Friday, October 5, 2012

Librarians Discuss Banned Books Week on Twitter #Libchat; ALA Councilor Attacks Me

#libchat moderator
This week is the American Library Association's 30th edition of its Banned Books Week hoax.  As a volunteer librarian, I partake in the weekly #libchat on Twitter, 8 - 9:30 pm EST Wednesdays, moderated by @NatalieBinder.

So I sent the following messages to the moderator about Banned Books Week as she seeks such input:

@nataliebinder for #libchat: "Why the @OIF Can’t be Taken Seriously" #BannedBooksWeek #censorship
10/3/12 7:55 PM-Wednesday, 3October2012

@nataliebinder, why doesn't@OIF oppose banning of ex-gay books on #BannedBooksWeek
10/3/12 8:09 PM-Wednesday, 3October2012

This apparently precipitated the following discussion, with some people saying the ALA should be more radical and others saying less, essentially agreeing with me in principle that the ALA has gone too far in some areas and not enough in others:

Q3 This week is Banned Books Week. Do libraries (or the ALA) sometimes take the definition of censorship too far? (1/2) #libchat
10/3/12 8:30 PM-Wednesday, 3October2012

Q3 continued: Is it appropriate to focus on challenged books during Banned Books week? (2/2) #libchat
10/3/12 8:31 PM-Wednesday, 3October2012

Q3 I do. A better name would be Intellectual Freedom Week, as that's what it's really about, reminding folks [cont.] #libchat
10/3/12 8:34 PM-Wednesday, 3October2012

Q3 cont.'s not illegal to think unpopular thoughts. But Banned Books Week is more soundbite-able to the general public. #libchat
10/3/12 8:35 PM-Wednesday, 3October2012

q3 I think ALA doesn't take the censorship debate far enough- they don't disallow internet filtering. [cont] #libchat
10/3/12 8:35 PM-Wednesday, 3October2012

@LibraryPadawan Agreed. Freedom to not have others judge what is appropriate for each individual to read/learn. #libchat
10/3/12 8:35 PM-Wednesday, 3October2012

q3 Banned Books Week is a good media/pr/awareness raising event, but it needs to go further-raise more issues around censorship #libchat
10/3/12 8:36 PM-Wednesday, 3October2012

Q3 I like the name "Banned Books Week". It's a very jarring & attention grabbing name for an issue people often forget still exists #libchat
10/3/12 8:36 PM-Wednesday, 3October2012

@cathy_library I agree. I think many libraries get a good conversation started that gets dropped until the next Banned Books Week #libchat
10/3/12 8:37 PM-Wednesday, 3October2012

@LibraryPadawan I like that. It better reflects what we're actually trying to accomplish. #libchat
10/3/12 8:37 PM-Wednesday, 3October2012

Q3 #libchat At times it seems that if a book is thrown out of something that is not a library, it's not a banned book..
10/3/12 8:38 PM-Wednesday, 3October2012

Q3 #libchat ...and even if the book is retained in the collection, it's still banned
10/3/12 8:38 PM-Wednesday, 3October2012

Q3 My favorite is when people get confused and think the library is trying to ban books. Let's call it a teachable moment. #libchat
10/3/12 8:39 PM-Wednesday, 3October2012

Q3 #libchat (unless a librarian decides to take it out of the collection himself cf. @awfullibbooks)
10/3/12 8:40 PM-Wednesday, 3October2012

Q3 #libchat Books that get you arrested, killed, or deported, are missing from the list because Americans do have the freedom to read them
10/3/12 8:43 PM-Wednesday, 3October2012

The above discussion is not necessarily news, but I thought it was interesting enough to publish here to show that not all librarians march to the ALA's tune.

ALA Councilor Patrick Sweeney Attacks Me

As an aside, here's a supposed free speech advocate calling me "that one typical crazy guy," even as they speak on the issue I raised.  I know he's talking about me because he has made similar comments about me in other fora in the past, and in a similar manner.

