Wednesday, April 15, 2009

UW-M Library School Misleads West Bend Citizens

The School of Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has made a public statement to the citizens of West Bend, WI. "The School shall contribute locally ... in information-related education, ... and service," says the "SOIS Vision." However, the "contribution" in West Bend is to mislead the community into giving up legal means to protect children from harm. And by this means the American Library Association [ALA], which accredited SOIS and whitewashes child rape in public libraries, again pressures another community to keep the ALA's "anything goes" policies.

Here is my response to "UW-M School of Information Studies Statement of Support for the West Bend Library," by Dr. Joyce Latham, School of Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, April 14, 2009:

Dear Dr. Joyce Latham,

"In recent weeks, two citizens of West Bend, Wisconsin have petitioned the West Bend Community Memorial Library to remove gay-themed books...." Yes, but they are no longer seeking that goal and implying they are can only be misleading. Issues should be fought on the issues, not on false implications. Besides, after refining their goals, those two citizens have grown to hundreds. A fair report would have included that information.

"They further demand that the books be labeled with a warning about their content, arguing that they are obscene and pornographic." Perhaps, but that's not the real issue. And if someone does not articulate the real issue well, that does not mean the real issue should be ignored. The real issue is not pornography, rather it is material that may be legally treated differently from other material for reasons of age inappropriateness.

Or, if we don't want to recognize the differential status of the material in question, then shouldn't it be treated like all other holdings, with its subject matter properly identified? This is similar to the argument that indicating that the book is about sex or violence is considered "labeling," which carries a bad connotation. Yet if we label a book about "wood carving" as being about wood carving, that is okay. If the subject matter is neutral, then it's called "cataloging," yet if the subject matter is controversial, then it's considered "labeling."

And I love the way Dr. Latham makes it appear such a request is some out of this world idea. I suppose it would not help to further mislead people to disclose that other communities have already been successful in this regard. And look at this: "Missouri SB 450 - Requires public libraries to adopt policies on the placement of books and other materials that are obscene or pornographic for minors." Dr. Latham only discloses one side of the picture, and a distorted view at that.

"The books are from major publishers, sold in general bookstores, and are available in public and high school libraries throughout the state." True, but again this is misleading. For example, possibly the most liberal city in the USA, New York City, removed one of those books from hundreds of its schools because of its inappropriateness for children. Yet Dr. Latham makes no mention of that, choosing instead to mislead the public. Again. A pattern is starting to be established. Further, bookstores are private businesses, not public entities supported by taxpaying citizens.

"Throughout the history of the American public library, special interest groups have attempted to exert a disproportionate degree of influence on the development of a community wide resource." True, but the implication is citizens seeking redress under existing library policies are in the wrong, yet Dr. Latham does not address that the "special interest group ... exert[ing] a disproportionate degree of influence on the development of a community wide resource" may be the American Library Association [ALA] and its local acolytes.

"The public library was developed to be the anchor of free inquiry in our democracy." True, but tell me where "free inquiry" allows children access to inappropriate materials despite the law and common sense?

Does "free inquiry" for children include the following: "Lara unbuttoned my pants and pulled my boxers down a little and pulled out my penis. .... And then she wrapped her hand around it and put it into her mouth." The ALA awarded that book the top book of the year for children 12 and up, and with no notice as to the contents other than how wonderful was the book. I personally got the author to admit he would not even give his own award-winning book to his own 12 year old if he had one. Is providing publicly funded access to such material for children despite the law and common sense an "anchor of free inquiry in our democracy"?

"Over 15,000 public library branches throughout the United States maintain access to quality materials collected and arranged according to national standards developed by thoughtful and committed information professionals." Right, but Dr. Latham fails to disclose how the US Supreme Court allows certain materials to be kept from children despite this. For example, from US v. ALA, "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." Why does Dr. Latham exclude that? Such a stance is consistent with America's long history of aged-based laws designed to protect its youth.

"The education of these professionals is rigorous and expansive, demanding sophisticated skills in assessment, development and leadership; it ensures their preparedness to take the lead in developing and delivering information resources to their communities." So she says, apparently to explain why common sense, community values, and US Supreme Court decisions do not compare to "sophisticated" professionals. The Annoyed Librarian would disagree with Dr. Latham: "A library school by any other name would still be irrelevant to the concerns of actual librarians." And again, Dr. Latham fails to disclose that all such education must be ALA approved and thereby based on ALA policy.

