Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Parent Trap: ALA Uses Banned Books Week to Ridicule Patrons Complying with ALA Materials Reconsideration Policies

ALA's "Think for
Yourself" Robot
The American Libraries Association [ALA] sets up parents for ridicule, then leads the charge in ridiculing them using propaganda techniques.  "Banned Books Week" [BBW] is the ALA creation it uses to lead the deceptive and disgraceful effort to ridicule people.  It wants people to ignore what the US Supreme Court said or even what the ALA's creator of BBW said about legally keeping inappropriate material from children.  The ALA cannot be trusted by local communities.


The ALA Uses BBW for Propaganda Purposes

The ALA uses BBW that it created on its own for propaganda purposes.  It talks about hundreds of banned books, yet the last book banned in the USA was Fanny Hill in 1963, about half a century ago.  For example, see "2010 Banned Books Week - Top Ten Banned and Challenged Books for 2009," by American Library Association, OIFTube, 24 September 2010.

Isn't it propaganda for the nation's self-arrogated leader in censorship to list hundreds of books "banned" in 2009 when the last book ban occurred in 1963?  The goal is to convince people not to keep children from inappropriate material since that would make them "censors."  What is the evidence?  Read on for just the latest example.


How the ALA Sets Up Parents for Ridicule

The ALA sets up parents for ridicule.  It does this by advising libraries to create, maintain, and exercise so-called "materials reconsideration policies."  They should really be called "leading with the chin policies" since the ALA sets up people to get whacked merely for complying with the policy and filing a complaint as directed.

The ALA created these policies to stop the removal of books by individual librarians reacting to patron complaints by removing materials.  The ALA then guides libraries on how to promote the policies to the public and the media.  For example, the ALA guidance says, emphasis in original:

What does the library do if someone complains about something in its collection?  We take such concerns very seriously. First, we listen. We also have a formal review process in which we ask you to fill out a special form designed to help us understand your concerns. Anyone who makes a written complaint will receive a response in writing.

But that is patently false in spirit when viewed in context of the ALA's latest BBW propaganda.  Recall the ALA propaganda I linked above:

ALA Graphic Showing Claim of Up to 460 Books Banned in 2009
"In 2009, 460 books were banned or challenged in the United States," says the ALA.  That may be true, but only if 460 of the 460 were challenges and not bans.

ALA Graphic Characterizing Policy Challenges as "Demands to remove books"
"460 demands to remove books from schools, libraries and bookstores," is the next ALA statement, as shown above.  Setting aside the ALA's questionable mission creep into bookstores, notice how proper filings for relief under materials reconsideration policies are characterized as "demands to remove books."

Now watch as the ALA performs the propagandistic coup of subtly claiming any and all attempts to seek compliance under the ALA material reconsideration policies are really attempts at censorship.


The ALA Ridiculing Parents

The ALA, having set up the mechanism of "materials reconsideration policies," then leads the effort in ridiculing anyone who avails themselves of the ALA-inspired policies:

ALA Graphic Ridiculing Anyone Who Followed ALA-Inspired "Materials Reconsideration Policies"
"460 persons or groups who believed that they should decide for others what they could read," says the ALA as pictured above.

So, the ALA directs libraries to utilize "Materials Reconsideration Policies," then it leads the effort to ridicule anyone who avails himself of such policies.  Merely for complying with the ALA-inspired policy, you supposedly "believe you can decide for others what they could read."  And all the while the ALA is in reality deciding for others what they can read, namely, anything.

The ALA goes so far as to say challenges are "a threat to freedom of speech and choice."  Comply with a materials reconsideration policy the ALA recommends and you are suddenly labeled a threat to freedom of speech and choice because you supposedly believe you can decide for others what they can read.  Do you understand the game the ALA is playing?  Is this not propaganda?


Jamming / Ridicule = Deceptive / Disgraceful

The particular propagandistic technique being used by the ALA in this case is called "jamming" (more here:  "Effect of Jamming, is achieved without reference to facts, logic or proof").  Essentially, if you ridicule everyone each time, eventually people will stop placing themselves in the position of being ridiculed.