Notice in his first #libchat comment ever, he uses the opportunity to make an ad hominem remark about me.  He's one of my few personal trolls:

Checking out #libchat for the first time. I'm wondering about how many non-libs participate? Besides that one typical crazy guy.
10/3/12 8:36 PM-Wednesday, 3October2012

And what a coincidence this free speech troll blocks me on Twitter.  Oh my, he is "the Branch Manager of the East Palo Alto Library in California" identified as an "ALA Emerging Leader."

He is now an ALA Councilor!  "The Council is the governing body of ALA."  Model behavior for an ALA Councilor to behave in such a fashion, no?  Attack someone on Twitter but be sure he's blocked first so he can't respond.

To whom may I appeal if someone on the governing body of the ALA is attacking me in various settings?  He's on the ALA Ethics Committee, so the answer is nowhere.  But he does help to illustrate the ALA's commitment to free speech goes only one way.

The Banned Books Week Acolytes Block Free Speech

Notice other supposed free speech advocates who support Banned Books Week in the conversation above have also blocked me:
  • @jessf600 - Jessica - public librarian in Ventura County, CA.
  • @BibliosaurusRex - Lauren Bradley, MLIS, Judaica Systems Librarian and ALA Committee Intern, New York City, NY, ALA's Public and Cultural Programs Advisory Committee.
  • @lochwouters - Marge Loch-Wouters - Youth Services Coordinator, La Crosse Public Library, immediate past Wisconsin's Chapter Councilor on the ALA Council - she joined the conversation too late to comment on the issue, but she's another ALA Councilor who has blocked me.
And most seem to be ALA acolytes.  And they block free speech.  Free speech advocates blocking free speech.  Remarkable.  No big deal as this is just Twitter, but I thought it interesting nevertheless.

It sheds a little bit of light on why, for example, certain free speech advocates do not mind the censorship of books with which they disagree, such as those about ex-gays:

Conclusion on Banned Books Week, Free Speech, and Twitter Behavior

So the librarians who seek to move Banned Books Week away from being a hoax such as by calling it "Intellectual Freedom Week" do not block me, and the librarians who are happy to see Banned Books Week continue to be "very jarring" block my free speech on Twitter.  Very interesting.  It's no coincidence.


Contrast the behavior of the ALA Councilor with that of teacher/writer Trudy J. Morgan-Cole.  She addresses the issues, not the people raising the issues (though she swoons over John Green and not me!!!), and she does so in a truly thoughtful manner:

She references the following tweets:

During #bannedbooksweek I loaned a student Looking for Alaska by @realjohngreen . Was that ever banned anywhere?
10/4/12 8:40 PM-Thursday, 4October2012

@trudymorgancole many times.
10/4/12 8:46 PM-Thursday, 4October2012

No: MT @trudymorgancole: "#bannedbooksweek Was Looking for Alaska by @realjohngreen ever banned anywhere?”
10/4/12 10:58 PM-Thursday, 4October2012

I recommend following @TrudyMorganCole.


ALA Councilor Sweeney commented below to attack me further, even saying, "I also have heard from a number of New Jersey librarians (where you live) that you used to put playboys and penthouses in the stacks and then try to get the libraries in trouble to drum up some press. Is that true? Yet another reason why you’re blocked."  I respond to this unprofessionalism and more also in comments below.  Please read them.


  1. How is someone blocking you on Twitter -- which simply makes it so you can't follow their feed -- prohibiting free speech? Who's speech is being constrained?

    1. When one blocks another on Twitter, the tweets of the other that were addressed to the one will not appear in the stream of tweets addressed to the one. Therefore, it effectively blocks free speech, granted, limited to that narrow circumstance.

      Now an ALA Councilor is part of the governance of the ALA, so such Twitter accounts might have more visibility than the average librarian. Indeed, @PCSweeney has at this moment 3,143 followers. Compare that with the ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom which has 2,794. @PCSweeney beats out even the @OIF. So blocking messages from appearing in a list of messages sent to @PCSweeney, or discouraging the sending of such messages in the first place, amounts to a violation, even if minor, of free speech, and the violation is significant for someone having more followers than even the OIF.

