Friday, December 18, 2009

Porn in Brooklyn Public Library; Frustrated Patron Provides Photographic Proof; Library Refuses to Act; Two and a Half Million Dollars in Jeopardy Due to Possible Fraud

This is sad.  A patron in the Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, NY, is so frustrated by the library's refusal to act regarding porn viewing on the public library computers that he reached out to SafeLibraries.  Based on the photos, his comments, and a little research, it appears millions of dollars in federal funding may have been fraudulently obtained and needs to be refunded.  Installing Internet filters may be the solution—just because legal porn is legal does not mean the library must provide it or cannot stop it.

Here is the email I received:

from      [elided]
to           SafeLibraries@gmail.com
date       Thu, Dec 17, 2009 at 6:33 PM
subject  Porn in the open, where kids wander around.

Took this at the Brooklyn Public Library today in the popular section. When I told the people who work in the library they said that unless the material is something illegal, like child porn, all I can do is file a complaint. They said it is perfectly legal for people to look at whatever they want, as long as the material is not illegal, like child porn. The woman at the information desk who gave me the survey sheet to me said the same thing.

I have been involved with past Brooklyn Public Library problems, including one where I'm called a "library watchdog."  I also wrote a 13 May 2008 blog post entitled, "Retarded Teen Raped in Library Bathroom and Library is Unaware."  So I suppose that's partly why the patron reached out to me.  Still, it's sad he felt that the library cared so little about "porn in the open, where kids wander around" that he reached out to me.  The first two graphics on this page are the photos I was sent.

So let me comment.  And I want Brooklyn political leaders to pay attention because the library obviously refuses to act for political reasons—there are no legal reasons why it could not act, such is by using Internet filtering software.

Here is evidence the library refuses to act to stop pornography viewing: "When I told the people who work in the library they said that unless the material is something illegal, like child porn, all I can do is file a complaint. They said it is perfectly legal for people to look at whatever they want, as long as the material is not illegal, like child porn." The photos are further evidence.

There is also evidence that the library may have fraudulently obtained federal funding that now, having been caught, may need to be refunded to the federal government.

Under the Children's Internet Protection Act [CIPA], "libraries subject to CIPA may not receive the discounts offered by the E-rate program unless they certify that they have an Internet safety policy that includes technology protection measures. The protection measures must block or filter Internet access to pictures that are: (a) obscene, (b) child pornography, or (c) harmful to minors (for computers that are accessed by minors)."

Library Executive Director and American Library Association [ALA] member Dionne Mack-Harvin, have you certified to this?  The top photo shows no "technology protection measure" is in place.  Further, the email I received from the patron supports the same conclusion.  Dionne Mack-Harvin, has your library received E-rate funding for Internet access fraudulently?

Before you answer, I am sure you know the Universal Service Administrative Company's (USAC) Schools and Libraries Division (SLD) provides the means for determining the type of E-rate funding that was received, by whom, and in what amount.  I did a search and found the following payments for "Internet Access" that appear to evidence you or another library representative have falsely certified CIPA compliance: $428,040.00 in 2008, $317,340.00 in 2007, $835.10 and $423,712.72 in 2006, $372,564.00 in 2005, $2,278.80 and $510,000.00 in 2004, and $1,920.00 and $504,000.00 in 2003, the year CIPA was found constitutional in US v. American Library Association.

The total amount of funds that may need to be returned to the federal government is $2,560,690.62.  People might be interested in filing a complaint with the "Whistleblower Hotline" for the return of the misappropriated federal funding.

I doubt that ignorance of the law can be used as an excuse for this multimillion dollar swindle.  Not only is ignorance not a defense, but there is evidence from Life magazine that the library knew or should have known of the CIPA requirements.

