Saturday, June 6, 2009

ALA Gets It Right Again; American Libraries Magazine First to Get West Bend Story Straight

For the second post in a row, I have to congratulate the American Library Association [ALA]. Beverly Goldberg of American Libraries, the ALA's monthly membership magazine, accurately reported crucial information in the West Bend, WI, library matter, and the truth makes all the difference. See "Milwaukee Group Seeks Fiery Alternative to Materials Challenge," by Beverly Goldberg, American Libraries Online, 3 June 2009.

There is the significant issue of whether or not a materials reconsideration request was dropped by the complainant or by the library. The complainant says it was not and the library says it was because of various public statements made by the complainant. Four library board members were not reappointed precisely because they failed to respond to the request, so the question of whether the request was dropped and by whom is important. The complainant has not dropped her request that was accepted and already under review by the library. After many months, she still awaits an answer.

The library was able to use the School Library Journal to tell a different story:

"These were four very qualified people who collectively have a lot of experience on these issues," says library director Michael Tyree about the board members who were up for reappointment. "They were doing what they were supposed to do—wait for the Maziarkas to resubmit their reconsideration for library materials."


The couple ... is also asking the library to place warning labels on the books, as well as install Internet filters.

As a result of that change, Tyree says the library was advised by the city attorney to have the Maziarkas re-file their complaint. They have yet to do so—and instead, they’ve launched an online petition outlining their new demands.

Now in a perfect example of projection, listen to what the library says next:

"They’re very skillful at playing the political game," says Tyree, referring to the fact that the book challenge has ended up pitting city council members against library supporters—and has gained nationwide attention, with the American Library Association, the American Bookseller Foundation for Free Expression, the National Coalition Against Censorship, and the School of Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee weighing in their support for the library board members.

Source: "West Bend City Council Fails to Reinstate Library Board Members," by Debra Lau Whelan, School Library Journal, 20 May 2009.

Regarding playing the political game, Tryee attempts to claim the complainant dropped the request, as shown above. But Beverly Goldberg of the ALA gets it right:

Ironically, four of the trustees were denied reappointment in April by the city council because they did not comply with the Maziarkas’ reconsideration requests and are serving until their successors are appointed.

"[T]hey did not comply with the Maziarkas’ reconsideration requests...." Exactly. The ALA gets it right.

Do you see what else makes the Beverly Goldberg article accurate? It does not raise the LGBT issues dropped long ago but raised again and again to distract people from the actual issues involved. What a breath of fresh air. I look forward to reading more of Beverly Goldberg's articles.

Having been critical of American Libraries whitewashing rape in the past, I am today giving credit where credit is due. Congratulations to the ALA for getting the West Bend story straight. The library dropped the matter, the complainant did not, and the ALA says so.

I just congratulated Deborah Caldwell-Stone of the ALA, and now I'm congratulating Beverly Goldberg. This is starting to become a pattern.



  1. ""[T]hey did not comply with the Maziarkas’ reconsideration requests...." Exactly. The ALA gets it right."

    How does the fact that they "did not comply" with her requests translate into "they dropped her request"??? Sure, the board did not do what she wanted them to do, but they did not drop her request; she did, by her constant changes and contradictory statements. Remember when I said you needed an editor? I think maybe some grammar lessons are in order, too.

    "She still awaits an answer"? Perhaps you heard about the marathon meeting of June 2nd? A very clear answer was given.

  2. Maria,

    Thanks for writing.

    You say Ginny got a "very clear answer." That raises the issue of what was the question. I say this because two people who vociferously oppose Ginny said opposite things. I would like your help in getting the facts straight.

    Library director Michael Tyree and blogger Eema-la both actively oppose Ginny. Both have made public statements about the meeting. Both addressed the issue you raised just now about a very clear answer for Ginny. But both say exactly the opposite things. Please tell me who is accurate.

    Library director Tyree:

    In "WI’s West Bend Library Board Says ‘No’ to Relocating YA Books" in today's School Library Journal, the library director is reported to have said:

    “Like the James Brown song goes, ‘I Feel Good,’” says Library Director Michael Tyree about the June 2 decision to shoot down a complaint filed by parents Jim and Ginny Maziarka. “In fact, the board voted to squelch the entire complaint. There will be no moving of materials, no labeling of materials, no disconnecting the Over the Rainbow link in our Web site, no filtering of Internet computers, and no multi-tiered library card system for minors.”


    In "A Day No Books Would Burn," Eema-la said something completely different:

    "After the public's statements Patti Geidel presented a motion to the Library Board. 'I move that the Young Adult literature collection of the West Bend Community Memorial Library be maintained without removing, relocating, labeling, or otherwise restricting access to it.'"

    Maria, those two statements are contrary. The first one says all issues have been resolved, and the second says only one issue has been resolved. Both oppose Ginny. Who is telling the truth?

    Maria, be very careful with your answer. You have argued that Ginny dropped her request. Yet you have also argued that Ginny's request has been answered. Either it was dropped or it was not. Be careful how you answer. Actually, I think you have created a logical fallacy, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and await your answer. A detailed explanation would help.

    Thank you, and I look forward to your response.

