Monday, January 31, 2011

Pro Family Hush Librarian is Dowdy and Proud

Hush Librarian has just started a new blog (Hush Librarian) and it appears he/she is pro family, pro book, dowdy and proud.

"Whatever happened to the traditional librarians, hair in a bun and sensible shoes, safeguarding the best that our culture has thought and said?"  Good question!  (Possible answer?)

I am looking forward to hearing more from this person, so I subscribed.  Maybe you should too.

And thanks, Hush Librarian, for linking to my SafeLibraries blog.  Welcome to the library blogosphere!


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Child Raped in Library Bathroom Again

Court Records of Library Bathroom
Rape of 10 Year Old Boy
Another child has been raped in another public library bathroom, this one in Columbus, OH.  See "Columbus Teen Accused of Raping Boy at Hilltop Library; Michael Hill Arraigned, Given $100K Bond Wednesday," by Donna Willis and Tom Brockman, NBC4, 26 January 2011.

A West Side teen is accused of raping a 10-year-old boy at the Hilltop Branch Library Tuesday.
"It kind of scared me in a way knowing that I have kids and they like to come here," said library patron Tony Tucker.  Tucker said he goes to the library as many as three times a week.
"You don't expect that kind of thing to happen at a public library," said Jeff Turner who lives on the West Side.

Here is a video of that news report:

Click to see the many stories on this Columbus, OH, public library bathroom rape of a 10 year old child.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Library Hostile Environment Lawsuits in St Cloud, MN, and Birmingham, AL, for Title VII Sexual Harassment; Wilson v. Birmingham Public Library Foundation; ALA May Be At Fault and Should Be Sued

"Well, go and browse
somewhere else!"
Patrons are not the only victims of American Library Association [ALA] policy.  Sometimes it is the librarians themselves.  One such case may have just occurred in the Great River Regional Library in St. Cloud, MN.  See:  "In-Depth: Internet Sparks Library Complaint," by Kirsti Marohn, St. Cloud Times, 16 January 2011.  But that case is too new to say much at this time, so let's look at another.  Then I will provide information and reliable sources for people in St. Cloud or elsewhere to decide what's what.

Birmingham, AL, Suit for Librarian Harassment

In a case reminiscent of Adamson v. Minneapolis Public Library, suit has been filed for Title VII Sexual Harassment of a Birmingham Public Library [BPL] employee.  I recommend the attorney amend the complaint to add the ALA as it may be partially responsible.

Allegations include:

  • "computers are routinely used to access obscene and pornographic materials"
  • "images displayed on the computer terminals are of an explicit sexual nature depicting heterosexual intercourse, homosexual acts, pictures of male and female genitalia, and apparent child pornography"
  • "severe, pervasive, unwelcomed and offensive obscene and pornographic materials"
  • "sexually aggressive comments, touching, including touching of her breasts, shoulders and buttocks and other conduct of a sexual nature by certain patrons of the library"
  • "patrons who masturbate in the library in the presence of staff and other patrons, including children"
  • "Defendants have completely failed to adequately address the sexually hostile work environment"
  • "patrons accessing obscene and pornographic materials in the presence and/or plain view of children who were nearby"
  • "Plaintiff has been stared at, screamed at, and followed around the library by patrons whom have engaged in said behavior"
  • "Plaintiff has suffered severe and substantial emotional distress and mental anguish as a result of the Defendant’s failure to adequately protect her from a sexually hostile work environment"

ALA Culpability for Librarian Harassment?

Did the ALA come to the Plaintiff's aid?  No, it didn't.  It never helps the victims of its policies so far as I can see.

Have ALA policies affected this matter?  Yes, and I urge the attorney for the Plaintiff to amend the complaint accordingly to bring suit against the ALA.

Here is the basic theory of liability.  The Plaintiff was damaged by the Defendants as described in her Complaint.  The library's policy applies advice from the ALA that the ALA admits may be legally invalid ("Again, we must caution, however, that the options ... are untested in the courts and in the FCC, and there is no guarantee that they necessarily would be deemed legally sufficient.").  The advice is to allow patrons to disable Internet filters for themselves, e.g., even though the law (CIPA) requires librarians to disable the filters.  The BPL, having received certain CIPA funding while allowing patrons to disable filters for themselves, is in violation of the law.  That violation may reveal the proximate cause of the Plaintiff's damages.

