Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Annoyed Librarian Rips ALA for Banned Books Week "Nonsense" and for an "Incoherent and Self-Serving" Definition of Censorship

The Library Journal's blogger named the "Annoyed Librarian" has ripped the American Library Association [ALA] for the "nonsense" going on this week called "Banned Books Week." (Remember, Thomas Sowell calls it "National Hogwash Week.")

And censorship? The ALA has an "incoherent and self-serving" definition of the word, says the Annoyed Librarian. "The ALA's definition of censorship has no relationship whatsoever to what everyone else in the entire world understands by the word. It's incoherent and self-serving."

Read this right now! I've written about the Annoyed Librarian before, and this story is just more excellence from her. Enjoy:

"Celebrate 'Banned' Books Week!," by Annoyed Librarian, Library Journal, 30 September 2009.

As Dan Gerstein has said, "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."

Stifle free speech? The ALA does that. Let someone merely complain about a book, and that person is shouted down as a "censor." People are allowed to object. Libraries have policies in place to handle such objections. All final decisions come from the library. The library is presumably acting appropriately. It is simply wrong to attack people for filing objections in the manner libraries provide for filing those objections.

Okay, so some get the attention of the press. Hey, it's a free country. Free speech advocates are not suggesting people should self-censor, are they? It appears to me that the ALA argues people should be shut up or should decide to shut themselves up on their own. As former 40-year ALA leader Judith Krug said, "'What we're dealing with is a minority of people who are very vocal....' 'These people are small in number but they start screeching, and people start getting concerned.'"

There's the harm. The ALA attacking parents for "screeching" and "censoring" in an apparent effort to embarrass them into self-censoring themselves. It's a propaganda technique called jamming. Don't let the jamming stop you. Don't let Banned Books Week fool you.

We often hear, "Is it within the rights of one parent to demand that the other not be allowed to expose their children to certain ideas or issues?" No, but it's a straw man argument; that's not what is happening. Libraries make the final decisions. I have never heard of "screeching parents" making decisions in libraries. Have you?


Monday, September 28, 2009

ALA Tells Patrons to "STFU" and is "Intellectually Irresponsible" Regarding Banned Books Week Because No Books are Banned in the USA

According to [elided], the American Library Association [ALA] tells patrons to "STFU." He describes how the ALA's "Banned Books Week" shows the ALA is "intellectually irresponsible" for failure to acknowledge that no books are banned in the USA.

See "[Title Elided]," by [Elided], [Elided], 27 September 2009, reprinted here:

September 27, 2009
[Title Elided]
— [elided] @ 7:52 pm

I dislike Banned Books Week.

I dislike Banned Books Week because of its imprecise language. When I think of censorship, I think of 1984-style memory holes and governmental restriction of information. Inherent in this view is the use of power to restrict access. To my view, a parent complaining about a book in a school library is not censorship, for it lacks the power dynamic. A parent has no state-granted power to restrict; a parent can only complain, and the real state authorities–typically public libraries or school libraries–can choose to comply with the challenge or deny it. According to the ALA, most challenges are denied.(1) Is this really censorship in any meaningful sense of the word? If we lose our heads and cry censorship over every school library challenge in East Nowhere, Nebraska, we’ll never be taken seriously when we complain about the real thing.

I dislike Banned Books Week because it does not deal with books that are actually banned. In America, I’m aware of no books that are actually banned; even books that are successfully challenged in one library can be requested from other libraries; can be bought from bookstores common in cities everywhere; can be ordered from a hundred websites at frequently trivial cost. As far as I can tell, neither the Banned Books Week nor the ALA websites acknowledge this. It’s hard not to see an element of intellectual irresponsibility in their failure to recognize this.

I dislike Banned Books Week because of the atmosphere of self-congratulation it promotes among librarians in general and the ALA in particular. We in America are blessed with intellectual freedoms that are rarely met and even more rarely surpassed by any nation-state in history; even other states in the West are inferior in some respects.(2) I don’t mean to say intellectual freedoms are in no danger here in America; heavens no. But consider the alternative: if supporting intellectual freedom were such a brave and dangerous position–if fighting censorship were a guaranteed ticked to Room 101 and the Memory Hole–would a large professional organization be able to hold a weeklong celebration of said fight?