Alinsky Rule 5
"Ridicule is Man's
Most Potent Weapon"
Further, Saul Alinsky in Rules for Radicals said, in Rule 5, "Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. ....  [Y]ou do what you can with what you have and clothe it with moral arguments."  And the ALA uses ridicule for this very purpose, as a weapon to thwart efforts to legally protect children from inappropriate material.  The ALA's moral argument is its BBW 2010 theme, namely, "Think for yourself and let others do the same."

See the graphic to the right for Alinsky Rule 5?  See how ridicule is used to change perceptions?  Is that a fair portrayal?  No, it is not; rather, it is disrespectful.  Similarly, is it a fair portrayal when the ALA says all "460 persons or groups ... believed that they should decide for others what they could read"?  No, it is not; rather, it is disrespectful.  Worse, since the ALA created the mechanism for filing complaints in the first place, its ridicule of everyone actually complying with its mechanism is particularly deceptive and disgraceful.

Does the US Supreme Court or BBW's founder have the same view as the ALA?  No.


The US Supreme Court and BBW's Creator Show the ALA is Wrong

The US Supreme Court has decided some cases that imply, if not show, that book challenges can be for legitimate reasons.
"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."
"Petitioners rightly possess significant discretion to determine the content of their school libraries.  But that discretion may not be exercised in a narrowly partisan or political manner.  ....  Our Constitution does not permit the official suppression of ideas.  ....  On the other hand, respondents implicitly concede that an unconstitutional motivation would not be demonstrated if it were shown that petitioners had decided to remove the books at issue because those books were pervasively vulgar."

Even BBW's founder and former four decade de facto ALA leader Judith Krug said books may be removed from school libraries in the right circumstances:
"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."

Certainly the ALA would not characterize the Justices of the US Supreme Court as censors, would it?  And Judith Krug is not a threat to freedom of speech and choice because she believes she can decide for others what they can read, is she?

No.  Similarly, people who file complaints in compliance with policy should not be mischaracterized by the ALA. 


Conclusion

The ALA directs local libraries to create materials selection policies.  It then ridicules anyone availing themselves of the policy calling them censors, threats to freedom of speech and choice, etc.  It does this intentionally with the propagandistic purpose of intimidating communities into stopping or preventing in the first place efforts by community members to seek compliance with library policies, legal cases, and common sense that legally protects children from inappropriate material.

Significantly, it uses "Banned Book Week" as the focal point for aiming the ridicule at the community.  The latest example of this can be seen in "2010 Banned Books Week - Top Ten Banned and Challenged Books for 2009" as discussed above.

The ALA cannot be trusted.  Its propagandistic efforts are designed to fool local communities and media into leaving children exposed to inappropriate material it would be legal to prevent.

Banned Books Week is the ALA's primary vehicle for pushing this propaganda.  While this may be my point of view, a simple look at the ALA policies and the latest BBW propaganda will make the point very clear.  On the one hand, "We take such concerns very seriously," while on the other, the ALA obviously does not take the concerns seriously:  "460 persons or groups ... believed that they should decide for others what they could read."  It's the perfect "parent trap."

In the end, isn't it the ALA that's deciding what others could read?  "The ... elites have convinced themselves that they are taking a stand against cultural tyranny.  ....  [T]he reality is that it is those who cry 'Censorship!' the loudest who are the ones trying to stifle speech and force their moral world-view on others."  Please comment below.


NOTE ADDED 9 JUNE 2011:

Look, the library community agrees it's not all black and white as the ALA's OIF tries to make it appear:
  • "Surreptitious Censorship," by Will Manley, Will Unwound, 8 June 2011.
    Intellectual freedom is often presented as a black and white issue.  You are either a supporter of intellectual freedom or you are a censor.  There seems to be no middle ground.

NOTE ADDED 30 AUGUST 2011:

I am not the only one pointing out how the ALA labels everyone as the bad guy:

  • "My Problem with Banned Books Week," by Rory Litwin, Library Juice, 28 August 2011:
    My problem with Banned Books Week is one that is probably shared by some conservatives, and it has to do with the loose definition of what a "banned book" is, and what a "challenged book" is.  ....  The Banned Books Week project, well-intended as it may be, is a propaganda exercise that fails to model good standards for democratic communication.

