Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Donate NOW to Protect Children in Public Libraries; Pima County, AZ, Swing Vote Up for Grabs

Dear SafeLibraries Readers,

I am asking you to donate NOW to a political candidate in Pima County, AZ, who, if elected, will become the swing vote that will require the public library to implement CIPA-compliant Internet filters. This one race will produce a majority on the issue of stopping the viewing of X-rated videos at the libraries.

As it stands now, the libraries have filters, but allow adults to decide for themselves whether or not to use them. That is not CIPA compliant, although the libraries claim it is. (I'm considering filing a complaint for CIPA compliance failures.) As a result, public libraries have "become places where men watch x-rated videos with our kids nearby." And the incumbent supports this.

You know my efforts are to educate people about what can be done in public libraries to protect children from harm caused by the policies of a national library association. Here is a case where we can actually get involved in helping someone to get elected to a position where he can do just that—the incumbent has not and will not. I'm asking you to please give a little right NOW as well. You can use credit cards, and the payment web site is safe and secure. I myself have donated $25. Please give more if you can.

I thank you very much, and I hope to bring you good news about this Pima County, AZ, election. Please consider sending this message to your friends.

A check may be sent to:

Brenner for Supervisor
1611 W Prince Rd
Tucson AZ 85705

Better yet, donate with a credit card using PayPal's highly secure interface:

Corporate checks are not allowed by law, and the limit to donate is $390.

Watch this ad, then donate NOW:


Political TV Ad Exposes Library Policy Supported by Opponent Who Allows X-Rated Video Viewing Near Children

This political TV advertisement exposes public library policy supported by an opponent who allows "x-rated video" viewing near children. For details, see "Supervisors' Library Porn Solution a Joke," by Barney Brenner, Tucson Citizen, 18 August 2006.


In these tough times I love that children are using our libraries more. But they've become places where men watch x-rated videos with our kids nearby. Sharon Bronson voted to let this continue. I want it to stop. What do you want?

On Screen Text:
  • Barney Brenner Supervisor District 3
  • Paid for by Brenner for Supervisor Committee. Dennis Melin, Treasurer.

Brenner For Supervisor
November 2008
Moret & Associates Adv.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Titillating Libraries - Women Use Library Webcams to Photograph Their Own Breasts

Folks, I'll let you read this one yourselves: "Porn! Get it @ Your Library!," by LibraryGoddess, 24 October 2008:

Porn! Get it @ Your Library!

It was a quiet Friday. The library was packed with facebookers, myspacers, and a couple of people reading the newspapers. The lab was packed with people using our computer to keep in touch with their loved ones. A little too in touch--I had to kick these chicks out for taking pictures of their tits using the library's web cams. Yep, it shocked the shit out of me, too. There I am, just minding my own business when, out of the corner of my eye I see these two women sharing a computer to take advantage of our cool webcams to enhance their online ads with some tit shots. Granted, to look at them, these are women who are obviously used to being topless in a room full of people. Also, to look at them, these are women who are well used to not getting dollars stuffed anywhere for the privilege either.

Since I couldn't recall anything like this being discussed in any of my library school management classes, I probably handled the situation incorrectly. I picked my jaw up off the floor and said (quite loudly) "what the hell is wrong with you?!" The women looked over huffily (yes, people can look huffy--even huffily) and pulled their shirts back up as if offended I caught their personal, naked moments IN THE MIDDLE OF THE COMPUTER LAB! I followed this with, "do you know you're exposing yourself in a library?!", "did you manage to get a nice picture of the READ poster hanging behind you?", "get the hell out right now!"

Of course, my inability to handle this calmly and properly totally backfired on me. About a half hour later we discovered that if anyone flushed a toilet anywhere in the building, it all backed up into every sink and toilet in the building. So we had to close and call the plumber--and what did they find when they snaked the drains? Some skank's Victoria's Secret thong stuffed into the toilet--payback for their inability to get a boob shot for their websites. The sign went up today: "No shoes; No shirts; No webcam action, chickas."