Proof of Adherence of Birmingham Public Library to ALA Policy

One question may be how to prove the connection between the BPL and the ALA.  The BPL could have, after all, coincidentally hit upon the same CIPA response as the ALA, thereby breaking the chain to the ALA.

To rule out that the BPL's actions were made independently of the ALA, simply look at the library's "Collection Management Policy."  Right at the top, as the opening paragraph of the "Executive Summary," and the only text in italics and footnoted, appears the following "anything goes" policy:

Executive Summary
The public library exists primarily to provide access to information on all subjects, from all points of view, to all people who live in the geographic area served by the library regardless of race, nationality, ethnic origin, religion, income, age, or any other arbitrary classification. 1
. . . .
1.  Office for Intellectual Freedom.  American Library Association.  Intellectual Freedom Manual.  7th ed.  Chicago: ALA, 2006: 8.

Most people would think "age" is a perfect reason to restrict access to certain material.  As the US Supreme Court said in a case the ALA lost big, "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."

There are other indicators that BLP policy is guided by ALA policy.  For example, "The 2009 BPL collection management policy is dependent upon and guided by: ... [the ALA's] Library Bill of Rights and Freedom to Read statement."

CIPA Funding Obtained Fraudulently by the Birmingham Public Library?

The following amounts of CIPA funding for BPL's "Internet Access" were obtained from public records available at USAC Automated Search of Commitments.  Just click on "Advanced Search," then select the "Funding Year" one year at a time, type in "Birmingham" for "City," and select "ALABAMA" for "State":

2010:  $0
2009:  (6 * 1,425.17) + 15,219.90 = $23,770.92
2008:  (4 * 1,425.17) + 15,444.00 = $21,144.68
2007:  (4 * 1,425.17) + 1,630.04 = $7,330.72
2006:  13,449.46 + 74,898.00 = $88,347.46
2005:  $0
2004:  $959.52

TOTAL:  $141,553.30

If the facts of the harassment suit bear this out, there is a possibility that the CIPA funding shown above was obtained fraudulently.

Information for Consideration by the St. Cloud Community and All Communities

Great River Regional Library
Lastly, what follows is significant information for the people on all sides of the matter in St. Cloud and elsewhere to make an informed decision.  Remember, the St. Cloud Times article does not provide significant information to know exactly what happened, so please understand if these are not the exact issues involved.

Key Considerations

  • Sometimes librarians cause problems for themselves by not appropriately handling various perceived challenges. 
  • No filter will ever be perfect, but the simple and legal solution is to request that sites be unblocked.
  • Pornography may be legal generally, but libraries may legally preclude pornography.
  • Internet filters no longer block health-related information such as breast cancer.
  • Unblocked sites may legally be reviewed for library policy compliance.
  • Internet filters are legal and work well, much better than years ago.
  • Library boards need not follow ALA diktat.
  • Acceptable use policies do not stop crime.
  • Libraries are aware ALA dogma is false.
  • Privacy screens do not stop crime.

Sources for Key Considerations

Besides the sources of information linked elsewhere in this article, the following are relevant as proof of the matters asserted or contain links that are relevant:

Dean Marney,
NCRL Director,
Illustrates How to
Legally Filter Porn, and
Decries ALA Dogma

Deborah Caldwell-Stone of the ALA Misleads the St. Cloud Community

Deborah Caldwell-Stone
I mention the above key considerations because Deborah Caldwell-Stone of the ALA is directly quoted in the St. Cloud Times article where she is misleading the St. Cloud community.  She is the Deputy Director of the ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom.   She is reported to have said Internet filters are crude and overblock health-related information.  That is substantially false and she knows it.  She is reported to have advised the use of privacy screens and acceptable use policies.  Both are failures when it comes to preventing inappropriate activity and she knows it, though they are effective in providing political cover before and after crimes occur. 

