Wednesday, September 3, 2008

ALA Smears Sarah Palin With False Censorship Claims

The American Library Association [ALA] has taken only a few days to smear presumptive Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin. I am the first to suspect this might happen and I have tracked the progress of this smear. See "Sarah Palin Outed by Library on Rhetorical Question About Censorship; An Investigation of Library's Action May Be Warranted" and the comments added thereto.

Here is the smear, cleverly disguised because the most damaging smear is in the second link ALA Councilor James Casey recommends:Link

ALA's Leonard Kniffel was quoted in one article dealing with Governor Palin
in today's CHICAGO TRIBUNE:,0,7512894.column

Alas, the remarks only pertained to Governor Palin's "sexy librarian" looks and didn't relate to the possible implications for libraries and intellectual freedom reflected in her conduct as Mayor and Governor. According to this account by a neighbor who knew Palin when she was Mayor of Wasilla, there was an abortive attempt made to fire the local Librarian.

Jim Casey -- Councilor-at-Large

And here's the biggest smear from the second link James Casey recommended, emphasis added:

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.

That is just, plain false information. And the replies to this smear only brought more smears in response. And James Casey is the same guy to advise media manipulation to keep ALA policy in local community public libraries -- and he used as an example. Might he be up to his old tricks again?

Even librarian blogs are seeing people making false claims regarding this matter. Other librarians are catching some commenters in the very lies the ALA is now promulgating. As one of the commenters implied, asking the librarian what books may be legally removed for legitimate reasons is a good thing, not "censorship." See "Sarah Palin, VP Nominee," by Jessamyn West,, 2 September 2008, and all the many comments thereunder.

Good going, Jessamyn. Stop the smears, James and the ALA.


  1. Ha! In my other blog on Sarah Palin I questioned the ALA's 501(c)(3) status saying, "I hope its 501(c)(3) status is not challenged for this." And now, since I wrote this second blog, only minutes ago have I been proven correct again!!

    An ALA Councilor is suggesting James Casey's comments in apparent opposition to Sarah Palin may endanger the ALA's 501(c)(3) status!

    Mary Ghikas Wed, Sep 3, 2008 at 4:01 PM
    To: Charlotte Glover, James Casey

    I do need to remind you that as a 501(c)(3) organization, ALA cannot and cannot allow its resources to be used to support or oppose a candidate for public office. You need to have this discussion in a venue other than an ALA resource. Thank you. mg

    Then James Casey responds:

    James Casey Wed, Sep 3, 2008 at 4:21 PM
    To: Mary Ghikas, Charlotte Glover
    Cc: "", ""

    If ALA employee Leonard Kniffel can discuss Governor Palin's looks and image with TRIBUNE writers for national publication and speak on behalf of the Association, why can't elected members of ALA Council have a discussion on the Council List and share information about the very serious policy implications for libraries and intellectual freedom of Governor Palin's position on those issues?

    I believe that the Chapter Councilor from Alaska has every right to share her perspectives on the List.

    James B. Casey --- Councilor-at-Large

    Look: James Casey's support for opposition to Sarah Palin has sown confusion in the ALA's rank and file!!!

    Gina Persichini Wed, Sep 3, 2008 at 4:24 PM
    To: ALA Council

    The reminder from Mary Ghikas about political discussion reminded me of a question I've had myself. I ask with no intention of sparking any kind of debate, I'm simply looking for an answer that will help me to explain this to others when it comes up locally (because it DOES come up, often enough).

    If political discussion cannot take place on an ALA resource because of the risk to ALA's 501(c )(3) status, how do we (ALA) justify the operation, support, and activities of the ALA Washington Office?

    Political discussion (urging librarians to contact their legislators, sharing information about impact of proposed new legislation, etc) was the reason that our state's library association moved their electronic mail discussion list to a different server—from one hosted by a state-sponsored institution. I understand that there are resources which cannot be used for political gain. However, I'm confused by the limitations of ALA when, clearly, ALA has participated in and encouraged legislative involvement of their members through the ALA Washington Office. Is it that the ALA Washington Office is somehow funded differently?

    Thank you for the clarification.

    Gina Persichini

    Chapter Councilor, Idaho

    I am sure more is to come on this. Stay tuned.....!!!

  2. This just in, literally. The ALA is implicitly muzzling ALA Councilor James Casey and implicitly admitting a 501(c)(3) violation may have occurred!!!! The ALA President issues an "Immediate Release" that looks like is was written by the ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom, not the President! They must be very worried about a possible 501(c)(3) violation!

    [ifaction] ALA releases statement on Alaska book banning controversy
    Nanette Perez Wed, Sep 3, 2008 at 5:07 PM

    The following statement has been approved for distribution by ALA legal council and leadership. Please post to relevant list servs.


    For Immediate Release


    Chicago - The American Library Association (ALA) opposes book banning and censorship in any form, and supports librarians whenever they resist censorship in their libraries. Since our society is so diverse, libraries have a responsibility to provide materials that reflect the interests of all of their patrons.

