November 21, 2017

Library Worker’s Thinly Veiled Book Causes Stir

  • Library worker warns of “crazy, bums, perverts,” etc.
  • Director says “Denialville” characters too familiar
  • No appeal filed
    Was a “librarian” fired for writing a fictionalized account of her work experiences? With conservative web site and others charging Mason County District Library (MCDL) with hypocrisy, Director Bob Dickson offered LJ a different account.

“Ann Miketa” self-published a book, The Library Diaries (PublishAmerica), profiling her unpleasant experiences working in a library and focusing on specific characters. Author Sally Stern-Hamilton (Miketa is her maiden name), until recently a library assistant at MCDL, Ludington, MI, was fired, Dickson said, because she violated library patrons’ right to privacy.

Dickson wrote to the michlib discussion group, “Each library patron is so thoroughly described that they are easily identifiable in our small town. Most have emotional adjustment issues, are mentally challenged, or have physical abnormalities. In her book, the author calls these people crazy, bums, perverts, mean, ignorant, and so on.”

Dickson said many in the community—described in the book as “Denialville”—also recognized the subjects. Furthermore, the book has a photo of MCDL on its cover. “We believed it was a gross violation of their privacy and defamatory attack on innocent and mostly defenseless people—real people,” he said. Stern-Hamilton, in newspaper accounts, stated, “”The absolute irony is that the public library is a pillar of free speech, and leads me to wonder why the administration is so upset.”

No appeal filed

In addition, upon investigating Stern-Hamilton’s work computer, Dickson found evidence that she was promoting the book during business hours. She was suspended with pay on July 15, and an investigative hearing was held July 23. In her defense, Stern-Hamilton presented the library board with a statement, said Dickson, which said she was surprised there was a problem, as the people written about didn’t have the capacity to understand. She didn’t appeal her firing.

In the book’s epilog, the author wrote, “I hope after reading this book you are convinced of the far reaching consequences we all face when we allow active addicts and alcoholics…and people with low IQ’s to have children.” She has said in interviews (link to interview video) that she also wanted to warn people that public libraries harbor sex offenders.