      Consider as well that the person is supposedly a free speech advocate, and he is denying the free speech of another. It is hypocritical.

      Consider as well that the person is attacking me and the block effectively blocks people from seeing my response to his attack. It is unfair.

      And this guy is on the ALA Ethics Committee as well. Where is the ethics in this?

      Blocking may be common, but for a free speech advocate to do it makes one question his true interest in freedom of speech.

      I myself have blocked one person. He harassed me repeatedly. He harassed many others as well. (He must have been retired and had nothing else to do but spend his days harassing people.) Ultimately, Twitter shut down his account. But harassment is different from simply disagreeing with something someone says.

      Remember, the claim is made that blocking children from inappropriate material violates their First Amendment rights or blocking porn from libraries violates the free speech of the porn producer. But let someone challenge the false propaganda of Banned Books Week by pointing out the many people exposing the propaganda and suddenly you get blocked by an ALA Councilor who then goes on to make ad hominem remarks about you while you cannot respond.

      It's just wrong under the circumstances. And it denies my free speech.

    2. Wrong. You're still free to tweet all you want, about pretty much anything you want. You really have no idea what 'free speech' means.

      The ALA is a corporation, not a government entity. Even if you were to argue that the associated librarians are government employees, their twitter activity is not within the scope of their government employment, but rather within the scope of their association with the ALA--purely private activity.
      Maybe you should study up on Constitutional Law, there, buddy. You still have a blog, so prattle on and quit your whining.

    3. Okay, Anonymous, come back and comment some more, if you wish, on future blog posts.

  2. You do not seem to understand what 'free speech' means. Free speech does not mean that people have to listen to you. If, for instance, you delete this comment, you are not denying my right to free speech. It is your blog, and you have a right to say what does and does not publish on it. A twitter user has a right to decide what comments they do or do not see (and which comments they do or do not publish on their feed). Blocking a person does not invalidate that persons right to free speech.
    Free speech also does not mean that people cannot say negative things back to you. And commenting about 'one crazy guy' is not an attack on you when the comment in no way links to you whatsoever.

    1. Free speech per se is not the issue. The issue is these are supposedly free speech advocates who are cutting off the free speech of others. I would not even notice if people make my comments disappear, but when it's the people shouting loudest that keeping kids from inappropriate material is denying their rights, then I have to note the hypocrisy. And when its a leader in that organization, that makes it even worse.

      On Twitter, when, say, the Brooklyn Public Library blocks me because I expose how it illegally allows unfettered porn and defrauds the federal government of millions of dollars, people looking in the tweets sent to or mentioning BrooklynPublic will not see my tweets. The library has effectively limited my free speech while at the same time it allows unfettered porn for free speech reasons and violates federal law. See how that's notable?

      The "one crazy guy" comment is part of a pattern of this ALA Councilor ridiculing me. Ridicule is one way to stop others from listening to the person being ridiculed. It's why politians ridicule each other repeatedly, especially when it's not true. Have you read Alinsky lately? I simply did not lay out the entire pattern of his harassment, but how boring would my post be if I did. Anyway, I know he's talking about me, he know's he's talking about me, and the others who have blocked me who I mentioned also know he is talking about me, and they all love it.

      Say Anonymous, why not reveal who you are?