There is also a certain paternalism inherent in the efforts of those who are ostensibly fighting against this attitude. Consider the opening paragraph of the Banned Books Week Manifesto:

To you zealots and bigots and false
patriots who live in fear of discourse.
You screamers and banners and burners
who would force books
off shelves in your brand name
of greater good...
—Ellen Hopkins, from the Banned Books Week Manifesto (pdf)

And the ALA’s characterization of “censors,” AKA the citizens who express concerns about books:

Regardless of specific motives, all would-be censors
share one belief-that they can recognize "evil" and that
other people must be protected from it.  Censors do not
necessarily believe their own morals should be protected,
but they do feel compelled to save their fellows.
This quote is from an article titled–I am not making this up– “The Censor: Motives and Tactics.”

Heaven forbid a citizen ever question a librarian, I guess. I’ve lost count of the number of articles I’ve read in library school about how we aren’t here to tell the public what to read, but actual practice flatly contradicts this. Read the ALA’s website and see if you can find any conception that a challenge could be legitimate. There’s a lot on there about listening to patrons and answering objections, but what it really means is telling patrons to STFU and accept our selections. It’s like the library equivalent of Team America:World Police: intellectual freedom is the only way.

As I finish, I’d like to correct one misconception that I’m sure will crop up: I don’t like library challenges, either. I don’t even dislike them. I think most of them are well-intentioned(3), but I agree with most librarians that most should not be upheld. I think it’s reasonable for parents and community members to feel uncomfortable with some of the items we select, and I think that we librarians should acknowledge that not all items are suited to all collections. (Anyone who disagrees is requested to post in the comments, in 500 words or fewer, why the contents of the Kinsey Institute Library or any other medical library should be duplicated at all public libraries.)

In short: let’s all support intellectual freedom, but let’s support it without declaring a week to celebrate how awesome we are for doing it.


(1), “About Banned and Challenged Books.” Available at

(2) I have in mind Germany’s and France’s criminal penalties for holocaust denial and the latter’s criminalization of positive depictions of drug use.

(3) Even the Banned Books Week website seems to tacitly acknowledge this; seven of the top ten most frequently challenged books are challenged for age-appropriateness–hardly “Do it to Julia!” territory.

[Note added 29 Sept 2009: this was originally republished without the knowledge and permission of [elided]; my apologies for this oversight have been accepted, as shown in the comments.]

[Note added 19 February 2013: Authorship of the article has been elided in respect of the author's request.  The title of the author's work has been elided as well.  Links to the author's site and related blog post labels have been removed.  Any comments that reveal authorship are gone.]


Friday, September 25, 2009

Banned Books Week - an ALA Attempt to Shut You Up, to Censor You, to Bully Ordinary Citizens, to Thwart Parents, to Cry Censorship Where There is None

Finding Censorship Where There Is None,
by Mitchell Muncy,
Wall Street Journal,
24 September 2009,

'To you zealots and bigots and false patriots who live in fear of discourse. You screamers and banners and burners. . . ." These are the opening lines of the official Manifesto of Banned Books Week, which starts tomorrow. This annual "national celebration of the freedom to read" is led by the American Library Association (ALA) and co-sponsored by a number of professional associations and advocacy groups. Events and displays at "hundreds" of libraries and bookstores will "draw attention to the problem of censorship" in the U.S.

As the tone of the Manifesto suggests, the sponsors are more interested in confrontation than celebration. The Banned Books Week Readout in Chicago will feature "wildly successful" and "incredibly popular" authors who will "share their experiences as targets of censors." The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression has produced posters, based on a graphic-novel adaptation of "Fahrenheit 451," to help "publicize the hundreds of attacks on books that occur every year in the United States." The ALA has launched an online U.S. "censorship map" to show how pervasive the threat is.

In the common-law tradition, censorship refers specifically to the government's prior restraint on publication. None of the sponsors claim this has happened; the acts they have in mind are perpetrated by private citizens. Yet the cases on the map almost all involve ordinary people lodging complaints with school and library authorities. Before Banned Books Week began in 1982, such behavior was known as petitioning the government for a redress of grievances.

The problem of loose language aside, we can still ask whether books are banned in this country. The obvious answer is no, if banned means something like "made dangerous or difficult for the average person to obtain." ....


.... The ALA grants on its Web site that "most of the books featured during [Banned Books Week] were not banned."


