Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Banned Books Week Hypocrisy Publicized

Gmail

[ifforum] BBW Hypocrisy Publicized

RKent20551@cs.com Tue, Sep 30, 2008 at 7:12 PM
To: ifforum@ala.org, lib@dos.state.fl.us
The Friends of Cuban Libraries
(http://www.friendsofcubanlibraries.org)
Sept. 29, 2008

Banned Book Week Hypocrisy Publicized

Newspapers are publicizing the American Library Association's sponsorship of Banned Books Week. Sadly, the general public and even some Banned Books Week co-sponsors are unaware of the ALA's alarming hypocrisy regarding censorship, book burning and library repression in Cuba.

In response to the ALA's complicity with censorship and repression in Cuba, the Friends of Cuban Libraries have launched an Anti-Hypocrisy Campaign to inform the public of the ALA's tragic failure to defend its most basic principle, freedom of expression.

In response to ALA publicity, the Friends of Cuban Libraries are sending responses to the "feedback" columns of newspapers innocently cheerleading the ALA's hypocritical sponsorship of Banned Books Week. As part of this Anti-Hypocrisy campaign, we have posted messages on the websites of several newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times and the Florida Sun-Sentinel. As an example of our effort to publicize the ALA's scandalous violation of its most basic principle, copied below is a response to a pro-BBW article appearing today on the Chicago Tribune's website.
-------------------------------------------

Chicago Tribune, Sept. 30, 2008:


"Citizens of Chicago are beginning to realize that the noble principles embodied in the ALA's Banned Books Week are being trampled into the mud by a militant faction which has seized control of key ALA offices.

"This faction is trying to ignore and cover up censorship, court-ordered book burning and persecution of librarians in Cuba. Renowned anti-censorship authorities such as Ray Bradbury, Nat Hentoff, Madeleine Albright and Anthony Lewis have spoken out on this issue at ALA conferences. Sadly, these appeals to principle have been ignored, thanks to the complacency of the well-meaning but ignorant majority on the ALA's governing Council who are oblivious to the takeover of the ALA by scheming extremists.

"For details on this emerging scandal, please refer to our organization's website at (http://www.friendsofcubanlibraries.org)"

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The ALA and Castration

What does the American Library Association [ALA] have to do with castration? Nothing.

But I see an unmistakable comparison between the rationalization of the ALA and that of the FX Networks in at least one respect. Let me show you the evidence, then figure this out for yourselves.

First, please read the following stories:
Next, please consider the following quotes from the above articles, emphasis added. First, the "Castration" article:
On Sept.17, viewers of the appropriately named new series "Sons of Anarchy" were "treated" to a graphic castration scene, complete with hacked-off genitals shown lying in a pool of blood.

Completely tasteless programming is in, and FX bathes in it. The mastermind of all that Rupert Murdoch-backed villainy is an executive named John Landgraf, who pronounces his philosophical approach thusly: "One of our writers used to say, 'Bad men do what good men can only dream about.' There is a sense that what these characters are doing is allowing us to explore, in a safe context, our id and subconscious, what we might do if there were no restraints of society or conscience on us."
....
In a nutshell, what we're hearing is FX executives who have a lot more sensitivity to the "vision" of a seriously twisted human being than they do to the prospect of a 10-year-old boy finding a terrifying castration scene as he's flipping channels in his home.

Now here are the quotes from the "Racy Reading" article:
The latest book to fan the flames is Paul Ruditis' "Rainbow Party," about an oral-sex party that never happens, in part because the teens who've been invited have major reservations. The book ... highlights the dangers of oral sex and sexually transmitted diseases, but has been criticized by some parents and conservative commentators.

"Rainbow Party" isn't exactly flying off the shelves -- because it isn't on most bookstore shelves. Barnes & Noble and Borders are selling the book on their Web sites only. And many libraries are passing on the book -- not for censorship reasons, but because it lacks literary merit, they say.
....
But books can provoke discussions, says Pam Spencer Holley of the American Library Association. Although she wouldn't hand a child a copy of "Rainbow Party" without comment, she thinks that book -- and others -- can provoke family discussions.

"I think I'd say, 'This is something we need to sit and talk about,' " says Holley. "It's a way for kids to experience something at a safe distance -- and a way for them to make up their minds about how they would respond in that kind of situation."

She's happy to see teen girls reading. Eventually, girls who are reading Gossip Girls will move on to better books, she says.

"Unless you read stuff that's perhaps not the most literary, you'll never understand what good works are," says Holley. "But when you get them hooked on reading, then you can lead them so many other places, as far as books go."

Besides, she says, what's the worst thing that can happen? "Nobody complains about the adult women who read Harlequin romances."

Does anyone see the similarities? Do I have to spell it out? Are these rationalizations for sexualizing children legitimate? Any comments?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

ALA Web Site Disaster - Hyperlinks No Longer Work; ALA's New Web Site Makes Many Former URLs Obsolete

The ALA has revamped its web site, and in the process, at least some former hyperlinks fail to work.  They are not being redirected to new URLs.  I have so many links to the ALA web site to support my findings, I just don't know what to do.  I'll bet everyone else is similarly affected.

Does anyone have any ideas about how to resolve this?  Like by convincing the ALA to set up redirects, or by using Archive.org, or by mass editing hyperlinks (hopefully not)?

For example,  the ALA's "Library Bill of Rights" used to be at:

http://www.ala.org/ala/
oif/statementspols/statementsif/librarybillrights
.htm

and now it is at:

http://www.ala.org/ala/
aboutala/offices/
oif/statementspols/statementsif/librarybillrights
.cfm

All you get now is this:

Page Not Found

The page you're looking for is unavailable at the web address you used.  The American Library Association has implemented a new site architecture and has reorganized all of the content on the site.

Here are some strategies to use to find the information you are seeking.

  • Try browsing to the page, using the navigation on the left side of the page.
  • Use the site search function (the search box is in the upper right quadrant of the page).  search bar graphic
  • Contact Karen Muller, the ALA Librarian, at library@ala.org for assistance.  She (or another member of the Library staff) will try to find the page, or connect you to the unit responsible for the page, usually within a business day.

Thank you for visiting ALA's new website!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Scholastic Tells ALA to Take a Hike; Drops Bratz Books from Catalog on Eve of ALA's Phoney "Banned Books Week"

"Scholastic, one of North America's biggest distributors of books to schools, has removed the Bratz line of books from its catalogue after parents complained the characters contributed to the sexualization of children." "Scholastic Drops Bratz Books," by CBC News, 20 September 2008. On the eve of the American Library Association's [ALA] phoney "Banned Books Week," Scholastic drops an entire line of books in response to concerns about the sexualization of children.

To me, the timing is no accident. This is Scholastic sending the ALA a message: "Take a hike, ALA. Keeping sexually inappropriate material from children is neither book banning nor censorship. Others may be intimidated by you, but we are not."

Also see:




"Scholastic Drops Bratz Books," by CBC News, 20 September 2008

Scholastic, one of North America's biggest distributors of books to schools, has removed the Bratz line of books from its catalogue after parents complained the characters contributed to the sexualization of children.

Bratz books are a spinoff from the line of female dolls, which are often clothed in miniskirts, bikinis, fishnet stockings and boas.