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Election Robocall Targets Library Porn; Politicians Should Be Aware Library Filtering Issues May Become Political Election Issues

A political robocall is urging voters not to vote for a candidate who supposedly will not use Internets filters appropriately to protect children in public libraries. See "Ad Watch: Robocall Warns About Porn in Pima County Libraries," by Erica Meltzer, The Arizona Daily Star, 24 October 2008 (and "Brenner Robocall Attacks Bronson Over Library Porn; She Joined Vote to Follow Panel's Recommendation," by Erica Meltzer, The Arizona Daily Star, 25 October 2008, and associated comments). The issue is such a political football that it has become, again, an election issue, this time in Pima County, AZ.

Regarding the robocall, the statements are correct. For instance, privacy screens do not function as expected; selecting them over Internet filters is for CYA purposes only. Privacy screens do nothing, literally nothing, to protect children. So saying someone "voted to let it continue instead of siding with us and our kids" is accurate where someone recommended privacy screens.

The Arizona Daily Star's "fact checking" is mistaken a number of times. For example, the US Supreme Court did not say "adults can get access to any material that is not illegal" in public libraries. Libraries may legally exclude legal pornography, and likely most may do so under the very laws that created the libraries or by applying existing book collection policies and practices. The Court said filters may be used for this very purpose.

Also misleading is the implication that "reading a statement that displaying harmful material in the presence of minors is a crime" is an effective deterrent to criminal activity. Such "acceptable use policies" never deter criminals. It is just more CYA. In reality, filters may only be disabled under the applicable law "to enable access for bona fide research or other lawful purpose." That does not include the provision of legal pornography, and if that is what one politician supports, pointing that out to the voters or saying someone is "out of touch with our families" is legitimate.

I would say this library policy is out of touch with what people might expect: "When adults ... attempt to access a questionable site (such as sites that are sexually or violently explicit) they will first see a screen advising them of state and federal cautions regarding viewing of questionable websites in public use areas. Adults then can choose to proceed or cancel their website choice." Actually, I would say that is a violation of the applicable law since the law requires librarians to disable filters, not patrons. If one politician allows this violation to continue and another will takes steps to stop this violation, citizens may wish to vote for the one who will follow the law, not flout it. Indeed, the county may lose federal funding even retroactively if this is not remedied.

Regarding the claimed First Amendment issues, they have already been asked and answered in the US Supreme Court. Reraising the same issues in a local jurisdiction is done only to convince people not to use filters. Someone who "voted, again with the majority, to adopt the recommendation," is not impressive where the recommendation is a compromise with those who refuse to follow the law and claim First Amendment rights already addressed by the US Supreme Court. Does anyone compromise with a child molester and only allow him to molest one child instead of ten? Does it make a difference if the "majority" accepts such a compromise?

The statements in the robocall about library issues are correct. The statements in the "ad watch" report about library issues are not entirely correct. Generally, politicians should be aware library filtering issues may become political election issues.

Ad Watch: Robocall Warns About Porn in Pima County Libraries
Pima County District 3 Board of Supervisors
By Erica Meltzer
Arizona Daily Star
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 10.24.2008

The Star’s ongoing evaluation of the record vs. the rhetoric in campaign ads

The ad: an automated message for supervisor candidate Barney Brenner

The race: Pima County District 3 Board of Supervisors, where Brenner is trying to unseat three-term incumbent Sharon Bronson

The medium: robocall

The message: The call features Republican Supervisor Ray Carroll reading a message about Bronson.

“This is county Supervisor Ray Carroll with a call about protecting our kids. Our libraries have become places where adult men watch X-rated video pornography with our kids nearby. We need to put an end to this,” Carroll says.

“Supervisor Sharon Bronson voted to let it continue instead of siding with us and our kids. Bronson is out of touch with our families. Please vote for Barney Brenner, a man who will work to protect our kids.”

The intent: Make it appear that Bronson doesn’t want to protect children from pornography.

Fact check:

Adults using public library computers to access on-line pornography became an issue in spring 2006 when a television news crew used hidden cameras to tape men viewing pornography in public libraries.