More telling is that 80% of challenges—and all but one removal—took place at schools. The remaining 20% of challenges, brought at public libraries, all concerned the exposure of children to possibly inappropriate material. The Manifesto indirectly acknowledges this: "You say you're afraid for children . . . [but] ignorance is no armor." (Could we agree to censor stale imagery?)

What inflames the ALA, in other words, are attempts by parents to guide their children's education. ....

There's something odd about a national organization with a $54 million budget and 67,000 members reacting so zealously against a few unorganized, law-abiding parents whose efforts, by any sensible standard, are hopelessly ineffective. The ALA's members have immeasurably more power than the "censors" they denounce to decide what books are available in our communities, but this power is so familiar it's invisible. Why do parents' public petitions constitute censorship, while librarians' hidden verdicts do not? A spokesman for the ALA once tackled this question in the Boston Globe: "The selection criteria that librarians use may not always be what everybody wants. I don't see that it's a real problem." Move along, folks, nothing to see here.

The ALA repeatedly emphasizes that public and school libraries are "government bodies." Is Banned Books Week a celebration of free speech, or is it a way for government employees to bully ordinary citizens by stigmatizing those who complain ("bigots," "false patriots," "screamers," "burners")? They clearly hope future challenges simply won't be brought. Does that make Banned Books Week an attempt at prior restraint on speech by the government—an act of censorship?

—Mr. Muncy is chief operating officer of the Institute for American Values. From 1996 to 2008, he was editor in chief of Spence Publishing.

Copyright 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Portions reprinted per Fair Use provisions.

See also, "Thomas Sowell on Banned Books Week - BBW is 'Shameless Propaganda ... Now Institutionalized With a Week of Its Own'" and the large list of related articles from both sides of the issue.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

AFP Says SafeLibraries is "Clearing House For Information About Challenging Books"; ALA Uses "Hyperbole" Regarding So-Called Banned Books Week

Agence France-Presse (AFP) calls SafeLibraries a "clearing house for information about challenging books." Here is the article, after which I will make various comments:

US Libraries Hit Back Over Challenges to Kids Books

WASHINGTON — For some it is the heartwarming tale of two male penguins raising a chick together, but children's book "And Tango Makes Three" is also one of the most controversial texts in America, librarians say.

The illustrated book, which is intended to teach young children about gay parents, tops the 2009 list of "most challenged titles" that the American Library Association (ALA) compiles as part of its annual "Banned Books Week."

Individuals and groups in at least 15 US states have challenged libraries over "And Tango Makes Three," seeking to have the book labeled with a content warning, moved to a different section of the library or removed from shelves altogether, according to the ALA's Office of Intellectual Freedom.

For Deborah Caldwell Stone, the office's acting director, challenges to "And Tango Makes Three" and other books illustrate the importance of Banned Book Week, which will be celebrated September 26-October 3 this year.

The event was first organized in 1982 to highlight the fact "that challenges and banning are still taking place in this country on a regular basis, that books are removed from libraries because a person disagrees with the content," Caldwell Stone said.

"We estimate that we only hear about 25 percent of the challenges," she added. "A parent comes in, complains, the book is removed from the library and we never hear about it and nobody reports it to us."

Of those challenges that are reported, Caldwell Stone says objections are increasingly "to either content that deals with gay themes, or sex."

On this year's ALA list of books is the "Gossip Girl" series, which has been described as "Sex and the City for the younger set" and "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," which the group Parents Against Bad Books in Schools lists as containing references to suicide, illegal drug use, teen sex and bestiality.

Dan Kleinman, who runs the website, says his concerns are with the sort of sexual content found in "Gossip Girls."

"It is wrong to say that children should not have books because the Earth is not older than 6000 years. It is wrong to say children should not have books because there's witchcraft in them. This is silly," he told AFP, referring to some of the arguments put forward by religious fundamentalists.

But, he says, "some books have explicit, very detailed sexual conduct that is not of a teaching nature... it's just inappropriate for children."

Kleinman, whose website is a clearing house for information about challenging books, insists that he does not want to see books banned, but says there is a legitimate legal basis for restricting children's access to sexually explicit material in libraries.

"All I'm seeking is application of existing law," he said, drawing a parallel between explicit websites or films and literature.

Kleinman accuses the ALA of hyperbole in celebrating Banned Books Week. "The whole purpose of Banned Books Week is to provide this kind of misinformation," he said. "The ALA misleads people into thinking that if you keep an inappropriate book from a child that is considered censorship. It is not."