In a statement released Friday, Scholastic said its decision to remove the Bratz books did not stem from the parental campaign but instead claimed that its offerings "change all the time."

The company admitted it had been the target of a "couple of thousand" e-mails from concerned parents, following an initiative by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood in 2007.

Thousands of parents e-mailed Scholastic to complain that it was "marketing precocious sexuality to young girls in schools."

A report last year from the American Psychological Association said that "the objectified sexuality presented by these dolls … is limiting for adolescent girls and even more so for the very young girls who represent the market for these dolls."

"We're not interested in banning books," Susan Linn, psychiatry instructor at Harvard Medical School and co-founder of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood coalition, told the Guardian newspaper.

"What we think is that there should not be commercialism in schools and that when schools market a product to children it is particularly effective. First, because it's a captive market, and second, because it carries extra weight — even if children don't like school, they know it's meant to be good for them."

At the time Scholastic offered the books, the company had said the titles featured "strong, capable girl characters" and were aimed at children who didn't like to read.

MGA Entertainment, the company that makes the Bratz dolls, has previously said its line of dolls stand for "passion, self-expression and the importance of friendship."

Copyright CBC News 2008. Reprinted for Copyright Fair Use educational purposes.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Lewis and Clark's Gay Adventure; Helena, MT, and the Homosexuality Red Herring

Many on both sides of an issue at the Lewis & Clark Library in Helena, MT, are taking a common library concern and exacerbating it by raising the red herring of homosexuality.  The library's collection contains "The Joy of Gay Sex."  Access to it by children is not restricted in any way, causing a controversy.  However, obvious overtones of homosexuality are causing people to lose focus on the underlying legitimate interest.  As the US Supreme Court put it in United States v. American Library Assocation, "The interest in protecting young library users from material inappropriate for minors is legitimate, and even compelling, as all Members of the Court appear to agree."  Apparently, like "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure," we are now on "Lewis & Clark's Gay Adventure," and US v. ALA is just a George Carlin joke.

Paul Cohen is the person who raised the matter about the book in the first place.  He realizes "this principle applies whether homosexual or heterosexual."  But many of his supporters, detractors, and those in the media are turning this issue into one about homosexuality.  Linked here are a number of media reports on this Helena, MT, library matter.

It is my opinion those who support his position are raising concerns about homosexuality out of a misunderstanding of the purposes of public libraries.  But those who oppose his position raise concerns about homosexuality knowing it is a red herring.

For example, in an analogous situation, parents in a public school in Howell, MI, complained about a book because it contained, among other things, bestiality.  The American Library Association [ALA] implied those parents were racist for opposing the book containing bestiality because the author is "black."  The public school, now chastised by the ALA for being racist, chose to keep the bestiality book available for students.  So much for local control.

And look at the title of that article: "Group Targets Black Authors' Books."  It is like the titles of stories now circulating, e.g., "Library Holds Hearing on Gay-Sex Book," Associated Press, 18 September 2008.  What a difference it would make if the titles were unbiased: "Group Targets Books Containing Bestiality"; "Library Holds Hearing on Book Deemed Inappropriate for Children."  I made this very observation evident to the Howell community, but the ALA is too intimidating, so it often gets away with bullying tactics, such as calling people racist.  

Do the people of Helena, MT, want to suffer the same fate?  Does the existence of some "anti-gay" people or an inartfully-framed argument mean children should continue to be exposed to inappropriate material despite the US Supreme Court, the law, and common sense?  There are perfectly reasonable and legal means to restrict children's access to inappropriate materials in public libraries.  If Paul Cohen did not make this case well enough, that does not mean nothing should be done.  Helena citizens should set aside library misinformation and biased media reports and editorials and take action accordingly.  (One editorial even promoted the ALA's "Banned Books Week," which Thomas Sowell calls "National Hogwash Week.")

I recommend people on all sides drop the issue of homosexuality since it is irrelevant to the matter of protecting children from material inappropriate for minors.  I realize those who support Paul Cohen will find this tough medicine to swallow, and those who oppose him will continue to use the homosexuality angle as the red herring it is.  After all, calling parents racists worked in keeping the children exposed to bestiality, so why not follow the ALA's lead and call people bigots?

By the way, Paul Cohen has created an excellent resource on this "Joy of Gay Sex" matter.  It is excellent because it contains the opinions of people on all sides of this issue.  See "Summary of the Public Hearing with Paul's Commentary."  A similar article presenting all sides of an issue that I had made available, "Ban the Bunnies," was used as course material in the #1 library and information science Ph.D. school in the USA.  Thank you, Paul Cohen, for making this useful resource available.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Windsor Public Library Claims Age Discrimination If Children Kept From Inappropriate Material, Thereby Misinforming its Community

Here is my Letter to the Editor submitted to the Windsor Journal in response to "Request to Remove Sex Education Book From Library Denied," by Jacqueline Bennett, The Windsor Journal, 18 September 2008.

Dear Editor:

Having read the recent article in the Windsor Journal about the Timothy Bergsma's concern regarding a library book, my overall impression is that what is missing is accurate information. When people make decisions, they should be informed decisions, not misinformed ones. Sadly, it appears the library has misinformed the citizens and the government of Windsor, CT.

The decision to refuse to remove the book was correct, but the decision to refuse to move it out of "Kidspace" is where the misinformation plays a role.

The prominent mention of the "Library Bill of Rights" and the recitation of "Article V" is presented without any balance whatsoever. Apparently, the library has led people to believe it would be "age" discrimination for a librarian to keep certain materials away from children. But this is misinformation for at least two reasons.

One, the library has not disclosed that in a case the American Library Association [ALA] lost in the US Supreme Court in 2003 entitled US v. ALA, the Court said, "The interest in protecting young library users from material inappropriate for minors is legitimate, and even compelling, as all Members of the Court appear to agree." So why does the ALA continue to call it "age" discrimination, and why does the Windsor library misinform the public similarly? See http://tinyurl.com/us-v-ala for yourself.

Two, the library was created by some local law that set out its mission. I'll bet ALA policy is not a part of that mission. If the library claims it is "age" discrimination to keep children from any material, that follows ALA policy, but it likely falls outside your own public library law that created the library in the first place. In other words, the library may be acting outside the law. In such a case, the government has every right and duty to step in to ensure compliance with the law. "Bergsma said technically the town manager has the authority to modify library policy." He may be correct, at least where the library is acting outside the law.

And no letters from any "Intellectual Freedom Committee" or similarly misinformed decisions "made in other towns" should make a difference. Is it "intellectual freedom" to allow a child access to inappropriate material even in the face of common sense, local law, and US v. ALA?

Mayor Donald Trinks is reported as having said the library made the "right choices." He also said, "One person's pornography is another person's art." I infer from the article that the Mayor did not have a full opportunity to become informed about the issues at the time of the interview, so I credit the Mayor for speaking out as he did. However, he is incorrect.

First, claiming it is a violation of "constitutional rights" to move a book from one section of the library to another is wrong. Even the ALA admits that does not present a problem. Listen to the podcast at http://www.pio.ala.org/visibility/?p=141 to hear a major leader in the ALA say this herself.

