Library stands by decision on artwork

A bit more on the Meriden Public Library Wednesday which defended its decision to ban certain images of Jesus Christ in a public display area.

Meanwhile, a national Catholic organization blasted the library for prejudice, and the American Library Association said that the local library's policy for exhibits contradicts the very association bill of rights to which it refers.

"It's a no-win situation," Meriden Public Library Director Marcia Trotta said.

Full Story, or See Also, "No religion please, we're a library" from the UK on worshippers who have been told they cannot pin up church notices in High Wycombe's library as it is too religious.The library rejected three of Mary Morley's pieces, Trotta said, though Tuesday the local artist said the library had asked her to exclude five.

Trotta did not object to the images of Christ in Morley's work, as much as her depictions of events, including the Crucifixion, Jesus carrying the cross and the Nativity, she said.

"Those were the ones that portrayed a particular message," Trotta said. They were also the images that were most important to Morley, the painter said. Without at least one, the art wasn't worth showing, said Morley, so she called off the show she had planned for a year.

"I believe that if we physically display it, we've taken responsibility for the message, even if her name is on it," Trotta said.

The library is taxpayer-funded, and is defined by law as a limited public space. As such, it can't endorse the tenets of one faith over another.

"It may mean that individuals who see it are offended and may never ever walk into a library again, and I can't be responsible for that," Trotta said.


The local religious group's attack on the exhibit policy would be a whole lot more supportable if they weren't simultaneously attacking the library for failing to censor Internet access.

As Martin Luther would say, it all depends whose ox is being gored. Or, in this case, whose free speech is being violated.