Palin Book Banning List Called "false" at Snopes.

Snopes discredits the list of books that were alleged to have been suggested for banning by Governor Palin.
The list was posted on the ALA Council Discussion list on September 7, 2008 where members noted incorrect facts.

The discredited list is a red herring. The real issue is book banning. Librarians should fact-check.

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Why does the ALA even have a Washington Office? Is this not one area where they should be doing something? Is the mindset of Governor Palin completely and utterly fixed as it was in 1996? In other policy areas, she has shown the ability to change her mind. Nobody has asked yet what she believes on book banning outright except to go for hearsay and worse.

The western regional campaign headquarters for McCain-Palin is just located on Pecos here in Henderson. I can take the digital audio recorder with me to get folks on record. Is this something librarians want an outright statement on? Has anyone even tried or are we all getting worked into histrionics over second-hand and third-hand details of which there would normally be just cause to at least regard with a small bit of skepticism?

I am utterly appalled at how often this profession convicts someone for their actions done at one time only without even considering the possibility that there may have been change. We do not tolerate this in our criminal justice system yet with just a bit of hearsay and no hard evidence we are ready to tag a woman as being a fount of all evil in our world.

We only have evidence of one incident at one time. Nothing more. Wild speculation from well beyond the documented facts is just odd in a profession like this.
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The red herring is not just the list but the issue of book banning. No books were banned. This is a non-story. It is such a non-story that people on the left are now fabricating lists to make the story look bigger than it is.

There has been no proof that the 'book banning' discussion was anything more than a discussion between a department head and an elected mayor that was exploratory.... if a citizen asked to have a book removed what would you do... sort of thing.

The mayor may have also asked the solid waste manager what would happen if people wanted to stop recycling, or if we made them sort their waste into organic and inorganic waste. We will never know because librarians have not blown that out of proportion.

Librarians are wont be be a hysterical mob when the phrase censorship, or book banning is used. Some reports even note that Mary Ellen Eammons, the librarian at the time, invoked the all powerful and all knowing ACLU when asked what would happen if someone asked her to remove books.

The proper reply would have been to follow the established policy. It seems their policy wasn't quite up to snuff. Perhaps that says a lot more about the librarian than the mayor.

Mary Ellen Eammons (now Baker) is away from her current job in Fairbanks and not returning calls or email messages according to the Boston Hearald.

This issue was discussed on Librarians For Palin. There was no book banning, there was no list, there was never a request from Governor Palin to remove any book from any library at any time.

Actually, I get a different sense from the article. It comes across as something more than an inquiry into the process of challenging books in the library. It read to me more like she was asking that if she, the mayor, asked would Eammons remove the books. Perhaps she was worried that, since the department heads had been hired by the previous mayor, that she couldn't trust them. I sounds like a silly little test of loyalty. Especially since she asked like 3 times, wanted Eammons to submit a letter of resignation, and then was going to fire Eammons. I hope that aspect of her political style has changed.

However, it was 12 years ago. And while it raises some interesting questions, I don't see that it is a significant issue. Unfairness, however, in politics seems to be a necessity. Just ask John Kerry who got savaged for things he had said and done 30 years earlier. There doesn't appear to be a statute of limitations in the political process.

There was no book banning, there was no list, there was never a request from Governor Palin to remove any book from any library at any time.

I'd be willing to bet that the only reason none of that happened was because she was told there was no mechanism in place to accomplish it.

There is nothing that cannot be found offensive by someone, somewhere.

Just to flesh out your comments a little, it's not the just the Left. Expect to see just as much of the same from the Right.

Welcome, by the way, to the presidential election where demonizing the other side is a time-honored tradition. Remember the non-issue of the lapel pin? There will be much more to follow, and it won't get any better until after the November election (maybe).

As for the Palin issue, some of the comments above are right. Perhaps she has changed her management style, and no longer conducts silly little loyalty tests. It was the first office she has held and, presumably, she learned quite a bit from the experience.

For Lefties like myself, there are plenty of current issues to makes us shudder at the thought that she could be only a heart-beat from the Presidency. I don't think she is evil, or any more venal than any other politician.