But Caldwell Stone cautions that one parent should not be able to limit other children's reading material.

"When you challenge a book and argue that it shouldn't be on the shelf at all, or that there should be restricted access to the book... then what you're saying is that my values, my morals, should dictate what other people's children are reading."

Cynthia Garcia Coll, a professor of education, psychology and pediatrics at Brown University advocates a combination of community standards and educational science to determine what is appropriate reading material for children.

"Education, when it comes to kids, is not only a matter of values -- it is partly a matter of values -- but we also have some scientific data that tells you what is good for kids and what is not and we need to pay attention to that."

Lewis Lipsitt, the founder of Brown University's Child Study Center and a professor emeritus of psychology, medical science and human development, acknowledges that some literary content can scare or upset children.

But he warns that parents should not excessively restrict the access of their children and others to challenging material.

"There's no good evidence at all, after all of these years, that the kind of things that children read are going to have a deleterious effect on them."

"Rather, what happens is that they learn about behavior of great diversity," he said.

Copyright © 2009 AFP. All rights reserved.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

Comments by SafeLibraries:

The ALA's Caldwell-Stone is Both Right and Wrong

I agree with Caldwell-Stone when she says, "one parent should not be able to limit other children's reading material." But a legitimate challenge brought legitimately has to start with one person. The challenge is then handled according to policy. If the challenged book is removed, it would be due to the application of policy by those responsible for ensuring the application of that policy, not because of "one parent."

Caldwell-Stone goes on to say, "When you challenge a book and argue that it shouldn't be on the shelf at all, or that there should be restricted access to the book... then what you're saying is that my values, my morals, should dictate what other people's children are reading." That is her view, not reality. In reality, there may be a number of reasons, and those reasons may have nothing to do with values or morality. Sometimes those are the reasons, so that makes Caldwell-Stone's statement partially correct. But she and the ALA attempt and often succeed in misleading people that every challenge is brought for reasons of values or morality, therefore every challenge should be denied. Why have a materials reconsideration policy if every challenge will be denied?

I am not aware if Caldwell-Stone was aware of my comments when she made hers. But she ignores the key issue—values and morality have little to do with legally protecting children from inappropriate material. I talked about the law, she talked about morality. If she did this intentionally, then it is an excellent example of how to turn the media to print the story you want people to hear, not the actual story.

Banned Books Week

Regarding so-called "Banned Books Week," [BBW] since no books have been banned in the USA in about half a century, it is no wonder the appellation "National Hogwash Week" is fitting. As Caldwell-Stone said in the AFP article, "challenges and banning are still taking place in this country on a regular basis." That is flat out false, unless you use the ALA's self-serving definition of banning that comprises legal means to keep children from inappropriate material.

SafeLibraries Media Availability

The ALA is not used to being challenged on BBW, as I have done in the AFP article that has been republished worldwide in various languages. If any media source wishes another point of view from the author of what the AFP calls the "clearing house for information about challenging books," please contact me at any time. Internet filters are also my concern. Be aware that FoxNews had me scheduled to appear opposite an ALA representative regarding BBW, but the ALA dropped out when it learned I was to be the balance. If that happens again, I will be happy to speak anyway. There is no shortage of material, like the time when the ALA implied racism was the reason parents opposed a school book including bestiality. Hot dawg!

Pretty Shape Up

Let me add that the reporter has written an excellent article that is fair and balanced. As one award-winning children's book author told me, it is a "pretty shape up of the issues involved." That may be why the ALA is not sending out its usual notice of such articles; as the ALA directs, "If they don’t know about the bad news, you probably don’t want to tell them about it."

Merci beaucoup, Sara Hussein and AFP.


Friday, September 4, 2009

Leesburg, FL, Misled by NCAC and ABFFE; Both Write Letter Filled with False and Misleading Statements; Kids' Right to Read Project Misleads

Leesburg, FL, has come under the skewed microscope of the National Coalition Against Censorship [NCAC] and the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression [ABFFE]. Both together have created The Kids' Right to Read Project [KRRP]. KRRP is a pressure group using false and misleading information to pressure local governments to do as the NCAC/ABFFE wishes. I provide below direct evidence of KRRP's false and misleading statements.