  3. I love all of this! To be fair, a little background. I started blocking you because, before I even knew that you existed, you posted my phone number and address on your blog because I had the audacity (as a council member) to ask council a question from one of our constituents that was asked of me that I didn’t know the answer to. But I guess I’m a horrible person for trying to answer an ALA member’s question (which is probably my duty as a councilor). Later, you again blogged about me in connection with economic terrorism and then emailed me to tell me that you blogged that I was being associated with terrorism and should go immediately to your blog to defend myself. LOL!! That's a pretty crazy trolling move and again depicts why you are blocked. So, instead, I emailed you my response where I told you that if you wanted to change ALA, I can help you. I told you flat out that if you wanted to change ALA you need to join it so that you have a voice, I told you that I would get your petition signed to run for council, and I would campaign on your behalf to try to get you elected. I explained that from a position on council or at least as an ALA member you would prove that you are not just trolling for blog stats and your own selfish and desperate attempt for 15 minutes of fame but that you actually cared about these issues that you’re talking about. You then posted on your blog that you thought I was a decent person (an edit that has since been removed) with no mention of my challenge to you. Of course, you have not yet taken me up on the challenge anyway because you don’t really care at all about any of these issues. Instead, you’re continuously trolling me and desperately clawing for blog stats. This is why you're blocked from my account. BTW, kudos to you for not emailing me to tell me to visit your blog this time, that shows growth… but not too much growth of course. I also have heard from a number of New Jersey librarians (where you live) that you used to put playboys and penthouses in the stacks and then try to get the libraries in trouble to drum up some press. Is that true? Yet another reason why you’re blocked.

    1. Patrick, I am so happy you wrote. It seems there is a serious misconception that can be solved, then you won't hold such animosity for me, and perhaps you'll even unblock me.

      As to publishing your name and number, you made a public statement containing that name and number. Therefore, I never saw any harm in it, and I certainly never expected anyone to contact you as a result. I'll bet no one did. I cannot recall that far back but had you asked me to redact or elide that information, I would have. Further, I included a lot because I was providing context and not simply cherry picking or worse, changing what people say, like the ALA does in its own reporting. Besides, online communications are never so good as personal communications, so there is a much greater chance for misinterpretation, and it appears you misinterpreted something and, for that one perceived transgression, labelled me a troll. Trolling usually involves a persistent pattern of behavior intended to distract from legitimate issues being discussed to attack people. Trust me, I love to stick to the issues and get people to stop talking about me as I am usually never the issue, neither do I want to be. So even if I did what you said, which I did not, it would still not be trolling.

      So really there's no need for any hard feelings due to that.

      As to writing to you about writing about you, I viewed that as a courtesy. I am sorry you viewed that as trolling for blog hits. I was not doing that. I get plenty of hits from major sources like the Wall Street Journal and other sources like American Libraries, etc., that I don't need to troll for you or a few others to see my blog. I don't troll. Any time I link my blog is when I am making a comment on a relevant issue being discussed. I do comment in a lot of places, but my comments and the frequency thereof pales in comparison to all the articles filled with pure false information from the ALA or it acolytes where I simple do not have the time to comment. And to be clear, you are not tied in directly with economic terrorism, but I explain more below, and besides, the "occupy" "movement" turned out to be a huge flop anyway, even though the ALA and a few other libraries promoted it whenever possible. People like the Annoyed Librarian even wrote about what a joke the ALA was for supporting the false claims of the occupy economic failed terrorists.

      So really there's no need for any hard feelings due to that either.



      As to joining the ALA and your offer to support me, that was appreciated then and now. I used to be an ALA member. The one and only reason I am not now a member and will not become a member is simply because I cannot afford it. That's all. Many others cannot afford it. So please don't make false claims that I'm insincere. I'm poor financially yes, but I am not insincere. That's likely why the ALA refuses to debate me publicly, like, for one example, when it backed out of a Banned Books Week appearance on Fox News after learning I would be the other guest. If I were insincere, the ALA would not fear debating me as my insincerity would be evident. Given all the ALA's double standards, actually it's the ALA what is often insincere, and I am the one who connects the dots to show people that this is the case. So, as you are in the governing council of the ALA, I understand your need for psychological projection, but I'm not holding that against you.

      So really there's no need for any assumptions about my insincerity.

      Regarding your saying I connected you to economic terrorism, I was just connecting the dots. You were connecting yourself to economic terrorism. The entire "occupy" was designed to promote economic terrorism. One part of that subversive activity was represented by the occupy "library" which really was not a library. You said you were sending these people money to support them. You said that. You did that. I merely reported this. No "crazy trolling" was involved by me. That's you supporting economic terrorists and me reporting it.