Pictured at right is a photograph from Life magazine entitled, "Supreme Court Rules On Internet Porn."  The photo is dated 24 June 2003.  The caption reads, "NEW YORK - JUNE 24:  An Internet-enabled computer runs at the Brooklyn Public Library June 24, 2003 in New York City.  The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that the government can require public libraries to install anti-pornography filtering software on their computers.  Photo:  Spencer Platt/Getty Images Jun 24, 2003."

As further evidence of the library's evasion of the law, look at the library's own statement:  "Policy Statement:  The Library will provide public access to the Internet and will comply with the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA), including filtered Internet access for youth under 17 years of age."  So the library claims to comply with CIPA.  It must know what CIPA requires.  It must have certified compliance with CIPA requirements.  Yet it is evident CIPA requirements are easily circumvented, as the photos evidence, and the library refuses to apply CIPA requirements, as the reported statements of the librarians or library employees reveal.

"Guidelines for Parents and Minors We will comply with the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA). This will enable the Library to continue to be eligible for certain federal funding."  Nice words, aren't they?  Might those words evidence the library knew exactly what it was doing?

So, Brooklyn, what will you do about this?  Naturally, everything I said should be considered to be my opinion.  A full independent analysis should be undertaken before any action is taken in response to this apparent fraud.  I will hazard a guess that the federal government will forgive the multimillion dollar amount if the library now applies the very Internet filters it apparently claims to have had and applied in accordance with CIPA all these years, which it has not.  The filters are legal, and US v. ALA points out they may be used to extend existing book collection policies over the Internet.  It is simply false when the library claims nothing can be done since legal porn is legal.  It is, but as US v. ALA points out, that does not mean a public library need serve it up on a silver platter:

Internet terminals are not acquired by a library in order to create a public forum for Web publishers to express themselves. Rather, a library provides such access for the same reasons it offers other library resources: to facilitate research, learning, and recreational pursuits by furnishing materials of requisite and appropriate quality. The fact that a library reviews and affirmatively chooses to acquire every book in its collection, but does not review every Web site that it makes available, is not a constitutionally relevant distinction. The decisions by most libraries to exclude pornography from their print collections are not subjected to heightened scrutiny; it would make little sense to treat libraries' judgments to block online pornography any differently. Moreover, because of the vast quantity of material on the Internet and the rapid pace at which it changes, libraries cannot possibly segregate, item by item, all the Internet material that is appropriate for inclusion from all that is not. While a library could limit its Internet collection to just those sites it found worthwhile, it could do so only at the cost of excluding an enormous amount of valuable information that it lacks the capacity to review. Given that tradeoff, it is entirely reasonable for public libraries to reject that approach and instead exclude certain categories of content, without making individualized judgments that everything made available has requisite and appropriate quality. Concerns over filtering software's tendency to erroneously "overblock" access to constitutionally protected speech that falls outside the categories software users intend to block are dispelled by the ease with which patrons may have the filtering software disabled. 

The library needs to comply with the law or return the money.  Legal pornography may be excluded legally.  Consideration should be given to whether honest library management should replace existing management, then library policy should be reevaluated.

By the way, in ACLU v. Gonzales, E.D. Pa., March 2007, the ACLU expert and the court agreed Internet filters are about 95% effective and no longer block out breast cancer and other health-related information—so effective that another law, COPA [Children's Online Protection Act], was found unconstitutional.  I say this because another excuse the library may use is that filters do not work.

Another excuse will be that filters are not needed since an "acceptable use policy" is preferable.  The library already has such a policy, it is evidently flouted with ease, and the library condones such behavior.  "4. Users should not display images, sounds, or messages in a way that will negatively affect those who find them objectionable or offensive."  Apparently the person who contacted me was negatively affected.  Another acceptable use policy bites the dust.

"Privacy screens" are a failure too.  They only provide the library CYA coverage for allowing what Internet filters would stop, and people can see through them anyway.  Obviously, the following library policy is still more policy not enforced: "6. All adults using computers designated for adults must use privacy screens."

Internet filters are the way to go.  But I eagerly await seeing how the people and political leaders in Brooklyn respond to this apparent fraud.