Second, saying "one person's pornography is another person's art" is a way of saying anything goes. Ignore what US v. ALA said about children and inappropriate material. Ignore what local law says is the purpose of the local library. Ignore common sense. Anything goes. Besides, the issue is not pornography. As US v. ALA illustrates, the issue is "material inappropriate for minors," which is significantly different.

I certainly hope the citizens and especially the government get educated in a balanced fashion. Where the library is the sole source of that information, the news story reveals that would be an exercise in misinformation.

"Jepsen said he has confidence in the judgment of the library professionals." Really? Citizens should read US v. ALA. Listen to that ALA podcast I linked. Get out the local law that created the library and read it carefully. Get educated so library misinformation is easier to see.

Windsor children may be protected from inappropriate materials in a legal manner, but for the clouds of misinformation about "age" discrimination presented by the library in reliance on ALA policy.

###



by Jacqueline Bennett, The Windsor Journal, 18 September 2008
(reprinted under the Fair Use provision of the US Copyright Act):

A resident's requests to have a children's sex education book removed from the Main Library or relocated to a different section have been denied. The matter was part of an annual report from the Windsor Library Advisory Board to the Town Council on Sept. 15 at town hall. According to library board chairman Michael Raphael, over the last year one resident - Timothy Bergsma, of 24 Michelle Lane - made three separate requests to the board in regard to the same book. Initially, Bergsma asked the former library director Laura Kahkonen, who retired this summer, to remove the book. Citing library policy, she refused. Then Bergsma went to the library board that backed Kahkonen and voted unanimously to uphold the Library Development Collection Policy.

Adopted by the library board in 2007, the policy states: "while the library is aware that one or more persons may take issue with the selection of any items, the library does not have to remove from the shelves items purchased in accordance with the policy outlined here." The policy goes on to say that the purpose of the materials collection at the Main Library is to "make available materials for educational, informational and recreational needs of the community."

In addition, it states that the library subscribes to the Library Bill of Rights, which as interpreted by the American Library Association (ALA), essentially protects the intellectual freedom of minors. The ALA's interpretation states: "Library policies and procedures that effectively deny minors equal access to all library resources and services to other users violate the Library Bill of Rights." Article V of the Library Bill of Rights reads: "A person's right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background or views."

Raphael said the library board's response to the resident's requests is consistent with responses to similar complaints made in other towns. A letter of support was received by the board from Peter Chase of the Intellectual Freedom Committee, he noted.

Subsequent to the original request, says Gaye Rizzo, the Main Library's new director, Bergsma filled out a reconsideration form and brought two more requests directly to the board, both of which were denied on the basis of present library policy. The second request was that the book be moved to the young adults section and a third request asked that the book be moved to the parents section

According to Rizzo, the title of the book in question is "Sex, Puberty and All That Stuff."

In a phone interview Tuesday, Bergsma said "I was browsing through the children's section. I wasn't looking for trouble."

A Roman Catholic father of five children ranging in age from infant to 12, Bergsma said the family moved to Windsor in 2005. Two of his school-age children are home schooled while two others attend a parochial school. He said when he lived in Waterford he wrote a letter objecting to material at the Groton Public Library but did not pursue it because that was not his town library.

Bergsma said he wants other materials removed from the Main Library in Windsor but thus far has only made formal requests regarding the book. He contends the book goes beyond education and "advocates" behavior that he finds objectionable, as being acceptable or "normal," including masturbation, group masturbation, homosexual relationships, petting, oral sex, abortion and contraceptive use

"These viewpoints are being advocated to our youngest patrons," he said

Bergsma said the book is located in an area called "Kidspace." He believes that presenting these behaviors to children as being widely accepted promotes a further "degeneration of our sexual mores."

Although the library board denied his requests, members did ask library staff to look for additional materials to add to the collection that would represent a variety of viewpoints and to ask Bergsma for suggestions. The staff has followed through and, according to Bergsma, was even able to find more materials than he could. Nonetheless, he said he is not satisfied with adding materials as a solution.

Bergsma said he has also asked the library board to allow an exchange between the public and the members at their meetings so his questions can be answered directly. Currently, library board agendas allow for public comment but if a matter is not on the agenda it is not discussed by the board

The library board does not have a set meeting schedule, rather it meets quarterly at the call of special meetings. Its next meeting will likely be in October and Bergsma said he plans to attend. If the board does not arrange for a direct discussion between the public and the board, Bergsma said he plans to next approach Town Manager Peter Souza. Bergsma said technically the town manager has the authority to modify library policy.

If he feels it is necessary to go to Souza and does not get what he considers to be a satisfactory response, Bergsma said he plans then to bring his issues before the town council, which appoints members of the library board. He said he believes the board should be comprised of a membership more representative of all of Windsor . "The 9-0 votes I've been getting on these requests show the library board does not represent the whole town," he said

Mayor Donald Trinks, a Democrat, and Republican Councilor Donald Jepsen each said this week they are not familiar with the book.

Based on the information he does have, Trinks said, constitutional rights may be involved and that thus far library staff and board members have made the "right choices" following the process that is in place

"This was the first I had heard of it. It does bring up certain interest about constitutional rights, the town's obligation to disseminate all information and a parent's right not to have a child exposed to it," said the mayor.

Trinks added that parents have a responsibility to monitor what their children read at a public library just as they would monitor what their children watch on television.

Trinks and Jepsen agreed that passing judgement on the book is subjective. "One person's pornography is another person's art," said Trinks.

Jepsen said he has confidence in the judgment of the library professionals. "Everyone's threshold for what they find acceptable is different. It's the old question - 'what is pornography?' I don't know, but I'll know if I see it," said Jepsen.

As for a possible request to remove current library board members in regard to this situation, Jepsen said, "That is extreme."

©Windsor Journal 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

West Virginia Filters Libraries Statewide Using Federal CIPA Legislation - Sets Example that No Statewide CIPA Legislation Needed

West Virginia filters all public library computers statewide at the state level!  It does this using only the federal CIPA legislation.  This sets a national example of how libraries in other states could be filtered without the need for statewide CIPA legislation, if only the library associations did not oppose the public.

The filters work well, but the bad guys are constantly trying to bypass the filters, so West Virginia includes several means to deter criminal activity.  I love this one: "Shame is one of the best filters there is."  Indeed, according to US v. ALA, "the Constitution does not guarantee the right to acquire information at a public library without any risk of embarrassment."

Another terrific aspect of this story is that library staff identified and reported the criminal activity to the police--a rapist was viewing child p0rnography.  This is especially outstanding since the American Library Association [ALA] policy is to the contrary:  "As for obscenity and child p0rnography, prosecutors and police have adequate tools to enforce criminal laws. Libraries are not a component of law enforcement efforts...."  Well, ALA, apparently they are in Ohio and West Virginia.  I hereby nominate the Martins Ferry Public Library and the West Virginia Library Commission for Family Friendly Libraries Awards of Recognition.

Here is the media report upon which I base my statements.  It tells the truth that the ALA would not want you to know, so read it carefully.  I include it under the Fair Use provision of the US Copyright Act:


"Libraries Target Net P0rn; West Virginia Libraries Have Filters at State Level," by Gabe Wells, The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register, 17 September 2008, emphasis mine.

WHEELING - An accused rapist allegedly caught viewing child p0rnography at the Martins Ferry Public Library probably couldn't have done so in a West Virginia library.