      So really, you did what you did to support economic terrorists, and I merely reported it. There's no need for covering your actions with false claims that I was "crazy trolling." I love how you and people you like make the messenger the target, but that doesn't mean you have to block me on Twitter. And I'll admit you later mollified your previous statement, but I was fair/honest enough to include that in my original post. Trolls do not act like that. I was not trolling.



      Lastly, as to my supposedly planting magazines according to "a number of New Jersey librarians (where you live) … to get the libraries in trouble to drum up some press," that is not true. Besides, with SafeLibraries having been unsuccessful at stopping top ALA leadership from enabling the Oak Lawn, IL, library to continue buying Playboy and making it available to children despite the government asking the library to stop, and with about 4% of libraries carrying Playboy, I am sure that magazine is not inappropriate enough to make a dent. But your comment illustrates that desperate people will make up stories to attempt to mislead others about me. And you just repeated that calumny, couching it as a question, then claiming it is another reason to block me, as if it were true -- and you are in the ALA's ruling council. The ALA Council is calling its top critic someone who falsely plants Playboy in libraries to drum up media attention, and you don't even provide and such stories. Truly, what you have done is brought further disgrace on yourself and the ALA Council on which you serve. You provide another example of how the ALA attacks people to avoid issues.

      What is true is that the NJLA leader Pat Tumulty intentionally refused to go on News 12 NJ with me to address her claim that NJ libraries must allow pornography. News 12 NJ felt this was an important issue and refused to allow her to deep six the story by not appearing to debate me. So they went ahead with an interview only with me on a show that usually features a debate, but they read me a letter where Tumulty addressed me saying I never brought the issue to her attention and my blog only has one case involving NJ. See what she did? I just said how you did this above. She attacked the messenger. I am not the issue. The issue was that she needed to be at News 12 NJ to explain to the NJ public why NJ public libraries must allow pornography, as she claimed and still does to this day. Instead she refused to show and she attacked me by letter. Classic response of people having something to hide. Like your attacking me, calling me a "crazy troll," you know, stuff like that. Watch this yourself, Patrick, so you can see how personal attacks roll right off my shoulders and I keep the focus on the issues, namely that people like you are intentionally misleading local communities to force your way on them: "Porn in Public Libraries," by Walter Kane, Kane In Your Corner, News 12 New Jersey, 5-6 November 2011.

      I would like to hear what you have to say and consider it. Given you are who you are, Pat, especially because you are on the ruling council of the ALA, I would expect you to have an open mind as well. So please consider unblocking me from your Twitter feed. Sometimes you say things that I consider important enough or interesting enough to retweet to my followers. Certainly there is no harm in that, right? Frankly, I see no reason to block me other than unprofessionalism. Little is gained by blocking. I blocked someone once who was harassing me, but he was harassing so many others that Twitter eventually stopped him. And I also block the people sending the true spam.

      So please unblock me on Twitter.

  4. I probably won’t unblock you. You started our relationship with attacking me on your blog before I had any idea you existed and then when I called you out on it you claimed that you are just some poor powerless guy trying to make a difference in a face of the horrific obstacles set up by the big bad ALA. That just doesn’t fly. You know what you did, this is the relationship you wanted with me and worked very hard to cultivate. You want to attack me, that’s why you want access to me.

    You have my phone number, my email, etc… If you actually wanted me to change anything and didn’t just want blog stats, you would just call me or email me instead of writing a blog post. So, you have proved me correct. You are only looking for blog stats and recognition.

    And therefore the real definition of trolling fits you pretty well actually - You mad bro?

    You claim that I’m keeping you from your free speech, but you clearly have found that you can belittle and attack me publicly on your blog, FB, and twitter so that’s not true.

    The ALA costs $130 at the high end. Which is quite a bit of money for a lot of people. But you seem to want people to believe that you are entirely passionate about what you believe in and I just don’t believe that if you believe in your cause to such an extent that you’d be unwilling to pay $130. To be honest, you could pull together that much money asking for it on the street corner in about the same amount of time as it takes you to write your blog attacking me me. Also, if you are doing a good job with your cause you should be able to get people to donate $130 pretty easily. So that’s still no excuse. Its just laziness, ignorance, or lack of actually caring.