I think the whole "librarian" issue is a minor one, although a good opportunity to clarify how she feels about removing books from libraries, what the role of the Federal government (if any) should be, and, perhaps even more importantly, if this was a good example of her leadership style.

The real issue is not whether or not the books were banned. It is the attempt to get rid of the opposition to banning by firing the Head Librarian (something which is well documented) and subsequent firing of a top state official essentially for not taking sides in Palin's sister's custody dispute. She has not changed her management style at all.

As Mayor, Governor Palin requested the resignation from 4 department heads. Another department head's position was eliminated.

The Public Safety Commissioner serves at the pleasure of the Governor of Alaska and may be dismissed at any time. The Commissioner was let go because of disagreements with the Governor over the state budget.

While the Commissioner feels that he was let go because he would not fire a state trooper who had been disciplined for drinking beer in his patrol car, illegally shooting a moose, and tasering a 10 year old child.

An investigation is being conducted into these allegations by the former Commissioner and the results should be available soon.

I belive you are reading too much into the story. I choose to wait until the investigation concludes, and I don't think the spectacle being made out of the investigation is appropriate.

I do not see any substance to your allegation that "She has not changed her management style at all." If you are discusing replacing directors and managers that report directly to the mayor or governor when a new administration moves in, that is a tried and true practice that even Gavin Newsom, mayor of San Francisco has used to bring in people who he trusts to do the work he desires to do.

Wasilla has issued a formal statement on the issue:

We at the City of Wasilla have received many emails and requests for information about “banned or censured” books at the Wasilla Library while former Mayor Palin was in office. We have no records of any books being “banned or censured” ever.
Below is the policy to request reconsideration of library materials:
Reconsideration Requests of Library Materials
In accordance with the Wasilla Public Library Collection Development Policy, the library, “…strives to achieve a balanced collection of materials in the major information categories, as well as a fiction collection calculated to satisfy the widest possible variety of tastes. All viewpoints and opinions on controversial subjects will be represented whenever possible… Wasilla Public Library recognizes the right of every citizen to read and gather information, and his or her right to freedom from censorship by other persons. Many books are controversial and any given item may offend some persons. However, selections for this library will not be made on the basis of anticipated approval or disapproval, but solely on the merits of the material in relation to the building of the collection and to serving the interests of all readers. This library holds censorship to be a purely individual matter and declares that – while anyone is free to reject for himself books and other materials of which he does not approve – he cannot exercise this right of censorship to restrict the freedom of others.”
The Library conducts a systematic process whenever a Matanuska-Susitna Library Network cardholder requests the reconsideration of an item in the library collection. The first step in the process is the patron speaking with the library director, who listens to the patron concerns and explains how materials are selected for the library’s collection. It is the policy of Wasilla Public Library that all challenged materials remain in circulation until a final decision is reached and a challenged item may go through the reconsideration process only once within a twelve month period.
Our records indicate the following actions requested by library patrons:
Year of Challenge
Item Challenged
Angel Dust Blues by Todd Strasser
Creation of “Young Adult” section in library and placement of item in section
Bumps in the Night by Harvey Allard
Remained on shelf
America (The Book): A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction by Jon Steward
Remained on shelf
The Abduction by Mette Newth
Remained on shelf
Thank you for your interest in the Wasilla Public Library policy.
Mayor Dianne M. Keller

Which they say is true ( quotes an actual resident of Wasilla on this point.

'While Sarah was Mayor of Wasilla she tried to fire our highly respected City Librarian because the Librarian refused to consider removing from the library some books that Sarah wanted removed. City residents rallied to the defense of the City Librarian and against Palin's attempt at out-and-out censorship, so Palin backed down and withdrew her termination letter. People who fought her attempt to oust the Librarian are on her enemies list to this day. '

If the local people think this happened and 'rallied' against it, there is certainly something to it. Sounds more like someone is hiding something. Might not have been a formal request (as mentioned above by Fang-Face) but it was there nonetheless.