    ....

    School districts have policies in place for reviewing challenges to books on the basis of age-appropriateness.  Challenged books are reviewed and evaluated by committees that are charged with that responsibility, and then the school district makes an official decision regarding the book.  Regardless of what the school's decision turns out to be, regardless of its reasonableness or unreasonableness, and regardless of the objectivity or bias within the decision-making process in a specific case, all challenges to a book by a parent get counted as an attempt at book banning.

    Personally, I agree with intellectual freedom orthodoxy that says that one family should not have the right to determine what other students are taught, and this is part of what public education is.  But when a book is challenged and reviewed on the grounds of age-appropriateness, it is ultimately not the family that brought the challenge that makes the decision.  The decision is made by the educational institution itself.  ....  But the decision about whether a book should remain a part of the curriculum or not is ultimately made by the public institution that put the book in the curriculum in the first place, which means that book challenges happen as a part of a process that the institution puts in place in order to get feedback from the community on the curriculum.  ...."

.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

ALA Oppresses Kids on Banned Books Week and All Year Long; Opinion: There Is a Time to Ban Books from School Libraries

It's National Hogwash Week.  In addition to the gems linked therein comes the latest about the American Library Association's [ALA] oppression of children and its political correctness in public schools.  Yes, oppression and political correctness.  In public schools.  In your community.  Your children are the target.  As the author explains, do not trust the ALA.

Here is an outstanding opinion from Sylvia Cochran, bold emphasis mine, italic in original:


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.

The ALA reports that between 2009 and 2010 there were three instances of school library book bans.  With Banned Books Week commemorated during the last week of September, it is only fitting to review the appropriateness of book bans in school libraries.

While I do not believe that a book should be banned from a public library, I do see the logic of declaring some reading material off-limits in the school setting.

The one and only reason to ban books from a school library?  They're not age-appropriate.

I have no problem with religious, political or even some adult situations in books placed in school libraries.  In fact, I believe that exposing kids to a variety of lifestyles, viewpoints, beliefs and politics is a good thing -- as long as it is done in small, age-appropriate doses on a voluntary basis.  I do, however, object to children being made to read books that are not appropriate for their emotional or intellectual maturity level.

Take for example The Fashion Disaster that Changed My Life, a thoroughly enjoyable book by Lauren Myracle.  Amazon quotes the School Library Journal, which rates it as appropriate for grade four to seven.  The story's 12-year-old protagonist experiences a static, cling-induced fashion faux pas as she enters seventh grade with her mom's panties stuck to her pants.

For me, the problem begins on page five, when one of the boys leers, "Strip show, baby!" and "Take it all off!"  A few pages later the same boy suggests to the hapless protagonist to "get a job at the Pussycat Palace" because "you could get paid to take off your undies."

I really, really don't want my fourth-grade son or daughter reading this.  (In part, because I really do not want to explain to either of them what a stripper is and why some people pay others to take off their clothes. At least not in fourth grade.)  Thus, I would like to see this book banned from school library shelves accessible to kindergarten students and other very young elementary school kids.

Can't we trust the ALA to look out for the kids?

The short answer is a resounding "no."
  As outlined in the ALA's materials for how to conduct a challenge hearing, the organization advises librarians that, "All those selected to testify should be reminded they are defending a principle more than an individual title.  The actual title in question should play a secondary role.  It is very difficult to disagree with the freedom to read, view and listen in a democratic society."

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.

Copyright © 2010 Yahoo! Inc.  All rights reserved.
 
.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Book Burning Game: Max Damage 2

Think burning books is fun?  Well, if you don't want to be fired from NJ Transit for burning a Koran, you could always play Max Damage 2.  Level 29 is one of the levels where you get to burn books, and it's labelled "Book burning."  Here's a screen shot of that level, where the books to burn are in the lower left:
Max Damage 2 - Level 29 - "Book burning"
Of course if you were burning books in Cuba, that would be okay.  The American Library Association defends book burning in Cuba.