"We, the faculty and teaching academic staff at the School of Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, along with the SOIS Graduate Student Organization, commend the West Bend Community Memorial Library Board of Trustees, administration, and staff for their support of the principle of intellectual freedom in the face of pressure to abandon their professional and communal commitments." Excuse me? A legitimate filing of a request to reconsider material under an existing library policy is "pressure to abandon their professional and communal commitments"? The ALA said despite US v. ALA, its policies will remain unchanged and children will still have access to inappropriate materials. Are those the "professional commitments" the library is being "pressured to abandon"?

Furthermore, why would the library even have a policy of "material reconsideration" if the very act of "material reconsideration" is perceived as a threat or inconsistent with their philosophy. Many libraries maintain such policies, but often when someone wants to exercise the policy, it becomes a threat and the person is labeled a "censor." Maybe they just need to nix this policy, so no one bothers to ask in the future.

In summary, the School of Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has totally misled the community. Then it recommended support for a policy made up by an out-of-state organization that continues to act despite a ruling against it in the US Supreme Court and that whitewashes library crimes. As a result, the West Bend community is being misled into voluntarily giving up legally available means for protecting children from harm in public venues.

I certainly hope the School of Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is not receiving taxpayer funding to mislead those same taxpayers into allowing their children to become sexualized or otherwise endangered by "special interest groups" like the ALA despite the law and common sense.

Why do I have to make this statement? Large organizations array themselves against local communities, but they usually can't force the locals to act. Instead, they mislead the local communities to think like they think so the people will act like they would act. It's a propaganda technique called conversion. Voices like mine are few and far between, and our resources do not measure up to those of, say, the ALA's, which partly come with backing from George Soros and Playboy Enterprises:

Playboy's own sex and violence agenda long funded The American Library Association and its Freedom to Read campaign. Such a conflict of interest becomes significant when the ALA seeks to bring into our libraries previously prohibited "harmful matter" produced by one of its legal patrons.

Source: "The Toxic American Public Library: Violating Children with 'Harmful Matter'; 'A Clear & Present Danger,'" by Dr. Judith Reisman, The Institute for Media Education, 4 April 2000, footnote omitted.

Along comes the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Information Studies. It basically tells West Bend residents to oppose "pressure to abandon their professional and communal commitments." It does so by flat out misleading the public. Based on that false information, the community is suppose to act the way the library school and the ALA would want it to act, namely, ignore the law and common sense and leave the children exposed to harm.

Just look at the false and misleading "information" the "School of Information" provided. Certainly the great and powerful "School of Information" could not be wrong. Certainly we must oppose the "pressure to abandon professional and communal commitments." Small voices like mine, like Ginny Maziarka's, we are little bugs to be squashed by the great and powerful ALA-accredited "School of Information" and the Playboy-funded ALA. They know better. The library board knows better. We little people are too unsophisticated (I was actually told this by a library board). After all, that's why there's a library board in the first place, right?

Nothing happened here in West Bend. Move along. Children remain exposed to harm, so what, at least the citizens fought off the pressure to abandon professional commitments to ensure children have access to anything and everything despite the law and common sense. Who cares anyway, it's happening everywhere, there's bigger fish to fry. As Judith Krug, the 40 year de facto leader of the ALA and former ACLU-IL Board member said, "Parents who would tell their children not to read Playboy 'don't really care about their kids growing up and learning to think and explore.'" She's right; Ginny's wrong. Move along, nothing to see here. As Krug would say, "What we're dealing with is a minority of people who are very vocal.... These people are small in number but they start screeching, and people start getting concerned."

So that's why I had to make this statement. Someone has to stand up and support the children against the powerful interests. I'm doing it, Ginny's doing it in West Bend, and a few others nationwide are doing it, but we just don't have the machine the powerful interests have. So if you are reading this, this may be your only chance to hear another side of the story. Try to put the ALA propaganda out of your heads, think for yourselves, and protect your children as you are legally allowed to do.

If I were the UW-M School of Information Studies, I'd be embarrassed by Dr. Latham's one-sided, misleading attempt to influence West Bend citizens. The "SOIS Vision" is a distant vision right now.



  1. It is interesting that UWM thinks it needs to make a statement at ALL, let alone a false and misleading one at that. If I were affiliated with them, I'd be hanging my head right about now.