A resident of Wasilla is not an authoratative source. As you note above the letter write insists that Governor Palin, when Mayor of Wasilla 'tried to fire' the librarian. That is simply untrue. Had the mayor tried to fire the librarian she would be fired. In fact the firing of the police chief, also an appointed position was upheld as within the authority of the mayor as a Federal Court ruled she had the right to fire the police chief for any reason she wanted.

It is indeed true as we have been told by Governor Palin that she requested the resignation of the librarian and three other department heads when she became mayor. This is not at all uncommon, in fact it is commonplace. A new broom sweeps clean has often been used to describe this municipal changing of the guard.

There is no evidence to support the contention that the librarian was requested to submit her resignation because of her failure to remove books per the direction of the mayor. In fact there is evidence to refute this contention as the mayor never requested that any book be removed from the library's collection.

The community supported the librarian, which is a great thing, and the librarian was asked to stay, which she did for some time after initally being asked to submit her resignation.

When a new president takes office, all of the management staff of executive agencies such as the Department of State and the Department of the Treasury traditionally submit their resignations. Many of them remain, but it is a courtesy to the new administration. Being asked to stay after submitting your resignation is a vote of confidence by the new administration.

In this case, across the board resignations were requested, and the librarian was asked to stay after community members let the new mayor know how much they valued the librarian and her work. The mayor acting on their good counsel kept the librarian on in her position. Indeed that was a vote of confidence in the librarian from the people she serves, something as librarians we all hope we have.

Sorry, double-posted.

Actually, it does appear that Palin sent a letter to Emmons informing her that she was being fired. A February 1, 1997 article from the Anchorage Daily News ( recounts that both Mary Ellen Emmons and Iri Stambaugh (the then-Chief of Police) received letters from Palin telling them that their employment was being terminated.

Palin reversed the decision to fire Emmons a day later. I have heard claims in various personal accounts that this reversal was due to an outpouring of public support for Emmons, but there is no mention of this in the article. But whatever reason Palin had for changing her decision, she did in fact initially issue a signed letter firing Emmons.

You are correct, the mayor requested the resignations of department heads, and when they were not forthcoming from everyone they were fired. This is to be contrasted with a firing for some specific event, such as the police chief holding up a liquor store on duty.

Traditionally when one is asked to resign one's department head position when a new administration takes office one resigns. It is a mark of respect for you when your resignation is refused. The chief and librarian did not proffer their resignations and thus were fired. The mayor on the people's good counsel retained the librarian by rescinding the termination. In many government positions one tenders their resignation to the new adminsitration only to have it rejceted after they have settled in and had a time to review your work.

Nevertheless, firing or asking for resignations when the new adminstration takes over is common practice as I have noted before.

"Nevertheless, firing or asking for resignations when the new adminstration takes over is common practice as I have noted before."

This isn't really common practice in small towns. And, in larger cities, the library director is probably not on the list of patronage jobs that are replaced with each election (as in your San Francisco comparison).

In my small town (approx 15,000 folks), the mayor did try to fire the police chief and city attorney in her first few days in office. She was swiftly met with a successful recall election within a year.
The jobs were not patronage positions nor did they serve at the pleasure of the mayor. I am sure the same holds in Wasilla.

The identities of the authors was all that Snopes was concerned with. The only reason the result was "multiple" was because one of the authors of one of the emails could not be identified. Everyone else was identified as a local.

And we aren't talking about the federal executive branch. We're talking about a small town with a limited number of professionals to fill certain positions. A tradition of casually firing everyone when the leadership changes would be counterproductive.

She DID inquire about removing books from the library. I can't post a link, but if you google "frontiersman palin library archive" the first link will be an article from 1996 on the subject. She did it. End of story.

Now the only question is how big a deal you think it is. I think it's a pretty damn big deal. It reveals something about her character, what she is willing to do, and what she believes is right or wrong. Now she's on my "vote against" list for one of the same reasons as Hillary Clinton (who was on the Jack Thompson anti-violent-videogame bandwagon). Except worse.

Oh, and I think there were departments not accounted for, if those resignation requests were supposed to be "across the board." (I could be wrong, as I'm not sure they all existed in 96)

I think a resident of the town is a much more authorative source than an awful lot of sources we've seen in regards to the whole Palin 'coming out' party.