Using the threat of the destruction of books to wage a war on ideas some may disagree with is offensive to the American Library Association,” said ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom Director Barbara Jones.  “Book burning is the most insidious form of censorship, and such an action or threat should not be taken lightly."

That's nice.  If the ALA was serious, if would send another invitation to Robert Spencer to speak since the ALA censored him the first time, then burned him.  See "ALA is Duplicitous and Fraudulent, Censors Whomever It Wants, Suppresses Intellectual Freedom, and Joins the Jihad."  Also, see what the Annoyed Librarian said about the ALA at "Free Speech, Book Burning, and Other Stuff," and see what Will Manley said about the Annoyed Librarian at "WILL UNWOUND #229: Library Journal and the Use of the Racial Epithet ‘Cracker’ by Will Manley."

Apparently, the ALA's censoring Robert Spencer is not offensive to the ALA, neither is it an insidious form of censorship not to be taken lightly.  Do you see how the double standard works?

.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Library Takeover Reveals Hidden Crime; Former Covina Public Library Director Roger Possner Waves Patron Policy as Evidence Crimes Never Occurred; Library Acceptable Use Policies Do Not Work

The Covina Public Library was taken over by the city, or "placed under the Parks and Recreation Department," in April 2010, I believe solely for financial reasons, and I believe it was moved between city departments, not strictly a "takeover."  As a result, its former library director, Roger Possner and five others, were laid off.  After the lay offs, crimes began to be reported more freely.  See, for example, "Covina Library Installs Filters After Patrons Viewed Child Porn," by Maria Ines ZamudioWhittier Daily News, 17 June 2010.

A "safety assessment report" was prepared by Police Chief Kim Raney after Possner was removed.  Result?  Potential crimes previously unreported were revealed—in other words, the library was hiding the crimes.  Read the news report yourself:

The safety assessment report, prepared by police Chief Kim Raney after the library was placed under the Parks and Recreation Department in April, placed fault on Possner for not involving the police department in potentially criminal or dangerous issues.
Raney found that a lack of filters on the library computers enabled patrons to view pornographic material.  The report also stated that used condoms were found on a secluded stairway and that patrons sometimes tried to stay in the library after hours.  It also stated that young children were sometimes left at the library without supervision.

Source:  "Former Covina Library Director Responds to Report on Patron Misbehavior," by James Figueroa, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, 8 September 2010.

The library, under the former director, was likely adhering to American Library Association [ALA] policy not to call the police: "As for obscenity and child pornography, prosecutors and police have adequate tools to enforce criminal laws.  Libraries are not a component of law enforcement efforts...."  Might this adherence to ALA policy by the library director have something to do with why the library was taken over?

Remove the ALA influence and you can protect citizens better, as the Covina Public Library case evidences.  As I have previously written, "Libraries Aid and Abet Pedophiles, Destroy Evidence, Retaliate Against Whistle Blowers, Claim Dubious Privacy and Free Speech Rights; ALA At Fault."

Now let's go further into the story.  The former public library director defends the coverup by waving around the library's obviously useless patron policies:

Possner, who was laid off with five other staff members just before the incidents were reported, brought two copies of library policies about users' conduct to the City Council's regular meeting to disprove the report.
"The entire 30-page safety report seems to be the product of a culture of fear, portraying a library full of danger," Possner said. "The Covina Public Library I knew was a safe place for learning and enjoyment, staffed sufficiently to maintain good service and good order."

So "library policies about users' conduct" was used "to disprove the report."  In other words, see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.  We see yet again library acceptable use policies are a failure.  Acceptable use policies are one means libraries use to cover their behinds when something goes wrong and to claim Internet filters are not needed.

In Covina, CA, the library takeover removed the library director who likely hid the potentially criminal activity, and suddenly such activity was exposed to the sunshine.  As seasoned students in online criminal justice courses could tell you, it was a mistake that in desperation, the former library director pathetically attempted to defend himself with the very acceptable use policies the ALA told him would protect the library.  They don't, and they didn't.