At the time, library policy was that computers in children’s sections were filtered, but adults could choose whether to filter their Internet use.

Carroll pushed strongly for all Internet use to be filtered. The other supervisors said they were concerned about balancing First Amendment rights with protecting children.

The Child Internet Protection Act says libraries that accept discounted rates for their Internet access — as the Pima County Public Library does — must filter Internet access to block obscenity and child pornography.

The Supreme Court upheld the law, provided adults can get access to any material that is not illegal.

In July 2006, Bronson joined the two other Democratic supervisors in voting to install privacy screens around library computers so that passers-by would be less likely to see what another user had up on his screen and refer the issue to a committee.

That committee recommended all computer sessions start off with filtered Internet access. A user can choose to disable the filter after reading a statement that displaying harmful material in the presence of minors is a crime in Arizona.

In February 2007, Bronson voted, again with the majority, to adopt the recommendation.
Brenner agrees with Carroll’s position, that all Internet use in public libraries should be filtered.

Sources: Arizona Daily Star, minutes of Board of Supervisor meetings
Reprinted for educational purposes under Section 107 of the US Copyright Act


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Safe Libraries and McGruff in Albuquerque, NM - A Model For the Nation

The Albuquerque Police Department has a "Safe Libraries" initiative that may include McGruff the Crime Dog. It is "aimed at keeping pedophiles from stalking children at the city's public libraries," according to this media report: "City Touts Safe Libraries," by KRQE News 13, 23 July 2008.

But the "Safe Libraries" initiative has a broader purpose, according to the program's creator with whom I spoke. The news report emphasizes the pedophile problem, but in reality the initiative is about all aspects of library patron and staff safety. Under the initiative, citizens are trained to observe and report potentially criminal behavior by registered sex offenders, transients, and others in public libraries—extra eyes and ears, so to speak.

The Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Library System libraries are run by the government, so pornographic or obscene material is prohibited, and the policy is enforced by CIPA-complaint Internet filters. Good thing because the libraries are visited by a relatively large number of transients due to the city's location along historic Route 66. Between the transients and the registered sex offenders, criminal activity occurs frequently enough that citizen volunteers are needed to observe and report possible criminality. Police then act accordingly. One of the many benefits is the freeing of library staff from having to confront such individuals.

This "Safe Libraries" initiative should become a model for communities nationwide. It is so new that it does not yet have a web site. As soon as I become aware of one, I will bring it to your attention, or maybe someone will post it in the comments section below.

The New Mexico Attorney General is very active in protecting children from Internet crimes, having its own "Internet Crimes Against Children" section. For example, see: "Federal Legislation on Internet Safety Signed Into Law...AG Says New Mexico Children to Benefit," by Gary K. King, NM Attorney General, 17 October 2008. The "Safe Libraries" program is welcome in such an environment. Will it be welcome in your state?

(Note: The "Safe Libraries" initiative is not related
to SafeLibraries.org, except we have similar goals.
See the SafeLibraries YouTube Channel for
the above video and more library crime videos.)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Australia Going to Mandatory Filtering

"Australia Going to Mandatory Filtering," by David Burt, FilteringFacts.org, 14 October 2008, reports the following:

Australia’s long, winding path of national filtering has finally taken the country to a two-tier structure of mandatory filtering by ISPs, ComputerWorld reports:

Australians will be unable to opt-out of the government’s pending Internet content filtering scheme, and will instead be placed on a watered-down blacklist, experts say. Under the government’s $125.8 million Plan for Cyber-Safety, users can switch between two blacklists which block content inappropriate for children, and a separate list which blocks illegal material. Internode network engineer Mark Newton said many users falsely believe the opt-out proviso will remove content filtering. ”Users can opt-out of the ‘additional material’ blacklist (referred to in a department press release, which is a list of things unsuitable for children, but there is no opt-out for ‘illegal content’”, Newton said. ”Illegal is illegal and if there is infrastructure in place to block it, then it will be required to be blocked - end of story.”