False and Misleading Statements by NCAC, ABFFE

In "Kids' Right to Read Project Calls on Leesburg City Commission to Uphold First Amendment Principles," by NCAC, NCAC, 21 August 2009, emphasis in original, we are told:

The National Coalition Against Censorship joined the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) in opposing censorship at Leesburg Public Library after two mothers, Dixie Fectel [sic] and Diane Venetta filed a petition objecting to sexual themes and the depiction of drug use in The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson and Only in Your Dreams: A Gossip Girl Novel by Cecily van Ziegesar.

On June 10th, the Leesburg Library Advisory Board refused to move these Young Adult books into the adult section of the library or to give them advisory labels. Library Director Barbara Morse cited the presence of similar themes on television, and parents’ right to decide what is appropriate for their own children, as reasons for the petition’s rejection.

On August 24th, the Leesburg City Commission will hear the appeal. Kids' Right to Read Project sent the following letter in view of the Commission's upcoming decision.
The remainder of that article reprints the letter written to the Leesburg government, and that letter contains false and misleading statements, as will be discussed below.

Legally Protecting Children is Not Censorship

Just how is moving or labeling books "censorship" if other communities are doing this legally? The mothers are saying, "While we do not seek to prohibit any student from accessing material, we do believe guidelines should be in place to protect unsuspecting minors from potentially harmful and explicit content." That is not "censorship."

The mothers also said, "Currently, there exist established guidelines which govern content in movies, television and video games, all comparable to one another in their stated standards. These were established to assist parents in making thoughtful choices on what may or may not be appropriate for their child. We would like to see the same system at work in our local library." That is not "censorship."

So why is KRRP decrying "censorship"?

"Library Director Barbara Morse cited the presence of similar themes on television," says KRRP. Really? Has anyone seen explicit, hard core sex on television, other than in hotels or purchased from Romantic Depot? What a coincidence; there's an age limitation on that last web site!

The Latest News from Leesburg

Here are two news stories on that Leesburg City Commission meeting:

The NCAC History of Deception of Local Governments

The NCAC, ABBFE group has a history of misleading local governments. Here is an example in which I have been involved: "Facts Disprove ALA Statements Regarding West Bend, WI; ABFFE, NCAC, and Others Similarly Incorrect," where I said, "If you find the ALA is misleading you, if you find the other pressure groups are misleading you, that is not enough. You need to act legally to protect your children in the public library."

Here is an example where the NCAC comments on a matter (from Loudon County, VA) that ultimately went to the US Supreme Court, and the NCAC's view lost in US v. ALA. See, "Censorship Tools du Jour," by Marilyn C. Mazur, Esq., National Coalition Against Censorship, 1 March 1998. The 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." The NCAC apparently does not agree, and it should be on the losing side again, this time in Leesburg, FL.

I'll bet I could dig up dozens, perhaps hundreds, of examples of the NCAC misleading local governments. Is true local control of local libraries possible where the locals have been misled?

Letter Written to Leesburg to Counter NCAC Propaganda

Below is the letter I wrote to the Leesburg City Commission (and submitted online) to evidence the NCAC/ABFFE's false and misleading statements:

The Leesburg City Commission
501 W. Meadow Street
Leesburg, FL 34749

August 23, 2009

Dear Commissioners,

I am writing as a result of the false and misleading material containing in the August 21st letter from the National Coalition Against Censorship [NCAC] and the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression [ABFFE] regarding the Leesburg Public Library Advisory Board.

They wrote about the need for a lack of "serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value" as one consideration. They said both relevant books "possess significant value." What they did not reveal is that in the case of the Gossip Girl series, the lack of serious literary value has been established. By the American Library Association [ALA]. By the president of the Young Adult Library Services Association of the ALA. The Gossip Girls series, instead of "possessing significant value" as the NCAC and ABFFE so states, is instead described by the ALA leader as "perhaps not the most literary," and the series is distinguished from "good works":

"Pam Spencer Holley of the [ALA and leader of YALSA for youth, said] ... [s]he's happy to see teen girls reading. Eventually, girls who are reading Gossip Girls will move on to better books, she says. 'Unless you read stuff that's perhaps not the most literary, you'll never understand what good works are,' says Holley. .... Besides, she says, what's the worst thing that can happen? 'Nobody complains about the adult women who read Harlequin romances.'" Source: Racy Reading; Gossip Girl Series is Latest Installment in Provocative Teen Fiction, and It's As Popular As It Is Controversial, by Linda Shrieves, Orlando Sentinel, 6 August 2005. ( )

Further, the issue is not whether the "government may restrict the dissemination of sexually explicit material to minors." We know it may. For example, US v. ALA ( ) says in the context of public library Internet filters and implicitly the underlying book collection policies that filters help to impose over the Internet, "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." Personally, I find it misleading that the NCAC and the ABFFE did not apprise you of this. That may have something to do with mooting their major argument.