Stay Focused on the Issues, Not on the ALA Misdirection

I fully expect the ALA will react to my comments, though not directly to me.  Deborah Caldwell-Stone herself has maligned me and others as she diverts attention from the issues and from the simple fact that a community need not allow itself to be misled from applying legal means to protect its citizens.  I do not tell communities what to do and I do not support censorship.  Rather, I provide information, backed up by reliable sources such as Mary Minow of the IMLS, to provide balance to the ALA's misinformation, or dogma, as one library director put it.   Then, fully informed and not merely misinformed, community members can make up their own minds.

Complaint:  Wilson v. The Birmingham Public Library Foundation

Below is the full text of the Wilson v. The Birmingham Public Library Foundation complaint.  I hope the complaint and the other documents posted at the case link just provided (and the Adamson case) help people on all sides in St. Cloud and elsewhere (and I ask the librarian involved to consider contacting me):

2010 Sep-02 AM 09:32
CV NO.:  2:2010cv02386









1.  This is a suit for violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000(e) et. seq. and the Civil Rights Act of 1991.

2.  The jurisdiction of this Court is invoked pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended.

3.  The unlawful employment practices and acts of discrimination about which the
Plaintiff complains were committed in Jefferson County, Alabama.


4.  Plaintiff, Barbara Ann Wilson, is a female citizen of the United States over the age of nineteen (19) and is a resident of the State of Alabama.

5.  Defendant, Birmingham Public Library Foundation is an entity organized and operating in the State of Alabama.

6.  Defendant, City of Birmingham, Alabama is a municipal entity in the State of Alabama.


7.  The Plaintiff filed a Charge of Discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) within 180 days of the acts of discrimination of which she now complains.

8.  The Plaintiff received a Notice of Right to Sue letter from the EEOC within 90 days of filing this action.

9.  All conditions precedent to the institution of this lawsuit have been fulfilled.


10.  The Defendants operate the downtown branch of the Birmingham Public Library.

11.  The Plaintiff has been employed by the Defendants since on or about August 12, 2002.

12.  The Plaintiff is employed as a Library Assistant III.

13.  The Defendants have installed computers in various parts of the library in such a manner as to make it difficult, if not impossible, for staff and/or other patrons to avoid viewing the material displayed on the computer terminals.

14.  The computers are routinely used to access obscene and pornographic materials.

15.  The images displayed on the computer terminals are of an explicit sexual nature depicting heterosexual intercourse, homosexual acts, pictures of male and female genitalia, and apparent child pornography.

16.  During the course of her employment, the Plaintiff has been subjected to a sexually hostile work environment which consists of severe, pervasive, unwelcomed and offensive obscene and pornographic materials on said computers.

17.  In addition, the Plaintiff has been exposed to sexually aggressive comments, touching, including touching of her breasts, shoulders and buttocks and other conduct of a sexual nature by certain patrons of the library.

18.  Plaintiff has also been subjected to patrons who masturbate in the library in the presence of staff and other patrons, including children.

19.  The Plaintiff has reported the above sexual misconduct to library management multiple times, both verbally and in writing.

20.  The Defendants have completely failed to adequately address the sexually hostile work environment which, as a result of said failure, continues to exist at the downtown branch of the Birmingham Public Library.

21.  On numerous occasions, the Plaintiff has observed patrons accessing obscene and pornographic materials in the presence and/or plain view of children who were nearby.

22.  On many occasions, when the Plaintiff would attempt to confront patrons engaged in the above-described behavior, the patron would become belligerent. Plaintiff has been stared at, screamed at, and followed around the library by patrons whom have engaged in said behavior.

23.  The Plaintiff has suffered severe and substantial emotional distress and mental anguish as a result of the Defendant’s failure to adequately protect her from a sexually hostile work environment. It is increasingly difficult for the Plaintiff to come to the work place on a daily basis to be confronted with the obscene and sexual misconduct that is ongoing at the downtown branch of the Birmingham Public Library.

TITLE VII - Sexual Harassment
(Hostile Work Environment)

24.  The Plaintiff adopts and re-alleges each paragraph set forth above as if fully set forth herein.

25.  The above-described wrongful conduct on the part of the Defendants constitutes the creation and/or allowance of a sexually charged hostile work environment in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000(e) et. seq. and the Civil Rights Act of 1991.

WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, the Plaintiff respectfully requests the entry of judgment under Title VII against the Defendants for sexual harassment and/or hostile work environment, pursuant to an Order by which the Court:

(a) awards compensatory damages for mental anguish;

(b) awards punitive damages;

(c) awards injunctive relief;

(d) awards that equitable relief which is fair, reasonable and just;

(e) awards a reasonable attorney's fee; and

(f) taxes costs against the Defendants.


                                       s/ Adam P. Morel           
                                       Adam P. Morel
                                       ATTORNEY FOR PLAINTIFF



517 Beacon Parkway West
Birmingham, Al 35209
Telephone (205) 945-9210
Facsimile (205) 943-9338

Please Serve Defendants by Certified Mail

The Birmingham Public Library Foundation
c/o Renee Blalock, Registered Agent
2100 Park Place
Birmingham, AL 35203

The City of Birmingham, Alabama
c/o Paula R. Smith, City Clerk
Office of the City Clerk
City Hall-3rd Floor
710 North 20th Street
Birmingham, Alabama 35203


Saturday, January 15, 2011

ALA Screws Gay Librarians; Gay Civil Rights Community Should Demand ALA Action; Rank and File Rebellion Against the ALA Leadership Needed

Flag, The Castro, San Francisco, CA
The American Library Association [ALA] has screwed gay librarians.  This is not a joke, not a cute headline.  The disrespect shown by the ALA to the gay community can be described no other way, except, perhaps by Robert Kent of The Friends of Cuban Libraries:  "Among the most recent outrages ignored by the ALA, the association at its just concluded San Diego failed to take action against recent raids on gay libraries in Cuba. (For details, see the Recent News section of our website.)"

See also "Endless Shame of the Spineless American Library Association," by Nat Hentoff, The Register-Mail, 13 January 2011.

Ironically, the nation's first gay museum has just opened in "The Castro." See: "Gay History Museum Finds Home, Identity," by Jessica Kwong, San Francisco Chronicle, 12 January 2011.

The library community is already discussing this: "SF Gay History Museum Finds Home, Identity," by Steven M. Cohen, Library Stuff, 12 January 2011.  (Hat tip Mr. Cohen.)

That's nice.  I want the gay civil rights community to demand the ALA act to protect the rights of gay Cuban librarians.  We already know the ALA will not defend Afro-Cuban civil rights.  What's going on?  And the ALA is supposed to be considered authoritative in local public libraries?  The concern is best expressed by Nat Hentoff:
I still cannot understand why the leading Officers of American Library Association have abandoned these other librarians.  Nor do I understand why there has not been a rank-and-file rebellion against this by the ALA membership around our country.  Don't they all believe in the freedom to read?

Lastly, here is the entire contents of Robert Kent's communication, emphasis in original.

"[ifforum] Presentation by Camila Alire at UCLA, 1/13"
by Robert Kent 
The Friends Of Cuban Libraries 
13 January 2011

dateThu, Jan 13, 2011 at 1:06 PM
[ifforum] Presentation by Camila Alire at UCLA, 1/13

From the Friends of Cuban Libraries
Jan. 13, 2011

In a message dated 1/12/2011 12:52:42 PM Eastern Standard Time, writes:
The UCLA ALA Student Chapter invites you to join Dr. Camila Alire, Past-President of the American Library... for a Lecture on

Advancing Your Career through Service, Leadership. Advocacy, and Diversity

Date: Thursday, January 13th
Time: 12:30-1:30pm (feel free to bring your lunch)
Location: GSEIS Building 111

UCLA Students and the California library community should welcome this event by the past president of the ALA on the theme of "service, leadership, advocacy and diversity."

But it is to be hoped that those attending her presentation will ask Ms. Alire questions about her adherence to these principles.  Why, during her presidency of the ALA, did Ms. Alire fail to defend library workers in a neighboring country who are being persecuted?  What good does it do to advocate high principles in theory while failing to implement them in practice?

Among the most recent outrages ignored by the ALA, the association at its just concluded San Diego failed to take action against recent raids on gay libraries in Cuba.  (For details, see the Recent News section of our website.)