As I’ve pointed out earlier, “mandatory opt out filtering” is something that will likely increase in democratic regimes, as Japan has recently considered it as well. And the practices of blocking all child porn sites with no opt-out is already widespread in Europe, and most likely will eventually find its way to the United States. And that will lead to a very interesting battle at the US Supreme Court.

–David Burt

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Dear Felice Picano, "The Joy of Gay Sex" Co-Author

Dear Felice Picano, co-author of "The Joy of Gay Sex":

Hi. I'm Dan Kleinman from SafeLibraries.org. Would you mind if I asked you some questions?

First, let me tell you that I am aware of various library controversies regarding one of your books, namely, "The Joy of Gay Sex." I have read the email you wrote to Paul Cohen of Helena, MT, dated 23 Sept 2008. I have written on this matter myself, including republishing your email in the comments (since it was already published), and I included my own back and forth with Paul Cohen, with his permission. You can see that all here: "Lewis and Clark's Gay Adventure; Helena, MT, and the Homosexuality Red Herring," by Dan Kleinman, SafeLibraries.org, 21 Sept. 2008.

My questions for you are these, and all of these are seeking your opinion:
  1. What is your recommended minimum age for a reader of "The Joy of Gay Sex"?
  2. Would it be appropriate for a public library to restrict access to your book to those who fall below that minimum age?
  3. How best do you think access should be restricted?
  4. To your knowledge, how have various libraries restricted access to your book and for what reasons?
  5. Do you believe a community may decide for itself at what age a book is inappropriate for children in that community's public library?
  6. If not, who should make that decision and why?
  7. Do you believe a community may decide for itself the method of restricting access to material for those under a certain age?
  8. If not, who should make that decision and why?
  9. I personally feel the issue of homosexuality is irrelevant to the matter of what material may be inappropriate for children vis-a-vis public libraries. Do you feel similarly? Why or why not?
  10. The US Supreme Court said, "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," while the defendant and losing party in that case, United States v. American Library Association, said despite that, policy will remain unchanged, children must be about to access any and all material without any age restriction whatsoever. Do you believe "protecting young library users from material inappropriate for minors is legitimate, and even compelling"?
  11. If not, why not?
  12. Is there anything else you would like to add?

May I publish your responses? Perhaps co-author Dr. Silverstein would care to answer these questions as well?

I thank you very much for your time and attention.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

How Selection is Used to Censor: The ALA, Conservative Christians, and the Annoyed Librarian's Tour de Force

The Annoyed Librarian has written a tour de force on how the American Library Association [ALA] uses "selection" as the means to censor out political thought with which its leaders at the "Office for Intellectual Freedom" disagree. She exposes the ALA's "book banning" farce further in a really intelligent, interesting, and engaging fashion.

Might there be a twinge of religious intolerance from the ALA, but only in respect to "conservative Christians"? Might the ALA be providing political support for homosexualists? Might either violate the ALA's 501(c)(3) federal tax exemption? I am certain what the Annoyed Librarian has to say will be an eye opener for you.

Read this, word for word:

"Some 'Censorship' is Good," Annoyed Librarian, Library Journal, 8 October 2008:

Some "Censorship" is Good
October 8, 2008

Hmmm, there sure seem to be a lot of twopointopians and others terribly upset LJ is hosting the AL. I'm so "anonymous." Scary! It seems I'm also "negative," and we're all supposed to be "positive" and "constructive." Cry me a river, Pollyanna. Yay, team! Let's go, go, go! Two, four, six, eight, who do we appreciate! Libraries! L-I-B-R-A-R-I-E-S! Yay! What happened? Did they start passing out happy pills sometime after I finished library school? As you enter the brave new world of twopointopia, do they hand you the soma at the door? I'll stick with my martinis, which, thanks to the enormous amount of money LJ is paying me now, can be made with Bombay Sapphire instead of the old Bombay Dry. They've even been kind enough to set up a minibar in my corner office on the thirtieth floor so I can look out on the park while I sip them. They also provided a cute bartender named Chip (Hi, Chip!) to mix them up for me. La dolce vita!