What you say does actually prove that Palin 'tried' to fire her. she asked for her resignation but the public made her change her mind, she didn't get what she wanted, therefore she 'tried' but failed to change the Librarian.

>In fact there is evidence to refute this contention as the mayor never requested that any book be removed from the library's collection. <

Just because it wasn't written down in a meetings minutes doesn't mean it didn't happen.

I believe you in that this has been blown up beyond what it actually is but first hand evidence of someone on the ground is something I'm going to listen to more carefully than something trotted out by a politican.

As someone from the UK I'm more worried about the impression the Republican party is putting out to the rest of the world having people like McCain and Palin run for President.

As mayor Gov. Palin is free to fire all of the department heads that report directly to her. This fact is very well established. She 'fired' (if you must) all of them by asking for their resignations. Why she did is immaterial, but it was not because the librarian would not ban books for her. The mayor of San Francisco, ostensibly the most liberal city in the US did the same thing. The fact that she took the residents' good counsel and asked the librarian to stay reflects well upon the mayor for listening to the residents, and the librarian for being such a good librarian that the residents cared. Think about your town librarian, do you know them or are you impressed enough by the job they are doing to tell your elected officials. If so have you? If not why not?

You remark about it not happening just because it was not written down is very odd. I have posted several times that the librarian and an official from the Alaska Library Association have stated that Gov. Palin never asked to have a book removed. How many ways do you need it said?

I am unclear why it matters at all what the rest of the world thinks about the Republican party.

I think Gordon Brown is not very bright but who in the UK cares, and I even have to travel there every few months to work. Never have I been asked by the people at Passport Contorl - So, what do you think about Labour?

McCain will be a fine president. Why do you think he would not. Truthfully I think Palin would make an even better president when she runs in 2016.

It does not matter what the British, or the Burmese think of the Republican party. If they want they can sever diplomatic relations with the US. We will still be here if you need us.

Yes, she is free to fire people. She does not need to give any reason in order to do so.

But her reasons for firing people DO matter when it comes to deciding whether to fire or hire HER. And it has now gotten to the point where she will have to explain every single hiring or firing where there is even a hint of question about it. Her judgement and motives are being called into question, and "well I can fire anyone I want" doesn't really address that. If she's pressed on it, she is going to have to do a LOT better.

She has provided more information, she said she felt they didn't support her and the new administration.

Same thing Gavin Newsom did. If it is OK for him, and we know he has many foibles, why is it not OK for another mayor. I know your answer will be because Newsom is not running for vice president, but frankly that is simply not a valid answer.

The answer is there is a need to maintain perception of scandal by some people, and even though the questions have been asked and answered the examination and cross examination continues.

It is unfortunate that it has been discussed as much as it has, it is unfortunate that untruths and ersatz lists have been posted, it is unfortunate that the opinion of someone who lived in the same city and knows peripherally about the issue is given as great weight as the direct answer to the question of why the resignations were requested.

No scandal will come out of this, and if you wish to draw conclusions based upon innuendo, heresay, and smears you are most certainly free to do so. However if you care for the truth that Governor Palin never requested the removal of any book from any library at any time, then you will make judgement based on substantive policy issues.

In the US we have presume people are innocent until proven guilty, while this is not a Court, it certainly works well in life as well.

Did Palin Try to Ban Books?

The video has info not in the print story, and vice versa.

Reporter Brian Ross' conclusion (in the video): while the book list is a hoax, Palin did raise the questions about how to get books off the shelves of the library.

mdoneil says: "She 'fired' (if you must) all of them by asking for their resignations. Why she did is immaterial,..."

I disagree. "Why she did" is the crux of the matter. In this country, at least (the USA), elected officials do not get to summarily fire civil servants for no reason.

The department head is not a civil servant, he or she is appointed by and serves at the pleasure of the mayor.

They can be terminated at will. There is no need to provide a reason. Ask Gavin Newsom.

