Library Accused of Censorship for Editing Kids’ Coupon

From The Freedom Forum, someone at the Associated Press writes...

\"A local public library director is under fire for removing a biblical reference from a goodie bag for children in a summer reading program. Linda Mielke, director of the Carroll County Public Library (Westminster, MD), said she decided the Bible verse on a discount coupon for a Pennsylvania corn maze was inappropriate for the library to hand out. So she had library volunteers use markers to delete the verse on the 13,000 coupons.\" [more...] from


Who Decides Which Book Is \'Bad\'?

There\'s a follow up to This Story at the Washington Post.
The Fairfax County School Board is ground zero for PABBIS. The library board said that only certain children will be permitted to read Ken Follett\'s \"The Pillars of the Earth\" by a 7 to 4 vote. Librarians are to restrict circulation to students in 10th through 12th grades.

\"Cathy Belter, a librarian, was one of the few board members to consider the radical notion that other times had other values and that violent scenes in a 1,000-page tome on medieval architecture do not necessarily mean Fairfax teenagers will arrive at school bearing crossbows and catapults.\"


Anchorage Mayor to ban all nonlibrary displays

Mary Minow passed along This Story from the Anchorage Daily News on the big gay pride exhibit at the Anchorage city library. It seems his lawyer said \"Don\'t put it back up and don\'t allow displays by other nonlibrary groups\", so he did.
The group will begin to review the exhibit policy.


New Censorship Organization

Lee Hadden writes: \"A new organization in Fairfax County, Virginia, is attempting to set
standards and push for the censorship of objectionable materials in local schools. \"Shogun,\" \"The Joy Luck Club,\" \"Black Boy\" and other texts have
been challenged by this group for various reasons such as good taste orinappropriateness.
The organization is called PABBIS: Parents Against Bad Books inSchools. They even have their own website at: pabbis.com

Read more about it at the Washington Post\"

From the library geek perspective, I thought the keywords they used were interesting:

\"book, ban, challenged, censor, controversial, school\"


Bonfire of Liberties

A New Haven Register Story on an exhibit by Leslie Ann Williams and Seth Godfrey, called \"The Bonfire of Liberties.\" They detail book banning from as far back as the rewriting of Mayan history through the banishing of \"Huckleberry Finn\" and beyond. They are also including Web sites and filtering. It\'s at the New Haven Free Public Library.

\"We\'re hoping this will provoke a reaction. Reading levels are down,\" he said, adding that too many people rely solely on television for entertainment. \"And because of that, there\'s a mindlessness that dilutes critical thinking.\"


White supremacist gets green light in suit against library

It\'s that age-old story: Racist guy wants to speak in library, library says okay, library changes mind and says no, racist sues library. The Chicago Tribune reported this week that a judge has denied the Schaumburg Township District Library\'s motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought against the library by Illinois\' favorite white supremacist, Matt Hale. Here\'s the story.

What the Trib story doesn\'t say is that the Schaumburg library board turned Hale down the day after his appearance at the Peoria PL turned into a nasty clash between his supporters and protesters. Chairs were thrown, mace was sprayed, and the local TV news cameras were there. I\'m wondering if Schaumburg would have a better case if, instead of outright denying the request for Hale to speak there, they had made their approval contingent on Hale or his supporters putting up some money for extra security.


Emotions flare over exhibit removal

Yet Another Story on the big flap in Alaska.
You may recall Mayor George Wuerch removed a gay pride exhibit from the city library. Now they say a torrent of messages from both sides has poured into Wuerch\'s office since he ruled on June 5 against the display at Z.J. Loussac Public Library. This quote made it all worth reading.

\"Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!\" wrote Linda Carleton, a mother of two whose family owns an electrical contracting business. \"You have made me proud. I was so excited I faxed this good news to Dr. Laura,\" a reference to talk radio host Laura Schlessinger. In an interview, Carleton said, \"I don\'t want my children going to the library and thinking it is an acceptable lifestyle.\"


The morality police

Salon has an interesting Story on our new found censorship impulse.
Charles Taylor comes out solidly on the side of free speech.

\"At the heart of that argument is the belief that society should be remade for everyone, not just children. Basically, my friend was arguing that all adult discourse should be rendered suitable for kids, that entertainment or writing specifically intended for adults is somehow dangerous and that, as journalists, we should all be required to adhere to a phony \"family newspaper\" standard. \"


Politically Incorrect Book Leads to Assault

writes \"History can be dangerous. A
student who checked out a book on the Confederacy
(with a Confederate flag on the cover) for a school
assignment was kicked unconscious by some
students calling him \"racist\". (Story) While this happened in a school
hallway rather than the library, we shouldn\'t assume
that the library is a sanctuary. It seem that the
administration of this school failed in its essential duty
to provide a safe and secure learning facility, including
promoting tolerance.

Those who debated with me previously about the
desirability of making *all* information available to *all*
patrons in a library might question the consistency of
my philosophy: Do I think the student had a \"right\"
to access to this \"inflammatory\" material?\"



Alaskan Mayor Bans Gay Exhibit

Mayor George Wuerch must\'ve been very bored last
week. He took it upon himself to decide what the library
is allowed to display.

He said the exhibit couldn\'t be allowed at Loussac
Library because it takes an advocacy position. He\'s not
bored anymore, he\'s now had about 400 telephone
calls on the issue. Keep in mind, there were no
complaints. James passed along the Friday\'s Story, and One From Today.

\"Not only does it seem to be a ban on free speech, it
also seems to be a violation of the library\'s own policy
on how these displays are selected and put up,\" said
AkCLU executive director Jennifer Rudinger.



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