    As a member of ALA, with me as a council member who would be on your side and support you because honestly I agree with a lot of what you say (as I’ve said over and over again) you can write ALA resolutions that I can bring before council that will give you the power to make the changes in ALA that you want. But I don’t think you’ll do that because I don’t think you care enough about your cause to make the sacrifice.

  5. If you thought emailing me about blogging about me connected to economic terrorism is a “courtesy” then your claim laughable at best. If you wanted to extend a courtesy you would have emailed me or called me (because you have my phone number) BEFORE you posted it so you had your facts straight. Thus you are simply ignorant about what a courtesy is or just flat out lying.

    You seem to want attack me because I’m sacrificing to be a member of ALA, I worked hard to get on council, and I’m actually trying to change the organization. You’ve repeatedly used the fact that I’m on council to beat your drums. I’m sorry for actually trying to change the organization by working hard in it.

    I find it interesting that you’re attacking someone who is working to do a lot of what you are trying to do and can and would support your cause. Instead you stooped to starting our relationship with very public attacks on someone who would have otherwise been an ally to your cause. But I guess I’m the bad guy because I’m working to actually accomplish what I believe in and simply defending myself from some guy who is essentially willing to do nothing unless it glorifies himself.

    No, I won’t unblock you because I think you just want more recognition on twitter by attacking me there as well.

    Honestly, I’m more disappointed in myself for responding to you at all so publicly. It won’t happen again unless you join ALA and honestly make an effort.

    1. Pat, I have to wonder if you are proud about your public statements. You seem to be sore at me for republishing what you said. I have to wonder if my efforts to expose what others (like Children's Internet Protection Act author Ernest Istook) are saying about the harm the ALA is doing to children have affected your civility. I have to wonder why you place blame on me when it is you who is publicly supporting things like "occupy" "libraries" that everyone else is mocking, for example in the Library Journal. If the LJ is talking about it, I'm pretty sure I can too without being labelled a troll.

      Say Pat, why no response from you on your false claim that I'm planting magazines in libraries to get media attention? Why no response on your financial support for those seeking to overthrow the government of the USA?

      "No, I won’t unblock you because I think you just want more recognition on twitter by attacking me there as well." Now that's silly, Pat. I can "attack" you on Twitter even without your blocking me. You're really not accomplishing anything at all. Besides, republishing your statements is not an "attack." Remember when it was viewed that stating the President's middle name was an attack? Besides, my Twitter followers value my tweets for the informational content they contain, not any attacks. I'm the only one in the world tracking library crimes. Not even the ALA does that despite my publicly asking it to do so. ALA policies often create conditions that allow or even cause crimes to occur, such as with the dozen librarians who sued the Minneapolis Public Library for on the job sexual harassment due to unfiltered computers, so it's no wonder ALA does not track crimes. But its absence in this area creates the vacuum that makes me the library crime tracking leader I am. With all my followers, clearly there is an interest in library crime occurrences. And where I can show those crimes are related to ALA policies, I'm not "attacking" the ALA, I'm just connecting the dots, the dots that the ALA created, not me.

      Pat, I have donate buttons on my site but I can count contributors in all these years on one hand, while I pay good money for things needed to prevent harassment from people who speak like you. I really cannot afford the ALA. Honestly, with American Libraries being online, I see no reason ALA cannot have a free membership. ALA wants free pornography for everyone, and free ebooks, according to recent statements, but there's no free membership in ALA? Pat, take that up in Council.

      Anyway, it appears you are going to continue to block me on Twitter. You mock me for not having the money to maintain ALA membership and that supposedly shows my lack of commitment. Meantime you claim to be for free speech while maintaining your block on me on Twitter. Do you think this double standard is hard to see? And you're an ALA Councilor.

      I'll ask again for you to unblock me, this time adding the following: 10 Reasons Not To Block Someone On Twitter.


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