Quentin N. Phillips was held Tuesday in the Belmont County Jail following his arrest Saturday on charges of rape and pandering sexually oriented matter involving a child. Phillips allegedly confessed to having sexual intercourse with a young boy "continuously for several years" after being taken into custody Saturday at the Martins Ferry library.

A librarian saw the 32-year-old Martins Ferry resident looking at the p0rnography and called police.

West Virginia Library Commission Executive Secretary J.D. Wagoner said his agency pays for the filtering of computers in all public libraries in the Mountain State. The filtering is done by the West Virginia Office of Technology, and Wagoner said it involves both site and key word filtering.

Ohio County Public Library Director Dottie Thomas said West Virginia libraries benefit from the filtering being done on the state level.

"It is very nice because we don't have to worry about installing filters on the computers," Thomas said.

Wagoner said the filters are effective. He noted, however, that those posting p0rnography work consistently to bypass those filters. He said people posting p0rnography have additional resources as well.

"Those who host p0rn sites have more money to invest in getting their content to people than we have to stop them," Wagoner said. "It is a constant security issue."

In addition to filters, Wagoner said there are additional steps that can be taken to prevent p0rnography from being downloaded on library computers. He said the computers should be placed where they can be seen clearly by library patrons and staff.

"Shame is one of the best filters there is," Wagoner said.

Martins Ferry Public Library Director Yvonne Myers said those using the Internet there must sign an agreement to not view inappropriate material. She said people who violate that agreement are either suspended or banned from the library. Myers said Phillips was coming to the Martins Ferry library almost daily.

"We are not an adult book store, we are a public library," Myers said. "They (staff members) suspected he was looking, but you hope your worst fears aren't true. We don't like to spy as a rule, but it's in a public area so you can't help but see what people are looking at."

Myers said she also wonders if Phillips was hoping to be caught.

"I don't know when it's so blatant," she said. "We do wonder. We didn't hesitate at all when (the librarian) saw what he was doing."

Police reportedly recovered a "flash drive," or portable computer memory device, from Phillips and found 173 photos and videos of naked children stored on it.

Some of those pictures showed children engaged in sex acts with each other and with adults. Several other photos were of children being sexually assaulted by adults, according to the city police report.

Martins Ferry Police Chief Barry Carpenter said Phillips is a former Michigan resident, but Carpenter does not know how long Phillips has lived in Martins Ferry. The chief said investigators do not believe Phillips has a criminal history.

A representative of Belmont County Children's Services was called along with police to execute a search warrant at Phillips' 1825 Hill St. home. Officers recovered a flash drive, a digital camera, a disposable camera, a camcorder videos and nude photos there.

Carpenter credited the staff of the Martins Ferry Public Library for contacting police. He said the situation is disturbing.

Fact Box

WHAT IS THE LAW?

In U.S. v. American Library Association, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that a law passed by Congress could protect children from p0rnography on library computers without violating free speech.

"Because public libraries have traditionally excluded p0rnographic material from their other collections, Congress could reasonably impose a parallel limitation on its Internet assistance programs," Justice William Rehnquist wrote.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Thomas Sowell on Banned Books Week - BBW is "Shameless Propaganda ... Now Institutionalized With a Week of Its Own"

Thomas Sowell wrote about the American Library Association's "Banned Books Week" calling it "National Hogwash Week." As the media rebroadcast ALA propaganda uncritically, let us remember "Banned Books Week" is total propaganda. No book has been banned in the USA for many decades; what with the Internet, it is nearly impossible now. See "Hogwash is Happening," by Thomas Sowell, Washington Times, 3 October 1994.

Even a former ALA Councilor said, emphasis mine:
It also highlights the thing we know about Banned Books Week that we don't talk about much--the bulk of these books are challenged by parents for being age-inappropriate for children. While I think this is still a formidable thing for librarians to deal with, it's totally different from people trying to block a book from being sold at all.
Here are choice quotes from Thomas Sowell, emphasis mine:
  • "The kind of shameless propaganda that has become commonplace in false charges of 'censorship' or 'book banning' has apparently now been institutionalized with a week of its own."
  • "False charges of banning or censorship are so common that they are seldom challenged for evidence or even for a definition."
  • "To call a book 'banned' because someone decided that it was unsuitable for their particular students or clientele would be to make at least 99 percent of all books 'banned.'"
  • "If the criterion of censorship is that the objection comes from the general public, rather than from people who run schools and libraries, then that is saying the parents and taxpayers have no right to a say about what is done with their own children or their own money."
  • "[O]ther books in the display were pure propaganda for avante-garde notions that are being foisted onto vulnerable and unsuspecting children in the name of 'education.'"
  • "No one calls it censorship if the collected works of Rush Limbaugh are not put into libraries and schools in every town, hamlet and middlesex village. It is only when the books approved by the elite intelligentsia are objected to by others that is it called censorship. Apparently we are not to talk back to our betters."
  • "Those who are spreading hysteria about book banning and censorship know that they are in a war, but too many of those who thoughtlessly repeat their rhetoric do not."
See also:
  • "Censorship Propaganda is Just So Much Hogwash," by Thomas Sowell, The Seattle Times, 5 October 1994.
  • "Report on Banned Books is a Cynical Hoax," by James Kilpatrick, Herald-Journal, 19 March 1996.
  • "Banned Books Report Should Be Banned," by James J. KilpatrickThe Post and Courier, 24 March 1996.
  • "Many Books Challenged, But Few Were Banned," by James KilpatrickThe Mount Airy News, 24 March 1996.
  • "Banned Books Week: Smoke Screen of Hypocrisy," by Linda Harvey, WorldNetDaily, 23 September 2005.
  • "Marking 25 Years of Banned Books Week," by Judith Krug, Curriculum Review, 46:1 September 2006.