Yesterday civil liberties journalist Nat Hentoff, in his latest column on this subject ("The Endless Shame of the Spineless ALA," see link below) asks some of these questions regarding Ms. Alire's failure to respond to appeals, which Ms. Alire has declined to answer for many months. The library community has a right to ask Ms. Alire why she refuses to defend in practice the rights she defends in theory.

We in the Friends of Cuban Libraries urge the people attending Ms. Alire's UCLA presentation to politely insist that she provide answers to these important questions.

NOTE:  Nat Hentoff's column on Camila Alire's lamentable silence as ALA president can be read at:



Sunday, January 9, 2011

Library Okays Hard Core for Kids; Parents Horrified Into Action in Oak Park IL While ALA Enjoys Midwinter Meeting 2011 in San Diego

Oak Park Public Library Logo
"Porn in the Oak Park Library!," by Paul Marobella, Live Here Oak Park, 30 December 2010 reveals porn for children is allowed in the library.  Read this to believe this:

Porn in the Oak Park Library!

Shocking, but true.  And, in the kids' section, no less.

My wife and two little girls frequent the Oak Park Library, at least once or twice a week.  They spend most of their time on the first floor kids' section.  They color, read books and play with the computers.

Paul Marobella, Oak Park, IL
Well, yesterday, they were there as usual and a young boy of around 11 or 12 years old wandered in, sat at a computer and proceeded to pull up hard core porn websites.  All in full view of the parents, librarians and worse, the children.  Not only were all the parents present horrified that a child would do this but exponentially worse is that they were informed by the librarian that our library network does not have filters to prevent something like this from happening.  The librarian proceeded to tell the boy that he couldn't be in the kids' section and had to move up to the adult area of the library - not that he wasn't allowed to view that material on public machines.

The only imaginable argument I could imagine from anyone why a public, tax-supported network would not be filtered is for freedom of speech/access.  I don't buy it.  The internet is a dark and dingy place and our children should not be exposed to this in our public library.  It is one thing to have no filters on the adult section of the library (adult as in not child-section not as in adult/porn) but not having them in the kids' section is a travesty and one that we as parents should rally to have changed.

Does anyone have any advice on how we can take this further?  Whom should we ping to ensure the youth of our children is preserved as long as possible?  LHOP is our first stop to help rally a groundswell.  I'm not much of an activist, but I have to draw the line somewhere.

ALA Midwinter Meeting 2011 Logo
So while the American Library Association [ALA], based in Chicago, IL, is enjoying its 2011 Midwinter Meeting in San Diego, CA, back home, in Oak Park, IL, a Chicago suburb, the Oak Park Public Library is allowing an 11 or 12 year old boy to enjoy hard core porn on a public library computer.  Only the child is just supposed to move out of the children's section while he is enjoying it.

I hope ALA members are enjoying themselves while the families back home are frantic that their children are being sexualized as a result of ALA policy made local library policy.  That's right, the library adheres to ALA policy that anything goes.

"The Internet is a global electronic network that maintains no regulatory control of its users or content. The Oak Park Public Library has no control over the content of these resources."  That's because the library refuses, thanks to the ALA, not because it is unable.

As with all materials in the Library, restriction of a child's access to the Internet is the responsibility of the parent or guardian; the Library does not act in place of the parent. Parents and guardians assume full and complete responsibility for their child/children's use of the Internet through the Library's connection.

Obviously they mean what they say, and another activist is born.  Will someone please ask Paul Marobella to contact me?


Thursday, January 6, 2011

In the End We Will Remember Not the Words of Our Enemies But the Silence of Our Friends

"...No Books Prohibited"
A sign in the Félix Varela
Independent Library,
Las Tunas, Cuba
In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. and Cuban librarians, please read the following from Steve Marquardt, Ph.D., South Dakota State University Dean of Libraries Emeritus, International USA Legislative Coordinator for Minnesota, and American Library Association [ALA] member since 1974.

See how the ALA is described by Dr. Marquardt while keeping in mind the words of Dr. King:  "In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."