Hats off to the whistleblower who contacted me.  I urge him to update everyone with anonymous comments to this blog post.  Other whistleblowers will similarly get a receptive ear.  Sadly, libraries can be tone deaf to complaints about pornography.

.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

ALA Professional Limits: The Case for Saying Less

Steve McKinzie, 590:  Local Notes The American Library Association and Professional Limits: The Case for Saying Less,
21 Against the Grain 5, 76 (November 2009)
© Katina Strauch

     The American Library Association (ALA) recently threw its weight and influence behind specific federal health reform legislation.  On August 19th, the Association sent a letter to every member of Congress urging the passage of a “public option” in reference to health care legislation.  The letter stated emphatically that the association … “supports a “single-payer” option and believes [that] removing public options … would not accomplish the strong reform needed.”1

     Of course, such pontifications by the ALA on non-library issues are nothing new.  The ALA has a record of speaking out on a wide range of issues – environmental topics, gender concerns, foreign policy – even the treatment of terror suspects.  Nevertheless, this habit of the ALA’s speaking out so frequently presents some real problems.  Whatever may be the merits of these various views (and some of the perspectives do indeed have merit), the association takes enormous risks by such political arm twisting and maneuverings – risks that have far-reaching ramifications for the organization.   By passing numerous political resolutions on non-library related questions, by heading the recommendations of the ALA’s Social Responsibilities Roundtable, and by indulging its desire for political relevance – by saying, in short, so many things about so many topics – the association squanders precious political capital.  That’s right.  Such actions inevitably undermine the ALA’s unique and valuable role – its voice for librarianship and its advocacy of libraries.

     Everyone has had the experience of witnessing the phenomena of someone whose boldly brazen posturing does more harm than good:  the articulate faculty member who seems bent only on making his own views known, the fellow librarian who doesn’t know how to listen, but has a way of making sure everyone else hears what she thinks, or the local town gadfly ready to volunteer an opinion the minute the town-hall floor opens for debate.  These folks aren’t necessarily wrong.  They simply talk more than they should.

     Most of us have also likely had the opposite experience – instances where you find yourself in the presence of individuals who carefully weigh their words – who speak out when the time is right and on matters close to home.  People such as this have a way of winning your admiration.  You instinctively respect someone who speaks rarely but speaks well.  Such people gain a hearing.  Sometimes they have a expertise to share.  Often they have a constituency to serve.

     Their voices you heed – not because you necessarily agree (often you don’t) – but because you respect their understanding and their advocacy.  You recognize that they are not easily drawn into peripheral issues, that they’re not the slaves of one political ideology or another.  On the contrary, they have a mission. They have a purpose.

     You may not know, for instance, what Amnesty International thinks about global warming (for the record, they don’t have a official view on the topic) but you likely know a lot about the organization – that they care about human rights abuses – that they champion the rights of the politically oppressed, whether such people find themselves abused by the left or mistreated by the right.  To be sure, the organization is political and outspoken, but the leadership of Amnesty International is also unabashedly judicious.  They weigh their words.  They choose their fights.  They know their mission.  They understand their purpose.

     I think the ALA should be like that.  We should be outspoken in our advocacy for libraries and access to information, and just as importantly we should be careful to speak well and to speak infrequently.  Let us remember that like any professional organization, the ALA has only so much political capital.  If we squander that capital, that influence, on issues unrelated to librarianship, we will have just that much less clout – that much less influence on issues that touch our profession directly.

     The ALA’s mission statement makes this point better than I. It insists that we, librarians and library staff alike, are to “provide leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services” – that we should do so, as the statement delineates, with a view “to enhance access to information for all.”2  Such professional perimeters embolden our advocacy, but they also narrow our focus.  We should speak out eloquently on censorship, champion literacy, and insist on the promotion of First Amendment Liberties.  Doing so is within our sphere of influence, within our expertise and responsibility.  Speaking out on non-library-related issues, however, only weakens our fundamental, primary mission.   That we should never do.