It is also curious that, for example, Booklist is cited as a source for information about material, but the ALA being the source of Booklist is never revealed, and the ALA has a policy (so-called Library Bill of Rights) that no librarian should ever restrict any child from any material--apparently the US Supreme Court's statement in US v. ALA had no effect on the ALA, and the NCAC/ABFFE is suggesting an ALA publication is a reliable source for information. I suppose if defying the US Supreme Court is something with which you agree, the ALA is an excellent source, but I would never be able to sidestep the US Supreme Court so glibly. Other sources of information are never recommended, and the NCAC/ABFFE did not disclose this, like what Naomi Wolf said about the Gossip Girls series in "Young Adult Fiction: Wild Things," The New York Times, 12 March 2006. ( )

Then the NCAC/ABFFE misleads you with the Sund case. Do they reveal that the books at issue where completely different in nature then the current books of concern? No. Did they reveal the nature of the case was completely different than the present matter? No. Read the case, you'll see what I mean.

This paragraph is particularly misleading:

"Parents who have concerns about their children’s reading choices have every right to guide them. However, they may not interfere with the choices other people make for their children. Therefore, none of the suggestions for restricting access to books in the Leesburg library are acceptable, including placing Young Adult books in the adult section; requiring written permission from a parent or guardian to check the books out; or applying a rating system based on particular types of content to classify books. These proposals would all create special rules and procedures for certain books simply because some patrons don’t like them. This is another form of discrimination on the basis of content that the Constitution does not permit."

The NCAC/ABFFE admits parents may guide children, but they seek to prevent parents from being able to implement such guidance in their own public library paid with their own taxes. It is almost as if common sense and "protecting young library users from material inappropriate for minors" is NOT "legitimate, and even compelling."

"These proposals would all create special rules and procedures for certain books simply because some patrons don’t like them." Really? So the issue is one of taste, not "protecting young library users from material inappropriate for children"?

"This is another form of discrimination on the basis of content that the Constitution does not permit." Really? So the US Supreme Court in US v. ALA and Board of Education v. Pico ( ) is acting "discriminatory on the basis of content"? The US Supreme Court had ruled against the US Constitution? Is the NCAC/ABFFE argument to be believed when clearly the case law and common sense allow children to be legally protected from inappropriate material whereas the NCAC/ABFFE say such protection is not possible? And if they say it is possible, they sure rule out any reasonable possibility: "Therefore, none of the suggestions for restricting access to books in the Leesburg library are acceptable, including placing Young Adult books in the adult section; requiring written permission from a parent or guardian to check the books out; or applying a rating system based on particular types of content to classify books." Imagine that, the NCAC/ABFFE says requiring written permission from parents is not allowed. Who died and made them rulers over communities nationwide?

Conveniently left out is that numerous communities already move material inappropriate for children to the adult section. Even the ALA says this is fine in the right circumstance. Why is the NCAC/ABFFE saying this is "unacceptable" if other communities have already done it and done so legally? Unacceptable to whom? Does the NCAC/ABFFE speak for your local citizens?

Lastly, the NCAC/ABFFE letter makes no mention of you. No mention of your local law. No mention of the law that created your library. Take a look at that law. Does it say anything goes? Does it say the library policy is to be dictated by out-of-town political organizations writing misleading letters to fool the public into deciding not to use legal means to protect their own children? Or does it say the library was created for a purpose. Does it say the library is for the educational and recreational needs of the community? Is material the ALA admits is "not the most literary" part of that vision that must not be placed in the adult section?

Who runs the library? You, or the NCAC/ABFFE/ALA?

I am not telling you what to think or what to do. Instead, I am pointing out that the NCAC/ABFFE is telling you what to think and what to do, and they are misleading you in the process. In my opinion, the deception is intentional. Thanks to the US Supreme Court, your own library's enabling instrument (most likely), and common sense, you may legally protect your children as you see fit.


Dan Kleinman
[addresses elided]