Also, see how Alfred Kagan reaches back five years to quash Robert Kent's effort to speak out for gay Cuban librarians and their supporters.  Mr. Kagan's attitude is not surprising in light of his statement about American armed forces in Iraq: "There was a lot of destruction and the military couldn’t have cared less."  We already know the ALA ignores Afro-Cuban civil rights.  Now we see it ignoring gay Cuban civil rights.  Remarkable for an organization that asserts its authority in local communities—just why is there a "pro-Castro faction within the ALA" as quoted below?

From: Steve Marquandt
To: Alfred Kagan [and various distribution lists]
Date: Tues, Jan 4, 2011 at 2:30 PM
Subject:  [ifforum] Re: [srrtac-l] Mr. Kent's recent open letter on Cuba to the ALA GLBT Round Table

Like Al Kagan, I am a member of ALAWORLD and SRRTAC-L, but not these other lists, so please pass this message on if you can.

Note that the Michael Dowling IRO report about Cuba devoted fewer than seven percent of its words to events that had taken place in Cuba.  Given the imprisonment of 26 non-violent library managers (out of 75 dissidents arrested in March 2003) and the documented destruction of at least six entire library collections, it's no wonder that 93% of Dowling's report is concerned with the actions of ALA, USA, IFLA and other bureaucracies.  The Dowling IRO report contains no mention of court-ordered book burning in Cuba.  Why doesn't ALA want to talk about that?

Note that the January 2004 joint ALA IFC and IRC report accepted by ALA Council contains no protest or even mention of these library destructions ordered by Cuban courts, despite the ALA joint task force members having studied the trial court sentencing documents available at the Florida State University Rule of Law and Cuba website -- documents also used by Amnesty International, the Organization of American States and Human Rights Watch to call for the release of the prisoners.

Note the demands for release of the imprisoned librarians and others, issued by a vast array of international organizations and human rights groups, ranging across the political spectrum from the French Communist Party to Freedom House, whereas the ALA Council overwhelmingly voted down an amendment that would have called for the freedom of these prisoners of conscience.

The annual ALA Midwinter Sunrise Celebration of Martin Luther King Jr Day is coming up at 7:00 AM next Monday, January 10, at ALA's San Diego conference.  The Cubans burned Dr. King's biography, too, as well as confiscated it at customs point when it was shipped in from Spain were it was published.  Another copy, presented personally by President Jimmy Carter to the Dulce María Loynaz Library in Havana, was later confiscated in a police raid, along with more than 1,000 other books.

ALA finds nothing to protest in Cuba's destruction of library collections, confiscations of books, and does its best never to mention any of this news.  Why?  Apparently the leadership believes the independent libraries to be a creation of the USA.  In fact, the network and the movement have received donations from many nations.  The ALA -- allegedly a champion of the freedom to read -- remains isolated from international human rights opinion on this issue.

Steve Marquardt, Ph.D.
ALA member since 1974
South Dakota State University Dean of Libraries Emeritus
Amnesty International USA Legislative Coordinator for Minnesota
[Address elided.]

On Tue, Jan 4, 2011 at 10:46 AM, Alfred Kagan [address elided] wrote:

For those who are new to these lists, please see the comprehensive report issued by Michael Dowling at the ALA International Relations Office in 2008.

(I am a member of ALAWORLD, but not these other lists, so please pass this message on if you can.)

Note especially the joint ALA IFC and IRC report that was endorsed by the ALA Council in 2004.

Also note that at the time of the 2008 report, Michael Dowling wrote that Mr. Kent was not a member of ALA.  And also please note the following quote from Michael Dowling's report:

In 2006, the Latvia and Lithuania library association pass resolutions, but the Lithuania leaders retract their resolution, sending out a message that they were duped by Mr. Kent into passing the resolution.  Mr. Kent had tried to use the Lithuanian resolution to convince the Hungarian library association to also pass a resolution.

Al Kagan

On Jan 4, 2011, at 8:46 am, [Robert Kent] wrote:

An Open Letter to the ALA GLBT Round Table

The Friends of Cuban Libraries
January 4, 2011

Call for new Stonewall Revolt at library conference

Dear colleagues:

Since 1998 the attention of the international library community has been fixed on a small country, Cuba, where the police and government-directed mobs have threatened, assaulted and jailed volunteers who are founding libraries to challenge government control of information.  Despite repression, twenty-year jail terms and the court-ordered BURNING of entire library collections, Cuba's independent librarians continue their work on behalf of intellectual freedom.