  3. Dan, she dropped the request she originally made in February by way of her contradictory statements. Immediately after that, she herself argued (via her blog, and I believe the local newspaper) she did not consider her complaint dropped. However, on May 30th she stated "Wonder what they are passing a motion and voting on? We certainly don’t have anything on the table with them" in Owen Robinson's Boots & Sabers blog (comment to a post titled West Bend Library Board to Hold Meeting.) Either she had a complaint/request on the table or she didn't; she contradicts herself again.

    WBCFSL did submit petitions to the library board that evening that asked for 5 items concerning the collection, so certainly those requests would be considered an active issue. The library board rendered its ruling on those requests by deciding to keep the materials as they are, unmoved, unlabeled, unrestricted.

    Are you objecting to the motion that specified the "literature collection" and did not reference the internet filters request? If that's the case and if WBCFSL feels this component of their petition was not addressed, they are certainly able to resubmit that request. Not having immediate access to a transcript or recording of the meeting, I can't comment on or confirm the exact wording of the motion.

  4. Maria, please answer my original questions. I feel you are attempting to cleverly sidestep my questions. I'm trying to determine the veracity of the library director's statements in the School Library Journal. Reread the questions, please, then answer directly, please.

    As to what you said about Ginny's blog statements, I'll ask her. Still, things Ginny says in blogs has little to do with legitimate requests submitted, rejected, resubmitted, accepted, then actively managed until an excuse was found to drop them.

  5. I guess my clever brain doesn't understand specifically what you are want me to respond to. You ignored my question about the internet filters aspect of the complaint. Are you in question because it is addressed in the director's comments but not Eema-le's blog? I addressed that idea in my last comment.

    I am not a spokesperson for the director or for Eema-le; if you are in question about the language of their comments, you must ask them for clarification, but I don't see any contradiction. I'm not going to dissect their comments because I would hate for my interpretation to be wrong. I like and admire these people.

  6. Maria said, "I don't see any contradiction." Thank you. You answered my question.

  7. It sounds like you need to talk to the School Library Journal.

  8. Eema-le, thanks. I have spoken with the SLJ author. She is very nice.

    It is my impression that the author reported the information known to her in a fair and accurate manner as presented by various parties. It is further my impression that the library director intentionally misled her, and I base that impression, among other things, on the statements he has made in a number of her articles compared with the actual facts.

    You, Eema-le, are one of the sources providing information that differs significantly from the library director's. Your information, based on a number of circumstances too boring to write here now, rings true. His does not. And this is a repeated pattern.

    I am working on compiling the evidence for this to be published in a future blog post.

  9. You know, Mr. Safe Libraries, I am a lawyer who did a lot of work in mental health law. I both prosecuted and defended civil mental commitments (over 100) and was involved in many pleas of not guilty by reason of mental disease and competency to stand trial in criminal cases. I also worked several years in juvenile court where there were always psychologists, psychiatrists, and mental health social workers. I have more than a passing familiarity with DSM IV-TR (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association.) Oops. Is that bad? After all the APA may be a lot like the ALA.
    I don't think you are psychotic, you probably function acceptably in most areas of life. At first I thought you might be suffering from a paranoid personality disorder, but I don't have any suspicions about other areas in your life. But you do have an incredibly powerful bug up your ear (or other handy anatomical orifice) about the American Library Association. Were you scolded once by a librarian when you were a child? You talk of the ALA as if they are the Great Satan about to bring on the end of the world. Or that the ALA has some sort of national agenda to take over the country or turn us all into perverts. Your fears and claims are so excessive and unfounded that they can only be labeled delusional. I always pictured librarians as sedate older ladies with sensible shoes, thick glasses, plain clothes, and a pencil stuck in their chignon. But then, that might just be a stereotype.
    Well, I think I came upon the right diagnosis for a man with a mission like yours. That would be DELUSIONAL DISORDER. This is what Wikipedia has to say about that. "Delusional disorder is a psychiatric diagnosis denoting a psychotic mental illness that involves holding one or more non-bizarre delusions[1] in the absence of any other significant psychopathology (signs or symptoms of mental illness). In particular, a person with delusional disorder has never met any other criteria for schizophrenia and does not have any marked hallucinations, although tactile (touch) or olfactory (smell) hallucinations may be present if they are related to the theme of the delusion.

    A person with delusional disorder can be quite functional and does not tend to show any odd or bizarre behavior aside from these delusions. "Despite the encapsulation of the delusional system and the relative sparing of the personality, the patient's way of life is likely to become more and more overwhelmed by the dominating effect of the abnormal beliefs".[2]

    In contrast to paranoid personality disorder, the delusion is more restricted in scope, and the impairment in social functioning is less severe.
    So, there you have it. The perfect diagnosis for a wacky one-note Johnny such as you. But I probably should not continue. The illness is chronic and frequently lifelong. There's no hope, Mr. Safe Libraries. The ALA will always be there. You will almost always lose. You will never graduate to EX- Delusional disorder as there is no cure. And your frustration will never end.

  10. Robert, thank you for commenting. You put a smile on my face! Please stop by again or perhaps consider subscribing to my blog.


Comments of a personal nature, trolling, and linkspam may be removed.