stops Marking
Books as Suitable for Christians\". I am appalled and outraged that the ACLU
has taken on the battle of \"genre\" stickers in a public library. The labels
had been brought to the ACLU\'s attention by a library user, the Associated
Press reported October 21. A LIBRARY USER? ONE LIBRARY USER? Where are the
voices of all the library users who want those stickers on the books?In our library, our \"inspirational reader collection\" is in gigantic demand.
We are a small, rural county where a large part of our fiction readers
request inspirational titles, many which reflect a \"Christian\" message. We
mark those books with butterfly stickers and our readers are grateful.
We also mark romance titles, mystery titles, science fiction titles, large
print titles, young adult titles, westerns, holiday, reference titles, etc.
This is done so our patrons can find the materials they want quicker and
According to the ACLU\'s position paper, found on their website www.aclu.org,
this group stands for 1. traditional American values; 2. they are not
\"anti-anything\"; 3. and they exist for \"you\".
Well, if they exist in order to represent everyone, then they better not
stomp on the rights of -- as the group puts it -- \"the religious right\".
This group also has to right to free and easy access to library materials.
The Christian religion has played a major role in the founding of this
country. If ACLU doubts this, just visit your local public library OR the
Library of Congress and do the research. The first prayer in Congress was
spoken on September 7, 1774 and is significant because among the
congressional members there was debate about whether or not the meeting
should start with a prayer. Some gentlemen were opposed with the argument
that the group was too diverse in religious sentiment to possibly agree on
one act of worship.
However, Samuel Adams, a Massachusetts representative and staunch
Congregationalist, proposed that they have Mr. Duché, an Episcopal clergyman
read morning prayers. This act of tolerance and recognition of difference
was agreeable to the members of the first Continental Congress.
The Library of Congress, from the collected reports of the various patriots,
recorded... Washington was kneeling there, and Henry, Randolph, Rutledge,
Lee, and Jay, and by their side there stood, bowed in reverence, the
Purtitan Patriots of New England, who at that moment had reason to believe
that an armed soldiery was wasting their humble households. It was believed
that Boston had been bombarded and destroyed.
They prayed fervently \"for America, for Congress\"...and who can realize the
emotion with which they turned imploringly to Heaven for Divine
If anyone would like to see a copy of the text of the prayer just let me
know. I will send you a brochure our library has about an art print we have
hanging on our walls depicting this historical event.
I am sick and tired of hearing about libraries having to defend a \"local
control\" decision such as easy access to collections and materials (which is
all a \"cross sticker\" or \"butterfly sticker\" is) or worse yet, having to
change their local decisions because it doesn\'t fit another groups\' national
I am sick and tired of hearing about local library boards bowing to groups
because they are afraid of \"legal action\".
When groups such as the ACLU begin to interfere with the way our local
public library has decided to operate then you better believe that is when
we will step up to the plate and defend our rights in court, if necessary,
to make decisions on a local level.
If our founding fathers could agree on tolerance and recognition of
difference and STILL come together for prayer, then certainly a library can
place \"cross stickers\" on \"Christian fiction\" to help patrons looking for
this material find it.
And, while I\'m at it, I believe in Jesus Christ as my personal savior and
will stand on Judgement Day with my heart open. And, I am a library
director, active in my community with a dynamic, awesome, growing library
system -- where use is way up, staff and board is visionary, and where we
hold on to traditional library service while integrating high tech, high
speed electronic access to balanced information provided FREE for all
Susan N. Hill, Director/Editor
Paulding County Carnegie Library