     Consequently, the ALA must reexamine its tendency (tempting though that tendency may be) to advocate certain controversial political positions that have little or no specific relation to the profession.  ALA must, in a sense, regain its focus, remember why we are here and what we are about.  Most importantly, the association should employ its precious political capital for the promotion and advocacy of libraries and librarianship – that and nothing more.


Endnotes

1.  For a copy of ALA’s press release and letter, see ALA’s Washington Office page:  http://www.ala.org/ala/newspresscenter/news/pressreleases2009/august2009/pubop_wo.cfm.

2.  From the Coalition for Networked Information, A Compilation of Position Statements, Principles, Statutes, and Other Pertinent Statements.  http://www.cni.org/docs/infopols/ALA.html.

The preceding is related to my recent blog post, "ALA Blowhards."  I hereby thank the author, Steve McKinzie (Library Director, Corriher-Linn-Black Library, Catawba College, Salisbury, NC), pictured above, and his publisher, Against the Grain and Katina Strauch, for permission to republish.

.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

School Librarian Curses at Children to Teach "Banned" Books; School Board Apologizes to Furious Parents But Not for Indoctrination; Direct Link from School to ALA is Established

No books in the USA have been banned for about half a century.  Yet the American Library Association [ALA] continues to claim book banning happens every day, and it created "Banned Books Week" [BBW] to push its anything-goes agenda into local communities.  Now, as Reverend Wright would say, the chickens have come home to roost in West Linn, OR.  The Athey Creek Middle School, to be exact.

A direct link from the school to the ALA BBW misinformation is the smoking gun to prove a causal connection that may make the ALA partially liable in the event of any lawsuit.  No, no media reports that link, but it is true, I'll show you, and I hope the media and the parents pick up the trail.



According to "West Linn Librarian in Trouble for Using Profanity in Class," by KGW Staff, Northwest Cable News, 8 December 2009:
Some parents of West Linn middle school students are angry that their children were exposed to vulgar language by their teacher. They shared their frustrations with the school board Monday night.

The parents told the school board that they were never asked or even told that their children’s librarian was going to write and use profanity as part of a lesson on controversial books.

However, when they heard what happened afterwards, from their 8th grade children, the upset parents said they were furious and in disbelief. They said the teacher exposed their kids to more than a dozen curse words.

“There was the “F-word” [sic] written on the board. The teacher yelled them at the kids and then asked the kids to yell them back at him," said parent Elizabeth Thiede. She also explained that her child was upset by the display that was apparently carried out as part of a language arts unit at Athey Creek Middle School.
Language arts! How artfully the librarian intimidated and sexualized the children—"Elizabeth Thiede said her child was upset by the display"; "several children told their parents they were uncomfortable and embarrassed"; even the school board called it inappropriate and not approved.

From my reading of the story and viewing of the video, there is the chance this experience will negatively affect some of the children for the remainder of their lives. This "drastic fall from grace," "making our children wake from the dream of their childhoods," has apparently fallen directly on the heads of the children in the Athey Creek Middle School.

Why? Why has this happened? Let's read on:
For nearly 10 years, the school has discussed banned and controversial books as part of a successful First Ammendment [sic] curriculum. But never before has profanity been used in such a way, school district officials admitted.
Well, I guess it is no longer successful:
"I didn't believe it, to tell you the truth. It had to have been exagerated [sic] a little bit. But then after talking to other parents whose children were in those classes on Monday, it was quite apparent that it was indeed an actual occurance [sic]," said parent Pamela Alarcon.
Indeed, from the West Linn – Wilsonville School District, School Board Meeting Minutes, February 4, 2008, we see:
4.3 Athey Creek Middle School – Reporting were Christine Biancardi and Josh Pratt – .... Eighth graders participated in a banned book challenge – they read and gave a report why they thought a book should or should not be banned....
Again, no books have been banned for about half a century.  Are children still being taught to duck and cover?  And the school library says, "Banned and Challenged Books - Celebrate the Freedom to Read!"