Now down to business. Somehow I missed this story in the Washington Post a few days ago, but that's what I have readers for, to send me stuff like this. "Banned Books, Chapter 2" is quite a fun read.

"During a week that librarians nationwide are highlighting banned books, conservative Christian students and parents showcased their own collection outside a Fairfax County high school yesterday -- a collection they say was banned by the librarians themselves.... Titles include Marriage on Trial: The Case Against Same-Sex Marriage and Parenting and Someone I Love Is Gay, which argues that homosexuality is not 'a hopeless condition.'" We sure wouldn't want those kinds of books in a high school library! We want people to think homosexuality is a hopeless condition!

But banned by the librarians themselves? They obviously don't understand what a "banned" book is. Just for the "conservative Christian students and parents," I'll explain this whole process. First, the library has to buy the book. Then, some "conservative Christian" student or parent has to complain about the book. Thus, the book is "challenged." Though the books are never removed from the library, after 24 hours the "challenge" is automatically upgraded to "banned," because it sounds more provocative. That explains those announcements you're always hearing over the library loudspeakers: "In accordance with ALA regulations, the status of Frisky Gay Squirrels has now been upgraded to 'banned.' Any copies of Frisky Gay Squirrels left unattended will be randomly checked out to anyone who happens to be in the library." Librarians love this, because then they get to fight "censorship."

But what if the library never acquires the book in the first place? Then ipso facto it can't be "banned." That's the first thing you need to get through your conservative Christian heads. The question, then, is why wasn't the book acquired, or added to the collection if it was a gift? The conservative Christians think it was for political reasons, to deliberately make sure their side in a debate wasn't being represented in the library collection. Those conservative Christians can be sooo cynical sometimes. It had nothing to do with politics. If the selection decision had anything to do with politics, why then the ALA would say these librarians were "censors." The ALA hasn't called these librarians censors. Thus the books weren't rejected for political reasons. QED. Besides, we can't have the ALA coming out and accusing librarians for censorship just for keeping those mean old conservative books off the shelves. That's not censorship. That's just good sense!

Since it's obvious that politics had nothing to do with the decision not to add the books to the collection, what could have been the reason?

"Most of the books were turned down after school librarians said they did not meet school system standards." Ooh, that's a good one! It has such an official tone to it. "School system standards" sounds so impressive. I bet that school system has high standards indeed!

But that's not all. "Fairfax County's policy on library book selection says 'the collection should support the diverse interests, needs and viewpoints of the school community.'" Hmm? That sure sounds like they should add at least some of the books. I'd be willing to bet there's at lease one homophobe in that high school, and don't we want homophobes to read books, too? I guess not, because apparently there are factors more important than supporting "diverse" interests, like not supporting the interests you don't like.

"Library officials said donated and purchased books alike are evaluated by the same standards, including two positive reviews from professionally recognized journals." This is another great one. I seriously doubt that every book purchased or donated really does need "two positive reviews from professionally recognized journals" to be added to the collection. But just for argument's sake let's take this statement as truth. Notice the wording of it. It needs two reviews in professionally recognized journals. The sweet logic of this is very impressive. "Hey," say the conservative Christians, "we found fifteen journals that reviewed Marriage on Trial!" "I'm sorry," say the librarians, "we don't professionally recognize those journals." It could be the case - and I'm only making the suggestion - that these librarians only "professionally recognize" the sorts of journals that review the sorts of books they already agree with. It's possible, right? Hardly likely, knowing how earnest librarians really are about representing "diverse" viewpoints, including the viewpoints of those mean old conservative Christians, but still possible.

"None of the donated titles met that standard, said Susan Thornily, coordinator of library information services for Fairfax schools." I know this comes as a huge surprise to all of you. "Some librarians also said that the nonfiction books were heavy on scripture but light on research, or that the books would make gay students 'feel inferior,' she said." That was the line that stunned me. Those school librarians were moving along so well, putting up cleverly circular arguments that sounded almost librarian-like. And maybe I can see rejecting a book as "light on research," because I'm sure every anti-conservative nonfiction book in that library is heavily researched and that none of them just state the politically correct opinions of the authors without much argument. That high school must have a rigorous research collection, indeed. But how are we supposed to take seriously the caveat that the books would make gay students "feel inferior"? How is that not a politicized reason not to accept the book? First of all, is it likely these gay students will read the books? Is it just having them on the shelves? Does that make them "feel inferior"? Or is it just knowing that some people out there disapprove of homosexuality? How could any gay students not already know this?