    Each year, the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom receives hundreds of reports on books and other materials that were "challenged" (their removal from school or library shelves was requested). The ALA estimates the number reported represents only about a quarter of the actual challenges.

    In support of our efforts to fight censorship, the ALA annually celebrates Banned Books Week – a national celebration of the freedom to read.

    Observed during the last week of September each year, Banned Books Week reminds Americans not to take the precious democratic freedom to read for granted. This year, Banned Books Week will take place September 27–October 4, 2008.

    The American Library Association is a nonprofit, 501(c) (3) educational association that supports quality library and information services and public access to information. As such, it is not allowed to take a position on political candidates and strives to be nonpartisan in its activities.

    To learn more about book challenges and Banned Books Week please visit


    Macey Morales
    Manager Media Relations, ALA

    Jennifer Petersen
    PR Coordinator, ALA

    Macey Morales
    Manager, Media Relations
    American Library Association
    50 E. Huron
    Chicago, IL 60611

  3. Apparently, I was ahead of the curve on this:

    "Can ALA Councilors Discuss Palin? Consternation and Caution," by Norman Oder, Library Journal, 4 September 2008.

    Read it! I was right on target!

    And see my related post on this topic, "Sarah Palin Outed by Library on Rhetorical Question About Censorship; An Investigation of Library's Action May Be Warranted."

  4. Whoa! Look at this comment from a Library Journal blog!!!

    September 5, 2008
    In response to: Report: Palin, as Mayor, Raised Library Censorship Issue Three Times
    Jessica commented:

    I frankly think, that the amount of psychotic blogging in the past few days is appalling. We are seeing an unprecedented smear campaign orchestrated by the like of the Daily Kos on behalf of the Obama campaign and that is what really should scare people. Palin was inundated with requests from some local citizens about removing some books which were unsuitable for children or putting them in a section controlled by the librarian. Palin simply asked about the issue in open forum responding to citizen requests like a mayor is supposed to do. It seems by all records that the library response was to immediately be combative and defensive which is what led to further problems. Palin never actually took further steps to ban books. On the contrary, if you in fact love the free expression of views in all forms, then why is it that Obama seeks to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine of censorship and ban other books from school libraries which take contrary views to his? First we heard that she really didn't have a baby and that she was covering for her daughter....then we were told by the same left wing zealots that she had an affair with her husband's business partner, then we told she was a member of a secessionist movement...the lies continue, so be careful how far you're willing to run with them.

    Source: "Report: Palin, as Mayor, Raised Library Censorship Issue Three Times," by Norman Oder, Library Journal, 4 September 2008.

    "Open forum"!!!!

  5. Just curious. I know the old adage Democrats fall in love, Republicans fall in line. But really, why do you people give your support to someone that you know very little about. Although a Republican, I don't understand this new breed you belong to. I have received many emails with quite interesting fabrications about the Obama family. Your wing of the party doesn't seem to mind that. Is that because it is all about winning? Do you feel it proper to fight dishonesty selectively? Just curious. I am an older person, an older Republican and I never though that I would see members of my party try to excuse censorship. Also, what books did Sen. Obama try to censor? Thanks!

  6. Thanks for writing, Anonymous.

    SafeLibraries supports no political candidates or parties. The issue is libraries and children, not people.

    The issue of libraries and children is addressed by people of all political stripes, from Naomi Wolf to Rebecca Hagelin.

    It is my observation that more is done to protect children in libraries by Democrat administrations. It is my observation that this is based on the freezing (Alinsky style) of Republicans by those shouting censorship. Democrats usually need not fear such tactics, so that's one less obstacle for them.

    SafeLibraries takes no position regarding Sarah Palin. I noticed the attack on Sarah Palin that may have been in violation of the library's own policies and I rightly raised that as an issue. Had the target been Barak Obama, I would have said the exact same things, but for the names.

    Any more questions?

  7. The ALA has admitted it violated 501(c)(3) rules!

    "Discussion also erupted on the electronic discussion list of the American Library Association’s governing Council and quickly turned into the kind of political debate that ALA’s 501(c)3 tax-exempt status prohibits. After the ALA executive office cried foul, the discussion was moved to the electronic list of the ALA–Allied Professional Association, whose 501(c)6 tax status permits arguing for or against a candidate for elective office."

    "Critics Revisit Library Incident that Paints Palin as Censor," American Library Association, 8 September 2008, emphasis added. (Accessed September 11, 2008) Document ID: 509102

    SafeLibraries was on the leading edge of identifying and reporting on this debacle. Please consider subscribing to the blog feed.

    Thank you.

  8. Although SafeLibraries takes no position regarding Sarah Palin, I welcome the great comments from "Librarians for Palin." See: "The Book Banners Hollywood Ignores - Michelle Malkin," by Librarians for Palin, 17 September 2008.

    Here is what "Librarians for Palin" had to say:

    "Read Safe Libraries for the truth about what some libraries have become such as the Minneapolis Library. When you are over at Safe check out the blog, the post on how the American Library Association smears Governor Palin is especially interesting."


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