Just as the librarian was 'fired' the chief of police was fired. He sued and lost, a Federal Judge ruling:

The police chief serves at the discretion of the mayor, and can be terminated for nearly any reason, even a political one, U.S. District Court Judge James K. Singleton ruled in dismissing most of Stambaugh's claims against the city.


It doesn't matter if it's LEGAL. Her reasons for firing someone matter in voters' decisions about whether to keep or replace HER next time around.

Okay, you're straying a little off the reservation there. By the line of reasoning you're advancing, I am really having trouble understanding what outcome you desire. Considering the number of elections in the intervening time where Mrs. Palin went from Mayor to Governor, I imagine that this did not matter to the electors then charged with making such decisions.

If you are advancing the notion that someone is to be eternally punished for something done in their past, I can only regard this as fairly heartless and quite cruel. If there is no chance of redemption or forgiveness, then that is not living. The United States has never been known to elect sinless saints to high office and nobody on either side of the aisle has a spotless record. To think otherwise is to be wilfully ignorant of history.

After all, this is why we have an ALA Washington Office with lobbyists. If Mrs. Palin is going to be such a concern, then the normal role in any other industry is that lobbyists try to explain to the officeholder their concerns. While I hope the folks who staff ALA's Washington Office do not merely pass the time doing silly things, it must not be forgotten what those expensive ALA dues go towards funding.

Wishing fervently and earnestly hoping that Mrs. Palin is a nasty fascist of the most exquisite order does not necessarily make it so.
Stephen Michael Kellat, Host, LISTen
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>I am unclear why it matters at all what the rest of the world thinks about the Republican party. <

Lots of reasons really. But do you know how mental your country looks?
Of course that doesn't mean anything generally but taking it to Library related issues, the whole censorship, religious conservatism, creationism conflicts in school/public/university libraries is baffling.
You do forget that a great deal of people (less informed than us) only see American through the mass media and the effects you have. So they can get very confused when they see the conflict of the gun totting, gay bashing, anti-abortion views of the Republican party against watching programmes like Friends, Desperate Housewives and Will and Grace!
Your country doesn't make sense to a lot of people. They forget the mass of the flyover states are not like the East and West coast but make up most of the population.

>I think Gordon Brown is not very bright but who in the UK cares, and I even have to travel there every few months to work. Never have I been asked by the people at Passport Contorl - So, what do you think about Labour?<

You forget, we didn't vote for Gordon Brown as Prime Minister, we didn't vote for Tony Blair as PM either but people did vote for his party in local elections and at least knew he was the Labour leader. No member of the public had a say when Gordon Brown took over. He's not very bright and he's up the preverbial creek without a paddle atm.

>McCain will be a fine president. Why do you think he would not. Truthfully I think Palin would make an even better president when she runs in 2016. <

Policy issues are the main reason. Also I have one phrase for you, 'Manchurian Candidate', just remember ;)

>It does not matter what the British, or the Burmese think of the Republican party. If they want they can sever diplomatic relations with the US. We will still be here if you need us.<

Great, we can get out of Iraq and Afghanistan then, let you clean up the mess you created.
Bombed anymore innocent civilians lately?
Oh and I guess you'll be leaving your airbases in the UK and Diego Garcia? Whats that? You won't have any places to refuel your planes from? Pity.

As a gun 'totting' anti-abortion Republican (sorry no gay bashing from me, I really don't care what consenting adults do in their private lives - hence the term private life) I still don't care what the rest of the world thinks of the United States of America

My country must make sense to an awful lot of people. Last year according to DHS statistics there were 53K refugees and 27K asylum seekers - that is in addition to the normal influx of immigrants, including 660K naturalizations. So I guess they are not watching reruns of Friends or Will and Grace, but seeking freedom from opression and the opportunity to live in freedom, work and raise their families.

The UK has removed almost all of its troops from Iraq, remember Gordon Brown tried to gain popularity by doing that. Strikes me as odd as you seem to treat your troops like dirt over there by not letting them in Harrods or making them sleep their cars in hotel car parks due to a no military rule. This is from the media reports from which you seem to feel the world bases its opinion.