    On rare occasion, we have situations where a piece of material is not what it appears to be on the surface and the material is totally inappropriate for a school library.  In that case, yes, it is appropriate to remove materials. If it doesn't fit your material selection policy, get it out of there.
  • "American Library Association Shamed," by Nat Hentoff, Laurel-Leader Call, 2 March 2007.
    So bizarre is the ALA leadership, along with a cadre of Castro admirers on the Governing Council — in its abandonment of their fellow librarians — it refuses to post on its “Book Burning in the 21st Century” Web site the extensive, documented court transcripts of the “trials” that sent the librarians to prison. Those judges ordered the “incineration” of the prisoners’ libraries, including works by Martin Luther King Jr. and George Orwell’s “Animal Farm.”
    ....
    A key ALA official, Judith Krug, heads its office of Intellectual Freedom. In my many years of reporting on the ALA’s sterling record of protecting American librarians from censorship, I often quoted her in admiration. But now, she said at an ALA meeting about supporters of the caged librarians, “I’ve dug in my heels ... I refuse to be governed by people with an agenda.” The Cuba issue, she continued, “wouldn’t die,” though she’d like to “drown it.”
  • "Banned Books Week," by Norma, Collecting My Thoughts, 9 October 2007.
  • "The Real Library 'Censors,'" by Dr. Judith Reisman, WorldNetDaily, 16 September 2008.
  • "How Anti-Censors, 'Censor' the Truth About Censorship or ... Looking for Nazis in All the Wrong Places," by Tomeboy, Tomeboy, undated.
  • "'Left' Out - Liberal Censors You Never Hear About," by Tomeboy, Tomeboy, undated.
  • "You Gotta Buy'em to Ban'em," by Tomeboy, Tomeboy, undated.
  • "The Book Banners Hollywood Ignores," by Michelle Malkin, TownHall.com, 17 September 2008.
  • "The ALA Celebrates BBW!," by Annoyed Librarian, Annoyed Librarian, 1 October 2007.
  • "Banned Books Week," by Sean Lindsay, 101 Reasons to Stop Writing, 4 October 2007.
  • "Banned Books Week? Are You Kidding? It's a Fraud!!!," by Dan Kleinman, SafeLibraries.org, undated.
  • "Book Banning Myths," by Nancy M. Czerwiec, Illinois Family Institute, 4 October 2007.
  • "Meet Your Local Book Burner," by Tom Giffey, Leader-Telegram, 24 September 2008.
  • "Partisan UT Prof Hijacks 'Banned Books Week,'" by Reid Ahlbeck, Toledo Free Press, 26 September 2008, exclusively online.
  • "25 Banned Books That You Should Read Today." "This list ... tells you where you can read them all for free online." [NOTE: How can they be "banned" when they are free to read online anytime, anywhere?]
  • "'Banned' Books Week Strikes Again," by Annoyed Librarian, Annoyed Librarian, 29 September 2008.
  • "Banned Books Week, 2008," by Dennis, The Recliner Commentaries, 30 September 2008.
  • "Banned Books Week Hypocrisy Publicized," by Robert Kent, The Friends of Cuban Librarians, 30 September 2008.
  • "Banned Books High School Update," by Laurie Higgins, Illinois Family Institute, 1 October 2008.
  • "'Banned Books Week' Stokes the Fire," by Cal Thomas, Muskegon Chronicle, 22 September 1995. (Look a little down the page to find this.)
  • "Students Challenge Library Policies, Ask for Equal Viewpoint Representation," by Focus on the Family, CitizenLink, 2 October 2008.  See also Responding to Banned Books Week, Standing for True Diversity in Public Libraries!
  • "Banned Books, Chapter 2; Conservative Group Urges Libraries to Accept Collection," by Michael Alison Chandler, The Washington Post, 3 October 2008.
  • "Banned Book Week and Intelligent Design Part 1: Darwinist Law Professor Supports Library Censorship of Pro-ID Books," by Casey Luskin, Evolution News & Views, 3 October 2008, criticizing "Evolution and the Holy Ghost of Scopes: Can Science Lose the Next Round?," by Stephen A. Newman, Rutgers Journal of Law and Religion, Vol. 8.2, Spring 2007.
  • "'Censors' Are So Scary," by Annoyed Librarian, Library Journal, 6 October 2008.
  • "'Some 'Censorship' is Good," by Annoyed Librarian, Library Journal, 8 October 2008.
  • "Humberto Fontova, the Media's 'Book Banning' Claims, and the ALA's Opposition to the 'Right to Apply Accuracy' in Public Schools," by Dan Kleinman, SafeLibraries, 17 February 2009.
  • "'Librarians 'Censor' Statutory Rape Book," by Annoyed Librarian, Library Journal, 23 February 2009.
  • "A Pet Peeve," by Doug Archer, OIF Blog [ALA], 17 June 2009.
  • "Therapy: Part 2," by Lauren, The Barnes Family, 27 June 2009. See also "Romance Novels Pornography for Women," by Adrienne, Adrienne Bone, 27 June 2009.
  • "Banned Books Week and the ALA," by Dennis Ingolfsland, The Recliner Commentaries, 4 August 2009.
  • "Banned Books Map," by Dennis IngolfslandThe Recliner Commentaries, 27 August 2009.
  • "US Libraries Hit Back Over Challenges to Kids Books," by Sara Hussein, Agence France-Presse [AFP], 6 September 2009:

    Kleinman accuses the ALA of hyperbole in celebrating Banned Books Week. "The whole purpose of Banned Books Week is to provide this kind of misinformation," he said. "The ALA misleads people into thinking that if you keep an inappropriate book from a child that is considered censorship. It is not."
  • "Finding Censorship Where There Is None," by Mitchell Muncy, Wall Street Journal, 24 September 2009.

    In the common-law tradition, censorship refers specifically to the government's prior restraint on publication. None of the sponsors claim this has happened; the acts they have in mind are perpetrated by private citizens. Yet the cases on the map almost all involve ordinary people lodging complaints with school and library authorities. Before Banned Books Week began in 1982, such behavior was known as petitioning the government for a redress of grievances.
    ....
    There's something odd about a national organization with a $54 million budget and 67,000 members reacting so zealously against a few unorganized, law-abiding parents whose efforts, by any sensible standard, are hopelessly ineffective. The ALA's members have immeasurably more power than the "censors" they denounce to decide what books are available in our communities, but this power is so familiar it's invisible. Why do parents' public petitions constitute censorship, while librarians' hidden verdicts do not? A spokesman for the ALA once tackled this question in the Boston Globe: "The selection criteria that librarians use may not always be what everybody wants. I don't see that it's a real problem." Move along, folks, nothing to see here.
  • "Chicago Tribune's Julia Keller Endorses ALA's Banned Books Week," by Laurie Higgins, Illinois Family Institute, 28 September 2009.
  • "Celebrate 'Banned' Books Week!," by Annoyed Librarian, Library Journal, 30 September 2009.

    The ALA's definition of censorship has no relationship whatsoever to what everyone else in the entire world understands by the word. It's incoherent and self-serving.
  • "The American Library Association's Stealth Jihad Against Free Speech – by William J. Becker, Jr.," by William J. Becker, Jr., FRONTPAGE MAG, 9 October 2009.
  • "Gay Reversal Advocates Say School Libraries Banning Their 'Ex-Gay' Books," by Diane Macedo, FOX News Network, 22 October 2009.

    Calls from Foxnews.com to Caldwell-Stone were directed to American Library Association Media Relations Manager Macey Morales, who asked for more information about PFOX's allegations and then failed to return follow-up e-mails and phone calls.
  • "American Library Association Silent as Libraries Ban Books About Ex-Gays," by Wintery Knight, Wintery Knight, 28 October 2009.

    The American Library Association refused to do anything about the book banning. This is actually predictable behavior for them – they are a left-wing advocacy group.
  • "It's Not Censorship, It's Parenting! Removing Books That are Inappropriate For Our Kids is Not the Same as Banning Books," by Erin Manning, MercatorNet.com, 18 November 2009. THIS IS THE BEST EXPLANATION EVER FOR WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION!
  • "The Silliest Celebration," by Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum, 4 December 2009.

    A few weeks ago, the American Library Association announced with much fanfare that it was celebrating the ridiculous event called "Banned Books Week." This announcement accused Americans of being “zealots and bigots who live in fear of discourse" and of being "screamers and book banners and book burners.” This Association arranged events and set up displays at libraries all over the country to pretend we have a problem with censorship.
  • "ALA Asks The Wrong Questions," by Annoyed Librarian, Library Journal, 15 March 2010.