And how is that any different than African American students feeling inferior by having Huckleberry Finn on the shelves? Or conservative Christians feeling "inferior" because every book on homosexuality in their library says exactly the same thing, that every opinion they have is wrong and they are bad people for being so intolerant? Whatever happened to that old librarian standby that just because a book offends a portion of the population doesn't mean it shouldn't be in the collection? They sure like to trot that warhorse out when "conservative Christians" complain about Heather Has Two Very Excited Daddies.

"Thornily said school librarians have rejected other books that 'target minority groups' and would offend African Americans or other nonwhite students." W, as the kids say these days, TF? Is a book arguing homosexuality is wrong "targeting a minority group"? Targeting? Are these books advocating violence against homosexuals? That seems unlikely. Why isn't the Office of Intellectual "Freedom" barking loudly in the direction of Fairfax County and explaining to these librarians that just because some group is "offended" by a book, this is no reason not to have it. In fact, this is a reason to have it, in order to show how much we value "intellectual freedom" and "diversity." Conservative Christians are a minority group, and no one cares about offending them. "In this case, librarians were concerned about the level of scholarship in the books, many of which come from small church publishers." Uh huh. I'm sure that's all it was.

If the politics were reversed, no matter the level of "scholarship," you know the ALA would be swooping down on these poor librarians screaming "Censor!" at them. This example just goes to show the tortured logic some librarians can apply when they don't like the viewpoint of the book. What the conservative Christians need to understand is that librarians can always find a legitimate sounding reason not to add a book to the collection. Personally, that doesn't bother me at all. I don't see why a librarian can't just say, "this looks like a really stupid book and I find it offensive. Out to the recycling bin with it!" What's the big deal really? So what if homophobes don't have any books affirming their views? The library isn't there to support diverse views. It's there to put forward the views librarians approve of. That's why people become librarians in the first place, because they love that power. After all, these books are still available and Focus on the Family would probably be happy to send you a copy. Only the ALA and their minions call it "censorship."

In fact, what's refreshing here is that there was a slip in the bureaucratic explanation. They had that beautiful, circular "professionally recognized journal" argument. Then they had to come out and say they reject books they think might offend some people, especially the librarians. We knew it all along. I'm just glad someone finally admitted it. Come to think of it, since they haven't turned on these librarians, maybe the ALA OIF has finally admitted it as well. A brave new world indeed.

Posted by Annoyed Librarian on October 8, 2008 | Comments

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

"Censors" are So Scary!

"Censors" are So Scary!:
So if some rube gets a book removed from some library, that's the "power of the state" suppressing ideas? What a tremendous leap in logic. Since most book challenges seem to be about books for children, the argument becomes even more bizarre. So, EVERY book is suitable for children? Oh, even on the off chance some librarian actually removed a book, how does that suppress ideas for any of us? If a book is gone, does that really mean "no one else has the chance to read" it? How dumb do you have to be to believe this stuff?

Click to see more clarity like that. It really exemplifies everything SafeLibraries has been saying. The Annoyed Librarian sees right through the ALA's "shameless propaganda."

I highly recommend everyone read the Annoyed Librarian at her new blog at the Library Journal. Here's her former blog.

Brava, AL.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Senate Calls for FCC to Consider Content-Blocking Technologies: The Child Safe Viewing Act

October 2, 2008 4:46 PM PDT
Senate calls for FCC to consider
content-blocking technologies

Posted by Stephanie Condon

The Senate on Wednesday unanimously voted in favor of providing parents with more control over the content their children receive through various technologies.