More importantly, why the emphasis on "banned and controversial books"? Might it be the ALA's BBW propaganda? Does the community want its children to learn ALA propaganda instead of reading, writing, and arithmetic? Sadly, it looks to be the case:
Board members were careful to point out that they were not apologizing for the banned and controversial book curriculum, just the particular way it was presented. They said this will not happen again.
Yes, it will.  Why?  Because the "language arts" curriculum has the ALA's propaganda embedded directly within.  In other words, there is a direct link between the ALA's fraudulent teachings about books being banned and censored across the USA on a daily basis and the Athey Creek Middle School teaching children about books being banned and censored across the USA on a daily basis.  The smoking gun can be seen in the lower right of the school's "Language Arts" page [older archived version as the school has already removed the page!], a graphic of which appears to the right.  Yes, the link to the ALA page is dead, but that's only a result of the recent rewriting of the ALA web site that killed almost all old links.  That ALA link is likely the source for the curriculum on "banned" books at the school.  Is there no liability for maintaining a false and misleading web site that may have led to children being sexualized in public school by a school librarian teaching the ALA misinformation?

So what we have here is the chickens coming home to roost in Athey Creek Middle School.  No books have been banned in the USA for about half a century, but the ALA claims they are banned on a daily basis as a means to ensure children retain access to inappropriate material it is perfectly legal to keep from children in public schools and libraries.  The Athey Creek Middle School has a 10 year program that indoctrinates the children with the ALA's fraudulent misinformation.  A direct link from the ALA to the school is evident on the school's "Language Arts" page, though, granted, the ALA likely did not force the school to add the link.  Then, as part of the curriculum to indoctrinate students about supposed banned books, the librarian shouts obscenities at the children and demands they shout them back.  As a result, several children are significantly and negatively affected, perhaps permanently.

I hope a lawsuit results, though it would mean some child has been affected negatively, and no one wants that.  No one, that is, except the cursing school librarian who didn't really apologize and the ALA that promulgates the false information used by the librarian and encouraged by the school board even after this incident. 

Yes, the school board indirectly defends this.  "Board members were careful to point out that they were not apologizing for the banned and controversial book curriculum, just the particular way it was presented."

No, the false lessons on "banned" books stays.  The chickens have come home to roost, and they will continue to roost until the phony curriculum is discarded.  I say keep the librarian, perhaps on a short leash, but dump the ALA-influenced curriculum and any links to ALA pages containing BBW propaganda.

See also, "West Linn Teacher's Censorship Lesson Spurs Outcry, Apology," by Nicole Dungca, The Oregonian, 8 December 2009.  Notice the librarian is not sorry for what he did, only that he got caught:  "Reached at the school Tuesday, Diltz said school officials had not authorized him to discuss the incident but expressed dismay at the fallout. 'I just wish it hadn't backfired like this,' he said."

The indoctrination of the children about "banned" books will not stop:
Last week, Athey Creek Principal Carol Egan issued an apology to parents through an e-mail list.
"It was meant to provoke student understanding and experience how words, taken out of context, can lose their significance. When taken out of context, an author's words can move a community to ban that author's book from a school library," Egan wrote.
Again, no books have been banned for about half a century.  Does Egan know about Board of Education v. Pico?  Does she know communities don't ban books from schools—even if it were possible the school board would have to do that, and then only after complying with existing policy?  Does she know a school board may remove books legally?  Yet the principal repeats the ALA book-banning propaganda as if it were true.

If any lawsuits result from what happened in that school, the plaintiffs should give thought to whether the ALA is partly at fault, along with the school, based on the direct link from the school to the ALA.  The ALA's grip is so strong that the librarian is only sorry that he got caught and the school board will continue with the "banned" book indoctrination.