  2. Dear Mr. Kleinman:

    I would like to point out that this Statement of Support is not from Dr. Joyce Latham, but from the entire faculty, teaching academic staff, and the graduate student organization at the School of Information Studies at UW-Milwaukee. Dr. Latham is the media contact for this particular statement, but she is not the sole author. So, I hope in the future you direct your statements at the School itself, and not a particular individual.

    Dr. Michael Zimmer
    School of Information Studies
    University of Milwaukee-Wisconsin

  3. Thank you, Dr. Zimmer, for responding here.

    Based on what you said, consider my article to be addressed to the entire group described. And in return in the future, please be more clear on authorship.

    Given that, I ask you and all other authors to address the substantive issues I raised.

    While I'm writing to you, I will be happy to make myself available to you or anyone else at the school (or any other school) who may wish to contact me for any pedagogic reason. I am certain we may disagree, but I will be polite and respectful, even cheerful. In other words, you may use me as sort of a lab exhibit. In exchange, simply give me a copy of any publicly-available final product that may have resulted from my assistance, whether or not I am mentioned.

    Thanks again.

  4. I am interested to know how you think these books should be identified. Also if a system were to be put in place which identified books which may contain material for parents to be concerned about how would it be implemented. Would the library workers be expected to read every book and tally the 4 letter words. What exactly constitutes "inappropriate," because I can guarantee that your idea of that word is different from mine. I guess I just hope you (or the people involved with this challenge in West Bend) don't think that this is something that could be done simply or perfectly.

  5. Jessica, thanks for writing.

    I agree. It's not going to be easy. But that does not mean it should not be done.

    We live in a time when the ALA gives top awards to books for 12 year olds and up, but provides no notice that the book contains oral sex and is otherwise pervasively vulgar, just to give one example of its policies and practices.

    Why are people wrong to take note of such material so as to make informed decisions?

    Why is the ALA seemingly blameless for providing no notice of such material in books for children it recommends?

    Why does a community need to accept the ALA's double standard that only a parent is responsible for a child's reading while at the very same time that very same ALA advises parents as to what is good reading for their children but leaves out any notice whatsoever of potentially inappropriate content?

    I don't want my 12 year old reading about oral sex just because the ALA give it a gold seal. How about you? Aren't West Bend citizens entitled to make that decision for themselves too?

    A community need not accept what the ALA dishes out. Yes, it may be hard to do the right thing, but that does not mean it should not be done.

  6. I am wondering if you could answer a few questions.
    1. If you don't agree with the content of particular books, why not keep your children from reading them? If you think the public library is dangerous, why don't you keep your children from going there?
    2.Why should some taxpayers have access to materials they agree with, but not others?
    3.Should everyone have the right to ban or label and segregate anything they find offensive? So I personally would be able to create a section in the library labeled "false rhetoric" and put in anything written by conservatives, if I can get a few people to agree with me?

  7. Lisa, thanks for writing.

    1. If you don't agree with the content of particular books, why not keep your children from reading them?

    I DO.

    If you think the public library is dangerous, why don't you keep your children from going there?


    2.Why should some taxpayers have access to materials they agree with, but not others?


    3.Should everyone have the right to ban or label and segregate anything they find offensive?


    So I personally would be able to create a section in the library labeled "false rhetoric" and put in anything written by conservatives, if I can get a few people to agree with me?


  8. "Yes, it may be hard to do the right thing, but that does not mean it should not be done."

    I find this statement very interesting, and would like to discuss it further. You speak, freely as the constitution encourages you to, of the "right thing," and I understand that your perception of right includes protection your children from sexually explicit materials that you do not deem appropriate for them to read.

    I whole heartedly support your right to raise your family as you see fit, and monitor what literature they have access to, however I question your ability to decide what the "right thing" is for other young readers in your area.

    During my youth I learnt a lot from my local library. Alice Walker, for example, taught me about sexism, racism and injustice. She tought to love myself, to fight for my beliefs, and to fight for the safety of those I love. She wrote about a bisexual woman who was raped and beaten, and that book was the most important book I have ever read. Would you ban that?

    I put to you that the "right thing" is to educate your parental peers as to the importance of being aware of what their children read, and discussing the content with them.

    You have the right to have an opinion.

    You should not have the right to censor books.


  9. Emma,

    You sound like you are from the UK, yes?

    Listen, you have either not gotten the right message from me, or I have not conveyed the right message.

    What I think has nothing to do with anything, anything at all.

    What I am actually trying to do is something totally reasonable. I am trying to give people another point of view so that they can make up their own minds.