The Child Safe Viewing Act, introduced last year by Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., requires the Federal Communications Commission to issue a notice of inquiry to examine what advanced content-blocking technologies are available for various communication devices and platforms. It also calls for the FCC to consider how to develop and deploy such technologies without affecting content providers' pricing or packaging.

The bill defines "advanced blocking technologies" as technology that enables parents to protect their children from "indecent or objectionable video or audio programming, as determined by the parent, that is transmitted through the use of wire, wireless, or radio communication."

The legislation still must go through the House of Representatives before being sent to the president.

While the bill does not empower the FCC to do anything other than to produce a report on its findings for Congress, it is one of a handful of steps Congress has taken in recent weeks to address threats new technologies can expose children to.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Know Your Library

"Know Your Library" is a new web site on the scene. It involves efforts by citizens to move inappropriate materials from the teen to the adult section of a public library in St. Louis, MO, exactly as the St. Louis County Library has already done on its own. It also wants content labels for books. It does not support censorship.

Please visit "Know Your Library" to see what's there. This is the community where the American Library Association [ALA] advised the library director to manipulate the media.

Note the ALA says: "there are times when a book might be moved, for example a young adult novel makes it into a fourth or fifth grade classroom and that's more appropriate for the high school library, and a committee can just say this wasn't an appropriate book to buy for this age group but it works for high schoolers and to move it to that high school library."

Source: "Deborah Caldwell-Stone Discusses Banned Books," by Deborah Caldwell-Stone, American Library Association, 11 July 2008. (She says this at the very end of the linked MP3 file.)

So the library moves books and the ALA says moving books is okay. It is not censorship. Then what's the problem with citizens requesting the thing? Why do the media get it so wrong?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Seeking Author Trenton Lee Stewart; A Child Requests his Response to her Excellent Letter

Dear Trenton Lee Stewart,

A child has contacted me asking for my assistance in reaching you, the author of The Mysterious Benedict Society.  She would like you to read her excellent and thoughtful letter and respond to her.  You may do so here, or I will relay your message if you send me one.  I tried to find your contact information online but was not successful.  Hence this method of attempting contact.  Please understand.  Thank you very much.

If anyone knows Trenton Lee Stewart, will you please use the email link at the bottom of this blog post to send this to him? Thank you.


Here is the child's letter:

Dear Trenton Lee Stewart,

I read both of the Mysterious Benedict Society books. I thought they were absolutely genius. Both, are my new favorite books.
I love how much detail you put into them. I felt like I was in the book myself. You made the perfect adventures and problems. The characters seemed alive.
I love the personality you gave Reynie. He's sweet, smart, sensitive, and loving. If only he was real. I'd love to meet him. I wonder if he would be able to help me with my math homework. (Or maybe that's Sticky's job.)
At the end of the second book, I loved Sticky's positive attitude. Without Sticky to cheer the group on, they never would of made it to the boat carrying Mr. Benedict and Milligan.
Constance can be stubborn, but she loved Mr. Benedict very much. She had a lot of feelings for him. All she wanted to do was save her family.
Kate is very headstrong and brave. She learned a lot from the circus. She is probably very flexible. She almost never is upset or angry. In real life, if someone carried a bucket everywhere, I don't know what I'd think, but I guess it is pretty smart.
Mr. Curtain is so evil. Why would he ever do things that he planed. What the point? Everyone would rely on him and that would be a lot of work.
I feel bad for S.Q. I think he just didn't know really what to do. He was being a follower instead of a leader. If someone showed him the good path I'd think he would take it.
The Ten Men, had so many different weapons. It must of taken long to come up with them. They were all school supplies.
A few things shocked me at the end of your books. In the first book, you revealed that Constance was three. I had no idea that a stubborn girl like her was capable of learning morse code and practically saving the world. She's probably the smartest girl on the planet.
In the second book you made Milligan jump off a 50 feet cliff. It was amazing. I'm very surprised he lived. I feel bad for Kate. She lived so many years without her father. Finally when he found her again, he jumped off a cliff and completely paralized himself.
The Benedict Society has had many adventures, but I think they should have one more.

Your biggest fan,

P.S. Can you E-mail me back?




PO BOX 251358