The question is, will West Linn, OR, citizens and their government at least consider what I have said about the ALA link and considering severing that link?  The school clearly will not, and the offending librarian only wishes "it hadn't backfired."  Is it an ALA school or a public school?

Is censorship as a serious issue being taught, or is it only a political means to ensure children retain access to inappropriate material.  There is a significant difference, and the distinction further evidences why the school's censorship curriculum is for political indoctrination, not for the truth or any real interest in actual censorship:
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. [Source.]
Totally different.

"Afterward, students write an essay that argues why a book should or shouldn't be banned."  Oh, this must be early Twentieth Century American History since no books have been banned for half a century.

See also, "Repeat After Me...," by Scott Burton KGW, NBC-WSAV News 3, 8 December 2009, and watch the video.

Hat tip to LISNews:  "Language in First Amendment Lesson Irks Middle School Parents," by birdie, LISNews, 8 December 2009.

.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

ALA Blowhards

The Annoyed Librarian discusses another annoyed librarian and American Library Association [ALA] "blowhards."  Here is an excerpt from "Another Annoyed Librarian," by Annoyed Librarian, Library Journal, 9 December 2009, (and be sure to read the comments) emphasis mine:
The November issue of Against the Grain ... published "The American Library Association and Professional Limits:  The Case for Saying Less," by Steve McKinzie. McKinzie argues that:

"By passing numerous political resolutions on non-library related questions, by heading the recommendations of the ALA’s Social Responsibilities Roundtable, and by indulging its desire for political relevance — by saying, in short, so many things about so many topics — the association squanders precious political capital.  That’s right.  Such actions inevitably undermine the ALA’s unique and valuable role — its voice for librarianship and its advocacy of libraries."

He was prompted for action by the latest Council resolutions about health care legislation, which apparently library associations have some special expertise on that it's important to share with everyone else.

My argument is that such ALA political posturing just makes the ALA in particular and librarians in general look silly.  The ALA Councilors should speak to some non-librarians sometime to judge the response.  When I tell non-librarians about some of the more irrelevant resolutions, the response is always the same.  Why would anyone care what the librarians have to say?  When we speak about library-related issues, we speak with authority.  When we speak on issues of no direct concern to libraries, we're just blowhards.

McKinzie makes a similar point, asserting that "Everyone has had the experience of witnessing the phenomena of someone whose boldly brazen posturing does more harm than good," and contrasting this with the "voices you heed — not because you necessarily agree (often you don’t) — but because you respect their understanding and their advocacy."

When library associations speak about non-library issues, why would anyone respect what they have to say?  For McKinzie, it's the divergence from the ALA mission and purpose that makes these pronouncements irrelevant and endangers our credibility on relevant issues.

There's also the loss of political capital.  By speaking so often on any possible topic, the ALA makes it less likely anyone will take them more seriously when they speak on library related topics.  He concludes that "ALA must, in a sense, regain its focus, remember why we are here and what we are about.  Most importantly, the association should employ its precious political capital for the promotion and advocacy of libraries and librarianship — that and nothing more."
I agree, and I have previously said something similar:
And think about that sentence where McKinzie says, "Everyone has had the experience of witnessing the phenomena of someone whose boldly brazen posturing does more harm than good."  Banned Books Week, anyone?

Speaking of the Annoyed Librarian and BBW, remember:
.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Phyllis Schlafly Exposes ALA Fraud; Banned Books Week is Ridiculous Event; Censorship Claims are Fraudulent


Phyllis Schlafly has exposed American Library Association [ALA] fraud regarding Banned Books Week [BBW] and false claims of censorship.  She is on the left in the picture at right (credit) with the former de facto leader of the ALA, the very person who created BBW.

See (or hear): "The Silliest Celebration," by Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum, 4 December 2009:

The Silliest Celebration

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.