Now the repression of library workers has been extended to Cuba's GLBT community.  In defiance of threats, independent gay groups in Cuba have dared to organize gay-oriented library collections open to the public.  These libraries are now the target of secret police raids.

Nat Hentoff - Click for
"American Library Association Shamed"
Printed below are news reports on the repression in Cuba. Will the members of the ALA GLBT Round Table allow these outrages to go unchallenged?  Anyone aware of the ALA's recent history knows that a small faction within the ALA, which flatly denies the existence of censorship and human rights violations in Cuba, has dominated the ALA International Relations Committee and other key posts, resulting in paralysis on the part of the ALA Council, despite appeals on behalf of Cuba's independent librarians by such icons of freedom as Ray Bradbury, Anthony Lewis, Madeleine Albright and Nat Hentoff.

The ALA midwinter conference in San Diego offers an opportunity for GLBT activists to take bold and principled action in defense of Cuba's gay libraries and the island's entire free library movement.

The pro-Castro faction within the ALA, which may include some leaders of the GLBT Round Table, is counting on YOU to be timid conformists, afraid to defend intellectual freedom, the key principle of librarians in all free nations.  It is up to YOU to disappoint them by rising up at the San Diego conference to take principled action against injustice, censorship and repression.


The Friends of Cuban Libraries

Another Gay Library Raided

[ INTRODUCTION:  This article details a second wave of police raids on gay libraries in Cuba in 2010.  Access to the Internet is effectively criminalized for non-elite Cubans, leading to the seizure of banned materials surreptitiously downloaded from the Internet.  Three of the gays arrested in the raid on the Reinaldo Arenas Library were deported to their home provinces because Cuba, like South Africa during the Apartheid era, requires government approval for citizens from the interior to reside in the capital, or to visit it for more than a brief period.]

HAVANA, Nov. 17, 2010 (by Aliomar Janjaques Chivaz, Cuban LGBT Foundation) - On November 10 the Arenas Independent Library, located in East Havana, was confiscated by State Security and officers of the National Revolutionary Police, when leaders of the Reinaldo Arenas LGBT Memorial Foundation were meeting to show a documentary film.

"We were together, watching the documentary 'A Force More Powerful,' when René said the whole block was occupied by State Security officials; we barely had time to shut the door when two officials, accompanied by two armed policemen, entered by pushing their way in.  They insulted us, shoved us around, and took away the literature that we had, in addition to CDs and the DVD," said Henri Solís Estévez.

They took away a lot of materials printed from the Internet, many were printouts from the Web de Colegas [a Spanish-language gay Internet resource], stated Lucia Acosta, an art history student, who noted that 19 gay youths were attending the meeting, and all of them were arrested.

Virtudes Linaza, José Luis Sánchez and Oscar Benítez were deported by train to the interior of the country on Monday morning because they do not have legal residence in the City of Havana.  The deportees were fined 300 pesos in Cuban currency.


Translation by the Friends of Cuban Libraries

Gay Foundation libraries seized by police

HAVANA, May 25, 2010 (LGBT Cuba News Today/Mario José Delgado González) - Last Monday, May 17, at approximately 11:23 A.M., the complete LGBT book holdings of Henry Solís Estévez, coordinator of the Gay Freedom Party, Dunia Ortega, lesbian activist, and Aliomar Janjaque were confiscated by the State Security police during raids of their homes.

According to Dunia Ortega, "The first thing they did was to dismantle our libraries.  Many gays and lesbians would ask us to loan books.  We had all kinds of books, but the ones that caused the most annoyance [to the police] were the collected works of the emblematic author Reinaldo Arenas.  Each of us had built up a mini-library in our houses which were collected with great effort.  They [the secret police] respect nothing; the only thing that interested them was messing us up and being a wet blanket.  But we will reconstruct [the libraries] again, little by little...."

Source: (

Al Kagan

African Studies Bibliographer and Professor of Library Administration
[Address elided.]

Steve Marquardt, Ph.D.
South Dakota State University Dean of Libraries Emeritus
Amnesty International Legislative Coordinator for Minnesota
[Address elided.]