    It's always been clear to me that the ALA OIF likes to dress up book challenges as "censorship" to draw attention to themselves and to pretend there is some sort of threat to "intellectual freedom" in the intellectually freest country in the world. It's hard to get worked up about some book challenge when the book is freely available in libraries and bookstores all over the country. But when it's censorship, then by God we're going to get upset by it! 
  • "Opinion: There Is a Time to Ban Books from School Libraries; Why the ALA Has It All Wrong on School Libraries," by Sylvia Cochran, Associated Content, 25 September 2010.

    Banned books are a sign of an oppressive regime. That said, forcing age-inappropriate reading materials on youngsters not ready to deal with the material -- and doing so just for the sake of a bigger principle -- is just as oppressive. Enter the American Library Association. .... Can't we trust the ALA to look out for the kids? The short answer is a resounding "no." .... Unless you are willing to sacrifice your child at the altar of political correctness, it may be wise to question the age-appropriateness of some books.
  • "ALA Oppresses Kids on Banned Books Week and All Year Long; Opinion: There Is a Time to Ban Books from School Libraries," by Dan Kleinman, SafeLibraries, 26 September 2010.
  • "The Parent Trap: ALA Uses Banned Books Week to Ridicule Patrons Complying with ALA Materials Reconsideration Policies," by Dan Kleinman, SafeLibraries, 29 September 2010.
  • "Banned Book Week - Who Are the Real 'Zealots, Bigots, and False Patriots?"," by Arlene Sawicki, Illinois Family Institute, 29 September 2010.

    Banned Book Week is a farce and an insult to the intelligence and goodwill of the taxpayers who pay for local public libraries and staff salaries.  Neither the American Library Association [ALA] nor the local community library is a "governmental" agency.  It is the taxpayers who own their community library and should have the freedom to determine the policies that regulate this community service institution.  The ALA, a private, non-governmental group of associated librarians, has incrementally usurped the freedoms of clients - especially parents - to determine which books should be selected for their library shelves.

    If anyone bans books, it is the radical American Library Association, which has run rough shod over our libraries for too many years and now solely determines which books are or are NOT ordered for display.

    It has been proven that books that have been banned from library shelves are those that the ALA "selection process" does not allow.
  • "Why the OIF Can't be Taken Seriously," by Annoyed Librarian, Library Journal, 6 October 2010.Although I’ve written a lot about “banned” books, my primary objections to OIF shenanigans can be condensed to two.

    1) By its own extremist logic, the OIF is incapable of arguing against making hard core pornography or excessively violent books or films available for young children. Everything is merely “information,” and everyone regardless of age somehow has a right to all that information. In the case of Internet pornography, they apparently have a duty to view the information if they happen to be passing by. Not only can they offer no argument against it, but if any concerned parents ask that such material be removed from the children’s section of a library, the OIF condemns them as censors.

    Despite the high-minded rhetoric, practical instances of challenges almost always involve what is appropriate or inappropriate for children. Any group that is incapable of nuanced ethical argument distinguishing the needs of children from adults deserves not only to be ignored, but morally condemned.

    2) The OIF uses deceptive language in their claims about “censorship.” I expect such dissembling rhetoric from politicians, but I prefer not to have it from my professional association. A library removing or not buying a book isn’t government censorship. Government censorship is very clear when it happens – just look to China or North Korea – but it is extremely rare in the United States. The OIF changes the meaning of “censorship” because it’s a strong word, and it makes their crusade against almost non-existent government censorship sound stronger.

    Government censorship prevents the publication of information. Period. That’s what it means, and everyone but the ALA knows it. If a book were really censored, a library wouldn’t be able to buy it in the first place, much less remove it. Recently, the Pentagon bought all 10,000 copies of the first edition of a spy memoir and destroyed them, claiming that they contained information that could be damaging to national security. This is the best attempt at government censorship I’ve seen in the United States since the Nixon era. Had they not bungled the affair by clearing the book and then later un-clearing it, it would be tempting to give the Pentagon the benefit of the doubt, because there are secrets of national security that protect American lives. It would still be censorship, but sometimes censorship is justified, and the right to free speech isn’t absolute. If the OIF really knew anything about the First Amendment, they would know this.

    Because of these two flaws in OIF thinking, it’s difficult to take them seriously. By using such extremist logic and sloppy language, they manage to turn what should be a serious debate about intellectual freedom and tolerance into a farce. A defense of intellectual freedom is admirable, but it can be defended without resort to irrational extremism or deceptive language.
  • "ALA's Ironic 'Banned Books Week,'" by Laurie Higgins, Illinois Family Institute, 19 October 2010.
    In a 1995 interview with Beverly Goldberg, the highly respected Judith F. Krug, decades-long president of the ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom, had this to say about the importance of intellectual diversity in library book collections:

    We have to serve the information needs of all the community and for so long "the community" that we served was the visible community.... And so, if we didn't see those people, then we didn't have to include them in our service arena. The truth is, we do have to.
    ...
    We never served the gay community.  Now, we didn't serve the gay community because there weren't materials to serve them.  You can't buy materials if they're not there.  But part of our responsibility is to identify what we need and then to begin to ask for it.  Another thing we have to be real careful about is that even though the materials that come out initially aren't wonderful, it's still incumbent upon us to have that voice represented in the collection.  This was exactly what happened in the early days of the women's movement, and as the black community became more visible and began to demand more materials that fulfilled their particular information needs.  We can't sit back and say, "Well, they're not the high-quality materials I'm used to buying."  They're probably not, but if they are the only thing available, then I believe we have to get them into the library. [emphasis added]

    According to Krug, intellectual diversity is of such paramount importance that it trumps even quality of material.  And if resources are scarce, Krug believes it is the obligation of librarians to ask for them.