The American Library Association puts out a list of books that it claims are being censored, which is a fraud because only government can engage in censorship and I assure you that our government is not censoring books. A so-called list of “banned books” was created by crying “censorship” anytime library patrons or parents of public school children complain about risque books being given to their children. The American Library Association claims that there were 186 cases of supposed censorship last year. But those were merely cases of ordinary people filing complaints with schools or libraries. Nearly all of these challenges to books took place at schools, and the rest of the complaints involved books available in the youth or children’s section of public libraries. These complaints had nothing to do with any book read by an[y] adult. These people accused of being “book banners” are just ordinary parents who want to limit their own children’s exposure to material they consider harmful or obscene.

Banned Books Week is not a celebration of free speech. It's a way for leftwing bureaucrats to bully ordinary citizens by stigmatizing those who complain with nasty names such as ‘bigots,’ ‘screamers,’ and ‘book burners’. The purpose is to intimidate parents from ever complaining about books that are given to their own children.

Listen to the Audio version of this commentary.
posted by Eagle at
.

GLSEN Gets It, the ALA Doesn't; ALA Challenged to Provide Notice of Potentially Inappropriate Material in its Book Lists and Awards


GLSEN gets it, the ALA [American Library Association] doesn't.  What is it?  It is providing parents with notice of potentially inappropriate material in reading lists.  I challenge the ALA to provide such notice.


GLSEN Book List Contains Material Inappropriate for Children

According to "Breaking: Obama's 'Safe Schools Czar' Is Promoting Child Porn in the Classroom–Kevin Jennings and the GLSEN Reading List," by Jim Hoft, Gateway Pundit, 4 December 2009, GLSEN has a list of "books that GLSEN’s directors think all kids should be reading: gay kids should read them to raise their self-esteem, and straight kids should read them in order to become more aware and tolerant and stop bullying gay kids":
Book after book after book contained stories and anecdotes that weren’t merely X-rated and pornographic, but which featured explicit descriptions of sex acts between pre-schoolers; stories that seemed to promote and recommend child-adult sexual relationships; stories of public masturbation, anal sex in restrooms, affairs between students and teachers, five-year-olds playing sex games, semen flying through the air.


Providing Notice is Simple, as GLSEN Illustrates

Be that as it may, this sentence from the story is revealing: "Note: GLSEN does advise adults to 'review content for suitability.'"

Providing notice is very simple, as GLSEN illustrates in the link, a graphic from which is at right, but the ALA refuses to do this simple act.

As I have said before:
Perhaps worse, no notice whatsoever is provided as to the content containing x-rated material and otherwise being pervasively vulgar.  The problem here is the ALA, not the book or the author.  The ALA awards a pervasively vulgar book containing an x-rated section for kids twelve and up, does not provide notice as to the x-rated contents or the vulgarity, and knows its lists are used as gold standards nationwide for promoting books to children.  That is the problem.
How true.  And GLSEN shows just how simple it is to provide such notice, red emphasis in original:
All BookLink items are reviewed by GLSEN staff for quality and appropriateness of content. However, some titles for adolescent readers contain mature themes. We recommend that adults selecting books for youth review content for suitability. The editorial and customer reviews listed at Amazon.com often provide information on mature content.


Example of Effect of Lack of Notice

Here is an example of what happens when an ALA-awarded book containing oral sex is promoted without notice of the contents:





Don't you love the gold seal of approval from the ALA on the book?  It is for the ALA's Printz Award. It is obviously the reason the store chose that book for a prime spot—evidencing the desired effect of the award, namely, broadest possible exposure.  "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." That got the top award in 2006 with absolutely no notice as to such content.  Then it ended up in a grocery store checkout aisle at child eye height next to Bob the Builder, as the above picture shows.  And there is a child nearby.  I personally got the author to admit he wouldn't even give his own award-winning book to his own 12 year old if he had one.



Demand for ALA to Provide Notice to Parents

It is time people demand notice from the ALA similar to the notice GLSEN provided.

I call on the ALA here and now to provide notice in its book lists and awards of potentially inappropriate material for children.  If GLSEN can do it, so can the ALA.

.