Get out of Iraq, not soon enough for me, but we have to get the job done. We could have been finished long ago if not for the lefty hand wringing of our elected leaders who were for the war before they were against it until they were for it until they changed their minds. Afghanistan is a similar story, but the UK seems to support it a bit more as there are more troops there than in Iraq and when I last read the UK was considering sending 4000 more to Afghanistan. I'll be happy when we wrap the up and our troops can come home as well

Closing overseas bases, fantastic idea. Once we can be assured that our allies won't cut and run when they get scared we can close the UK bases and bases in Diego Garcia, and Italy, and Germany, and Japan and Korea and everywhere else US troops are deployed save those that are actually engaged in an active role in US actions, or as peacekeeping troops under the auspices of international organizations.

If the US could stop being the worlds protector and spend our defense money only on ourselves we would be swimming in cash. However it seems that is not possible. The Koreans count on us to keep the crazy North Koreans from dropping in for a visit, and if I recall there was a time that the UK needed a bit of help to keep the crazy Germans from dropping in as well.

Your remark about innocent civialians just shows your ignorance. Who was bombing innocent people on your trains? How have you solved that problem at home, we seem to have stopped it here, but your liberal hand wringers are not doing such a bang up job over there. You allow - heck I think you encourage people who purposefully, intentionally target innocent men women and children to walk among you and then you have the police shoot a tourist in the head the next week for having a puffy jacket.

We have plenty of refueling tankers to refuel our planes, and there are plenty of coutries that appreciate the help they get from the US, and we certainly appreciate the help they have offered us in return. Poland springs to mind.

So I am still unclear why it matters why I should care what the rest of the world thinks. Just like in school as a child, there were some kids that liked you and some that didn't. You were friends with some and played with those that liked you and simply ignored those that did not. I'd be happy to ignore the UK, but they seem to think we care - heck they even cover the US elections and take polls in the newspaper. Gordon Brown opines on who he thinks should be president.

So take your troops home, use them to blow up some more penguins on las Islas Malvinas. I don't care what the UK or any other nation thinks of the US, but I do care about the US and about people in other countries that need help to survive. When I was in Haiti a few weeks ago, I saw plenty of cardboard boxes that said USAID - a gift from the American people. Everyone in Haiti was happy to see our medical mission group, and they all seemed quite pleased with the US.

I'll base my opinion on the people that give me a smile and shake my hand after we have repaired their child's cleft palate, or when a woman tells me through a translator how happy she is to have her prolapsed uterus fixed because she couldn't even go to the market to buy food for her family before. I'll base my opinion on people, you can base yours on Friends and Will and Grace and some crazy speech in Berlin by some Citizen of the World. It seems to me like the good people of the world understand our elected system of government and understand that we may go through some periods where life is a bit tougher but that as a nation we presevere as we have done for over two hundred years - longer than any government in the EU has existed. It seems to me the UK gets its opinion for television re-runs and train bombing jihadists, and the page three girls. Keep up the good work.

Because, historically speaking, no one has ever stayed on top forever. At some point, we may not as well. If, or when, we start that slide down from world dominance, perhaps it would be nice to not have everyone kicking us 'cause we've pissed them off.

The fiasco (my opinion) in Iraq, outside from going there in the first place, was exacerbated by the lack of any plan on what to do once Saddam had been removed. That was not due to lefty hand wringing. That was gross incompetence at the highest levels of our current administration. Based, evidently, on some pie in the sky belief that the vast majority of Iraqis would welcome us with open arms and everything would be just wonderful.

I'll take lefty hand wringing over righty war mongering any day.

I'm a bit disappointed at how Snopes lists this as "false" and then some news outlets have gone on to report this as the case. It is obvious that Palin did look into censoring books. Also, it is apparently true that this occurred shortly before Palin tried to fire the librarian. It is also apparently true that community outrage was the only reason the librarian kept her job. The Snopes article is just pointing out that a specific list of books being sent around via e-mail is not true. But it's obvious Palin believes as an executive that she has the power to censor books and will fire officials on a personal and/or political whim as punishment to those who don't follow her ideology.

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