    In light of Krug's comments, consider the topic on which libraries have virtually no books. Community and public high school libraries carry dozens of books, both fiction and non-fiction, on the topic of homosexuality and "transgenderism," almost every one of which espouses or embodies liberal assumptions about the nature and morality of homosexuality.  There can be found nary a one that espouses or embodies conservative assumptions about homosexuality.
  • "ALA Banned Books Week Hoax," by Norma, Collecting My Thoughts, 14 November 2010.
  • "My Problem with Banned Books Week," by Rory LitwinLibrary Juice, 28 August 2011.
  • "Banned Books B.S.," by Jonah Goldberg, National Review Online, 30 August 2011.
  • "Banned Books Week Propaganda Exposed by Progressive Librarian Rory Litwin; ALA Censors Out Criticism of Its Own Actions in a Manner Dishonest to the Core," by Dan KleinmanSafeLibraries, 1 September 2011.
  • "Column: Banned Books Week is Just Hype," by Jonah Goldberg, USA Today, 5 September 2011, emphasis mine.
    The problem: None of this is remotely true.  Banned Books Week is an exercise in propaganda.  For starters, as a legal matter no book in America is banned, period, full stop (not counting, I suppose, some hard-core illegal child porn or some such out there).  Any citizen can go to a bookstore or Amazon.com and buy any book legally in print—or out of print for that matter.
  • "Marking 25 Years of Banned Books Week: An Interview with Judith Krug," by Dan KleinmanSafeLibraries, 23 September 2011.
  • "It's Banned Books Week!!!," by NormaCollecting My Thoughts, 24 September 2011.
  • "Is Library Association's 'Banned Book Week' Really 'Gay' Promotion?; Critic Calls Event a 'Hoax Perpetrated on the American Public Since 1982,'" by Dave Tombers, WorldNetDaily, 25 September 2011.  THIS HAS TRANSCRIPT OF "BANNED" AUTHOR AMY SONNIE ADMITTING THE ALA KNEW OF OTHER BOOKS CHALLENGED MORE THAN HERS BUT PUT HERS ON THE LIST ANYWAY DUE IN PART TO THE LGBT ISSUE ("BIG DEAL") INVOLVED!  THE ALA'S ANNUAL TOP 10 CHALLENGED BOOK LIST IS FAKED!
  • "The Empty Threat of 'Banned Books Week,'" by Linda Harvey, Mission America, 26 September 2011.
  • "Banned Books Week is Gay Promotion? Author Admits ALA Faked 2010 Top 10 Challenged Book List," by Dan Kleinman, SafeLibraries, 26 September 2011.
  • "Library's Banned Books Week a Homosexual Smokescreen," by Ginny MaziarkaWISSUP, 26 September 2011.
  • "An Interview with Neal McCluskey: Are We In the Middle of Banned Books Week?," by Michael Shaughnessy, EducationViews, 28 September 2011.
  • "Banned Book List Excludes Those Banned by Libraries Themselves; Libraries Refuse Books on Ex-Gay Issues While Carrying Explicit 'Gay' Books," by Jack Minor, Greeley Gazette, 1 October 2011
  • "Weekend Meditation – Some Final Thoughts on Banned Books Week," by Will Manley, Will Unwound #569, 1 October 2011.
  • "Let's Ban the Classics — And Watch Teens Read 'Em," by John Keilman, Chicago Tribune, 4 October 2011.
  • "Chicago Tribune Op Ed on Banned Books Week," by Laurie Higgins, Illinois Family Institute, 5 October 2011.
  • "'Censorship' and False Courage," by Annoyed LibrarianLibrary Journal, 6 October 2011.
  • "A Solution Looking For a Problem," by Annoyed LibrarianLibrary Journal, 24 September 2012.
  • "Toleration and Intellectual Freedom," by Annoyed LibrarianLibrary Journal, 26 September 2012.
  • "Chicago Librarian Says Kids Should Read Anything They Want," by Laurie Higgins, Illinois Family Institute, 2 October 2012.
  • "Wherein I Rant About Banned Books Week," by JoAnnaPontifex Libris, 3 October 2012:
    It would be an understatement to say that I am deeply exasperated by the annual celebration of Banned Books Week.  Like a lot of other ALA advocacy efforts, it is emotionally charged, politically correct, and does not facilitate a rich discussion of the issues it aims to address.
  • "American Library Association Must Condemn Banning of Ex-Gay Books," by Unnamed  PFOX, 3 October 2012.
  • "An Interview with Neal McCluskey: Banned Books? or Burned Books?," by Michael Shaughnessy, EducationViews, 5 October 2012:
    7) You indicate that "Banned Books Week Misses the Root Problem".  What in your mind is the root problem?

    It is government favoring of speech – and compelling support of it – that is the root problem.  It is not people who are members of the public and who pay taxes objecting to what is selected.  Force them to pay and they have every right to object.
  • "Banned Books Week Highlights Deeper Problem," by Neal McCluskey, Cato Institute, October 5, 2012.
  • "Librarians for the Left," by CRC Staff, Capital Research Center, 7 October 2012.
  • "A Few Myths About Banned Books," by Gary RobsonGary D. Robson, 11 February 2013.
  • "Viewpoints: Blindsided After Banned Books Week," by Ben Boychuk, The Sacramento Bee, 5 October 2013.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Library Propaganda in Media Exposed - Reporter Presents One-Sided Story with No Balance and Sometimes No Truth

Propaganda is sometimes hard to spot. The harder to spot, the more effective the propaganda. Below is an excellent example of propaganda by the media. It supports keeping children easily exposed to s-xually inappropriate material in public libraries despite community efforts. I will expose the propaganda by reprinting the article, thanks to Section 107 of the US Copyright Act, then intercalating my comments to point out what is being foisted on unsuspecting readers.

In this example, I will examine "Anti-P-rn Group Challenges Library," by Amanda Palleschi, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 4 September 2008. The propaganda effectively makes it appear as if a "local group" of citizens is wrong and even laughable for trying to move some s-xually inappropriate books from a teen section of a public library to the adult section.

Anti-P-rn Group Challenges Library
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Thursday, Sep. 04 2008

In the quiet stacks of the St. Louis County libraries, two sides of a classic culture war are duking it out.

A local group wants the libraries to make it more difficult for teens to have access to some books they think are unsuitable for reading without parental consent.
  • [Saying "they think are unsuitable for reading without parental consent" already sets up this "local group" for failure. Already the reporter is commenting on what "they think" and subtly hinting they are ridiculous to seek parental consent before letting children read books in a public library. It just sounds ridiculous, does is not? And why call them "a local group" instead of what they are, taxpaying citizens who have every right to have a say in how their own tax money is being spent. Now watch as the "local group" gets contrasted with, not people, but the bedrock institutions of a community, "the libraries." Clever, no?]

The libraries say that to comply with the group's requests would constitute
censorship, and maintain that they already have a process in place to review
materials.
  • [Censorship? Where is the reporter exposing how no books have been censored in the USA for many decades? Where is there any balance saying that moving books from the teen section to the adult section is not censorship? It is never censorship to "make it more difficult for teens to have access to some books," so why does this reporter let the claim of censorship go unchallenged?]

The local group, organized into a loose coalition by a local chapter of
Citizens Against P-rnography,
  • [Thanks to this reporter, we now know it's some out-of-town organization that has the "local group" whipped up. Watch as the story progresses to see no mention that a bigger out-of-town group, the ALA, has an iron grip on the situation, even recommending media manipulation. Watch as the reporter herself twists a quote from the ALA to buttress her own propaganda efforts.]
began questioning books found in all county library branches in August after Ellisville parent Laura Kostial approached some of the anti-p-rnography group's members.
  • [The obvious implication of the way this is written is that this is all Laura Kostial's fault. Shame on you, Laura!]
Kostial had visited the Daniel Boone branch several times with her 12-year-old daughter and found material she thought "shocking."
  • [Great propaganda technique. Describe her as "shocked" without giving complete and accurate details as to why she is "shocked."]

Kostial said she hadn't seen books aimed at teens with "erotic" passages at the
county's Daniel Boone Library before a visit last year. The books in question
range from non-fiction titles such as "The Little Black Book for Girlz, A Book
on Healthy Sexuality" and "Growing up Gay in America"
  • [Isn't that odd. Here's a book where the clear implication is that the book is being censored, or will be, yet the book is available free online. Think about this. Is it even possible to "censor" something that is otherwise freely available online? Is the term "censorship" being dumbed down to sell newspapers or promote a political agenda?]
to contemporary series like the "Gossip Girl" books
and a series of books with a protagonist named Alice by Phyllis Naylor ("Alice on Her Way" is one of them).

Of the Alice series, Kostial said: "These books start out as being geared for
second-graders. By the time she's in middle school, there is stuff that just
isn't for the eyes of an 11-year-old. You look at the cover and there's this
little blonde-haired girl with braces smiling. It's just too sexually explicit."