Does your own local library rely on useless acceptable use policies instead of more effective means to legally protect patrons including the use of Internet filters?  Yes, such policies are useful for certain things, but they are not useful for preventing criminal activity.  Here is something forbidden by the ALA for people to see:

The report made several recommendations to improve conditions at the library, including the installation of surveillance cameras, drafting new library policies and training for library personnel by the Police Department.
Some changes have reportedly been made already, including the installation of pornography filters on computers.


I'll venture a guess and say that the library director's plainly evident anger is a result of the publication of information that he has been hiding from the public for so long and expected would stay hidden.

The library director evidences his desperation further by making flat out false statements.  Recall that he said to the City Council, "The Covina Public Library I knew was a safe place for learning and enjoyment, staffed sufficiently to maintain good service and good order."  That is likely false.  How do I know?  Compare what he said to the City Council in September with what he said to a reporter in June:  "Former library Director Roger Possner said the lack of employees supervising visitors could have contributed to the problems.  'The only answer is supervision,' said Possner, who was laid off in March. 'Staffing is low, and it's hard to keep track.'"  So it was either "staffed sufficiently" or "the lack of employees could have contributed to the problems," depending on which Roger Possner you believe.


How refreshing it is to see a local community wresting control of the library back from the ALA and its acolytes.  Out goes the useless ALA-inspired policy and the ALA-influenced library director, in comes a properly layered means of legally protecting patrons including security cameras, improved library policies, employee training, and especially Internet filters.

Remember, all my California readers, what a Gilroy Dispatch editorial said:

Speaking of local control … even after six years, it still rankles that our librarians refused and continue to refuse to adopt a policy prohibiting access to pornography by minors on library Internet terminals.  When every day new incidents reveal the ease with which sexual predators solicit children online, any claims that the library is a safe place for kids ring hollow.  The values espoused by the American Library Association are so divorced from the values of our community that we would seriously consider withdrawing from the Joint Powers Authority and going back to the days of a city library under local control, rather than giving one thin dime to an institution controlled by an organization that believes in "all materials for all patrons regardless of age."


Source: "Vote No on Prop. 81," by Editorial, Gilroy Dispatch, 16 May 2006, emphasis added.

I hope this Covina library matter sets a national example of the benefits of jettisoning ALA policy and exposing library operations to public scrutiny.  I look forward to hearing more on this matter as more is revealed.  How about you?  Please comment below.


NOTE ADDED 22 MARCH 2012:

I am editing the above to add additional text/links, including one to the ALA's ACRL.

.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Nominate Gail Sweet for I Love My Librarian Award

Gail Sweet, library director of the Burlington County Library System, should be nominated for the 2010 Carnegie Corporation of New York/New York Times "I Love My Librarian Award."  See all my blog posts on Gail Sweet for the reasons why.

I know the American Library Association [ALA] opposes librarians like Gail Sweet who do not yield to its demands, and I doubt the ALA, which administers the award, would ever give such a librarian the "I Love My Librarian Award."  However, I know most in her community love Gail Sweet.  There is always the chance that since the ALA only administers this award, its sponsors, namely, the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the New York Times, will insist on fairness.

September 20 is the cut off date so this must be done by then.

The following is based on an ALA press release on the award:

The Carnegie Corporation of New York/New York Times "I Love My Librarian Award" encourages library users to recognize the accomplishments of librarians in public, school, college, community college and university libraries for their efforts to improve the lives of people in their community.

Winners get $5,000 and will be honored at a ceremony and reception in New York, hosted by The New York Times.  In addition, a plaque will be given to each award winner's library.

Each nominee must be a librarian with a master's degree from a program accredited by the American Library Association [ALA] in library and information studies or a master's degree with a specialty in school library media from an educational unit accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education.

For more information and to nominate a librarian, visit www.ilovelibraries.org/ilovemylibrarian.

The award is supported by Carnegie Corporation of New York and The New York Times.  It is administered by the ALA, the oldest and largest library association in the world, and The Campaign for America's Libraries, ALA's public awareness campaign about the value of libraries and librarians.

.