    As it stands now the ALA has a very loud voice telling the people how to think. I am only trying to get a word in edgewise and say there might be another point of view. Then those local citizens can decide for themselves whatever they want.

    I am not there to tell them what to do and what not to do or how to think. I do not advocate "censoring" books. I just provide information that they would not hear otherwise, then stand back and let them make the decisions on their own.

    Further, almost all the information I provide is backed up with reliable sources, such as media reports from the very communities in which I become involved, or US Supreme Court cases, including the one the ALA itself lost but would have people forget.

    Certainly you have no problem with people providing alternative points of view, do you?

    Certainly you have nothing against people exercising informed consent, do you?

  10. I think you are the one misleading us. You have taken one section out of a book to show us the evil of it, but what about the good the book teaches? How about the fact that a 16 year old boy is also counseled to tell a girl "he's not ready"? Are you really telling me that in the year 2009 we are still judging a book by a passage or two and NOT the whole book? I have read the book and found it powerful and moving. My nephew in 8th grade loved the book and we have had good conversations about what went on in the book - the good, the bad, and how we would handle the situations. Heaven forbid we talk to the next generation.

    That being said, I would give this to a 12 year old. I believe it has powerful things to say in regards to sex, relationships, and high school. And while I hope they do not encounter the things in that book, I would much rather have them read about it and know they can come ask me questions and that I will give them honest answers with out judging them.

    I am also offended that you think you know what is best for all 12 year olds. What you may or may not give your child could be very different from what I give mine - and that is the point of a library. For the material to be available, but for the parents to decide what is acceptable. What I read at 12 is different from what my siblings read, or even my spouse. A blanket statement saying "this is inappropriate for all 12 year olds" is just as false as you are claiming the UW-Milwaukee statement to be. Kids develop at different rates, and kids at the same age can often vary greatly in what they can handle.

    And I would rather have that book on the shelf where it may prompt someone to think for themselves, than to hide it and keep them naive and ignorant.

    Good day,


  11. Thanks for commenting, Fiona.

    You said it yourself, "that is the point of a library. For the material to be available, but for the parents to decide what is acceptable."

    The parents/community should decide. You understand now.

  12. SafeLibraries - do you even recognize it when you twist people's words to fit your view? Fiona said it is for "parents" to decide, not "parents/community". She's talking about individual parents, not some kind of experiment in having an entire community of parents vote on where to place a book.

  13. No, I do not understand.

    You are advocating the removal of material. YOU.

    Not the parents of individual children (anyone under the age of 18).

    To clarify, I think these books provide information or intelligent entertainment to teens. If a parent has a problem with the book, they should be the one to say that their child can not read it. Their rights end with their child/ren. They have no right to say that my child can or can not read a book, or that a book is too "pornographic" for my child. That is MY call.

    You are deciding for ALL parents what is appropriate. You are taking it out of the parents' hands and saying it is for the greater good, instead of letting the material stay where it is, and letting the parents decide if their child should read it, or reading it with their child and opening avenues of discussion.

    You - not the parents - are making blanket statements about if a book is appropriate.

    If you do not like the book - don't let your child read it. End of story.

    Do not trample on the rights of my children to read a book in your attempt to protect them. It is MY job to decide what MY children can read. NOT YOURS.


  14. "It is MY job to decide what MY children can read. NOT YOURS."

    Right again. You choose, not me. You choose, not the library. You choose.

    I'm happy you understand.

    I think you would really enjoy watching this: "Requiem for Methuselah," an episode of Star Trek. Pay attention to what "Rayna" says at the end, "I choose. Where I want to go. What I want to do. I choose. ...." Watch it here.

  15. U r so f'in condescending

  16. No. Just watch the Star Trek show. I am certain you will find it interesting, like millions of other people do, and it applies to what you are saying.

    [Kirk and Flint fight over Rayna]

    Rayna: "I cannot be the cause of this. I will not be the cause of this. Please, stop. Stop! I choose. Where I want to go. What I want to do. I choose! I -- choose."

    Flint: "Rayna."

    Rayna: "No, do not order me. No one can order me."

    Kirk: "She's human! Done to the last blood cell she's human! Down to the last thought, hope, aspiration, emotion, she's human. The human spirit is free. You have no power of ownership. She's free to do what she wishes."


    Kirk: ".... Rayna belongs to herself. And she claims the human right of choice. To be as she wills, to do as she will, to think as she wills."

    Flint: "That's what I have worked for."


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