The group objects to passages in the books that range from suggested sexual
activity to detailed descriptions of sex acts.
  • [This is the only hint the reporter provides of the details--just that they are detailed. On the web site, in a sidebar not reproduced here, the reporter presents examples of objectionable parts of some books. The examples provided by the reporter are tame compared to the things that simply could not even be printed in newspapers. It's okay for children, but not newspapers. Yet the reporter only provides a few tamer examples. That's propaganda.]
Many are fiction. Some are non-fiction guides.

Carl Hendrickson, chairman of the local Citizens Against P-rnography group and
former Republican state representative,
  • [There you go. Republican. That explains it. Perhaps Naomi Wolf is a Republican too.]
said his group is requesting the libraries do one or all of the following:

— Establish an adult advisory committee to screen the books before they are
placed in the libraries.
  • [No mention is made that a teen advisory group already exists, or that the library already has a selection process in place, so this is a reasonable request.]

— Construct a system by which parents would authorize their children to check
out objectionable material.

— Set up a ratings system that would alert parents the material can be
considered objectionable.

— Remove the books in question from the teen section and transfer them to an
adult section.

The library system is fighting back.
  • [There she goes again. The "local group" (people whipped up by an out-of-town organization with an ominous name) is "fighting" the "library system" (bedrock institution). Gee, I wonder who wins.]
There will be a library staff meeting later this month to discuss and review the books in question.
  • [Another great propaganda technique--skip over the truth. Some of the books have already been reviewed and already moved to the adult section by the librarians. So the very goal of the "local group" has already been met voluntarily by the library, in some cases. The problem is, if the reporter revealed that, it would not make the "local group" look like wackos since the library has already agreed with the "local group" on at least a few points.]
Library administrators maintain that anybody who wants to challenge the library's
collection can submit a materials reconsideration form, and that to remove the
books from their current location would constitute censorship.
  • [There it is again. The "censorship" claim, naked, without balance, as if it were true that moving books in a library is censorship. As if the "local group" was seeking "censorship," which it is not. As if because the "local group" was seeking "censorship," it should be totally ignored. Propaganda is subtle, isn't it?]

In addition, members of its teen advisory board are aware — and displeased —
with the request to restrict titles from their access.
  • [Well, at least she mentions there's a teen advisory board, but it's a little late now, isn't it? She already portrayed the "local group" as wanting "an adult advisory committee to screen the books before they are placed in the libraries" as if that were unreasonable, given the context of her writing.]

"If a book is classified as a teen book by outside sources, there is no point
in trying to restrict it from us," says David MacRunnel, 15, of Creve Coeur.
  • [Hello? Any balance here? Any mention that libraries are under local control, not control by "outside sources"? The reporter presents this statement, without balance, as if it were reasonable. It is not. Think about it. "If a book is classified as a teen book by outside sources," that necessarily means input from local citizens is not included. Even though the bar may be low, the library does have a selection policy. At least that exists. At least people recognize that local libraries ostensibly select books. Yet "if a book is classified as a teen book by outside sources," that necessarily cuts out the selection process already in place at the library. The reporter says nothing about this.]

"We are a library and we have to serve all the citizens," said Charles Pace,
the director of the St. Louis County Library. "We don't act in the place of the
parent. Whether I personally agree with an item or not is besides the point.
It's about having access."
  • [Okay, so? The books will still be accessible. What's the problem? There is none, but the subtle suggestion is made by the reporter that access will be denied. That is false. The "local group" just wants to move the books to the adult section, not remove them, and the library has itself already done that in some cases.]

Tim Wadham, the library's assistant director of youth and community services,
says the groups are "continuing to escalate" their attacks on the library.

"These folks are trying to create a scandal where there is absolutely none,"
Wadham said. "It has become clear these folks are getting guidance on a
national level."
  • [Now this is pure propaganda. The truth is absolutely the opposite, but the reporter doesn't report on that. The truth is the library director has "continued to escalate" his attacks on the "local group." Also, "it has become clear [the library director] is getting guidance on a national level." Further, despite the claim that "folks are trying to create a scandal where there is absolutely none," the scandal here is that the library director escalated to the governing council of the ALA and was advised by the ALA to manipulate the media! And look, it's working! Do you know what's worse that the reporter does not reveal? The very same person who advised the library director to manipulate the media is the same person who may have violated the ALA's 501c3 tax status and was slammed down by an "Immediate Release" from the ALA President. He had to be called on the carpet by the ALA President for possibly publicly embarrassing the ALA. And I challenged his possible anti-American stand and support for book confiscation by communist/terrorist regimes. So an ALA Councilor may support book confiscations by communist/terrorist regimes but advises the library director to manipulate the media when a "local group" wants to move books like the library has already done. And that dichotomy is not disclosed? Double standard anyone? An ALA Councilor forces the ALA President to react to the councilor's inappropriate statements, but the probable inappropriate statements made to the library director by the same person are totally ignored? And the "local group" is the problem? How is this not propaganda?]

John Splinter, the St. Louis regional director of the National Coalition for
the Protection of Family and Children, said he has been contacted by the local
Citizens Against P-rnography group about getting involved with the issue.

"I want to give the library people a full opportunity to be good citizens and
do the right thing," he said. "On the other hand, if we don't see some changes,
then the coalition will get involved with this, and we fight pretty hard. We've
been around long enough to have had an effect on these issues."

Deborah Caldwell-Stone, the deputy director of the Office for Intellectual
Freedom at the American Library Association, said history — and legal precedent
— is not on the library critics' side.

"When you're talking about government agencies, be it a school board or a
public library, they found that kids do have First Amendment rights in
libraries," Caldwell-Stone said. "The courts have found this kind of rule to be
unconstitutional."
  • [Exsqueeze me? Wait, this is confusing. What the ALA is saying is actually correct, depending on the context. The problem here is the context. In this case, the context seems to be the reporter's responsibility. It is hard to figure out the context. "The courts have found this kind of rule to be unconstitutional." Correct. But what "kind of rule" is she talking about? Is she talking about "Remov[ing] the books in question from the teen section and transfer[ing] them to an adult section"? If so, the library has already done this! Further, Deborah Caldwell-Stone herself has already said that moving books from one section to another is not censorship. So what exactly is Caldwell-Stone talking about? Who knows? The reporter has presented the ALA's statement in a manner in which the context is unclear but the clear implication is that the "local group" is wrong. This is outstanding propaganda, by the reporter, not by the ALA. Really an outstanding job. The best part is the reporter reports Tim Wadham as saying, "It has become clear these folks are getting guidance on a national level," yet here is the reporter "getting guidance on a national level" and presenting it in a manner that has nothing to do with the facts but everything to do with making the "local group" look wrong and laughable. This is propaganda at its finest. I do not know what Deborah Caldwell-Stone was talking about because of how the reporter presented the story, but removing books from libraries may be done legally and it is not "censorship" or "book banning." And the "local group" only wants to move, not remove, books. And in US v. ALA, a 2003 case the ALA itself lost in the US Supreme Court, the court said, "The interest in protecting young library users from material inappropriate for minors is legitimate, and even compelling, as all Members of the Court appear to agree." It is no coincidence this information is absent from the reporter's propaganda piece.]

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