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Some "Censorship" is Good

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.

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Comments

  1. another librarian says:

    Bravo!

  2. her_welshness says:

    Bombay Sapphire rocks.

  3. badgirllibrarian says:

    Love that Bombay Sapphire bb!
    Wait…what? No pr0no?

  4. childrenscirculation says:

    Is big brother here in 2008 instead of 1984 in the brainwashing of Christian conservatives? Hooray for the free thinkers. Hooray for those who want to learn more about the world around them. Down with groups who ban books.

  5. free thinker says:

    Stereotyping is a sign of small minds. Not everyone who objects to a library book is a conservative christian. Please try to make your point without sensationalizing – it takes more effort but you have a more valid point in the long run.

  6. Bill Drew says:

    Still as little substance and nothing worth reading. What a waste of electrons and valuable webserver space..

  7. the.effing.librarian says:

    “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!’”

    It’s always okay to say No to ugly books.

    “no one cares if you ban a crappy book.”
    hxxp://lisnews.org/no_one_cares_you_ban_crappy_book

  8. Library Betty says:

    We all know that some views are more equal than others. Librarians who want to excel in large public systems must have the approved views. Patrons are just there to absorb the approved library views — their dissent is not welcome.

    Freedom to read, indeed!

  9. web dude says:

    I just wish this blog had more ads. I’m having trouble finding any.

  10. Brent says:

    I censor against expensive books. And I feel good doing it.

  11. Library Mermaid says:

    How about a movement where we just ban the bland and poorly written books? Or celebrity picture books? Just a thought.

  12. clear and open mind says:

    It’s funny how we can censor poorly-written mainstream books on a daily basis, but try to censor a poorly-written controversial book and the censorship police hit the roof! It’s not about the book, it’s about the agenda – and that includes some librarians.

  13. soren faust says:

    “Still as little substance and nothing worth reading. What a waste of electrons and valuable webserver space..”

    Now, Bill…for someone who has, himself, wasted quite the amount of webserver space with twitter postings, &c, you may want to be more forgiving of others waste.

  14. jmo, mls says:

    *Stereotyping is a sign of small minds. Not everyone who objects to a library book is a conservative christian. Please try to make your point without sensationalizing – it takes more effort but you have a more valid point in the long run.*

    Did you even read the post?

  15. the zak says:

    Critical theory needs to be developed to evaluate our libraries. We have motion pictures critics, literature criticism, theater critics and we need library critics.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Nah. A very long article that basically tries to make the case that school library collection policies favor some kind of liberal or ALA inspired agenda. Nuts. School libraries follow collection policies established by school boards and library committees. Hopefully, a real, degreed librarian is involved, but since schools can’t and don’t afford real librarians a paraprofessional is involved more often than not.

    In most library collections in major public school districts, the libraries do usually have a relatively good selection of books across a wide variety of topics including anything from fundamental christian apologies to witchcraft. But there is no reason for schools to acquire whacko right-wing propaganda than they should acquire whacko leftwing propaganda.

    Since the AL is obviously not a school librarian and is equally obviously out of touch with school library issues, methinks the AL ought to stay far away from this dialog. She really doesn’t appear to know what she is talking about, and her fan-base appears equally distant from real day-to-day school librarian topics.

    Of course if AL wants to reveal what the AL’s identity is and present credentials and evidence of expertise other than the ability to whine articulately, we’re all ears.

    In the meaning, there is all this click through ad stuff. Anyone wonder why AL is here now?

  17. Dan Kleinman of SafeLibraries.org says:

    Anonymous said, “methinks the AL ought to stay far away from this dialog.” This is the flip side of that other Anonymous that constantly says, “Nothing here. Let’s all just move on,” or the like.

    I have to wonder why the freedom of speech people encourage people to shut their minds or encourage others to ignore certain messages with which they obviously disagree.

    Contrast that with the LJ editors who have written here to say they may disagree with the AL and even each other but they love the open forum they have provided for everyone. Thanks again, LJ. David Burt of FilteringFacts.org may be another interesting LJ blogger, by the way.

  18. Dan Kleinman of SafeLibraries.org says:

    Hint:

    If anyone wants to add paragraph breaks, then add <br><br> between the sentences where the paragraph should break.

    (Hope the HTML I wrote works as intended and shows the proper code to use.)

  19. rumproaster says:

    HTML is

    fun

  20. Anonymous says:

    Annoyed Librarian Takes ALA to the Woodshed

    http://www.illinoisfamily.org/news/contentview.asp?c=34057

  21. Anonymous says:

    It’s funny how we can censor poorly-written mainstream books on a daily basis, but try to censor a poorly-written controversial book and the censorship police hit the roof!
    Well, that’s because no one’s looking for the mainstream one, but news makes people go looking for the controversial one. Ergo, the library has to have it, because of the boffo circ. By which, of course, I mean that it must have the source material for our substantive national debates.

  22. clear and open mind says:

    So our collection policy is determined by political debates and media attention, not quality of the material being acquired.

  23. anonymous says:

    If we buy poorly written urban lit then why not poorly written pro-Christian non-fiction? If we are going to reject books because they are poorly written then no library will have a romance section.Not buying a book because of poor research and shoddy scholarship I can agree with but eliminatng books because of poor writing will leave empty libraries.

  24. Kat says:

    The only problem with getting ‘properly degreed librarians” is that they mostly come from ALA accreditted Universities, where liberalism is the current course of education. Hire one of these professionals and you get yourself a perfect little ALA Pinup Model…all the hypocracies included!!!

  25. clear and open mind says:

    Actually, most of us librarians are smart enough to think for ourselves. We don’t just soak in everything taught in classes as fact. Maybe if you got to know a few librarians you would find out that we are pretty smart.

  26. Brandon says:

    Still as little substance and nothing worth reading. What a waste of electrons and valuable webserver space..

    And that, my friends, is the sound of somebody not wanting to defend their opinions against those who disagree with them, and would rather dissenters just go away.

  27. HippieMan says:

    Oh, the poor aggrieved right wing librarian! C’mon. Every facet of our society is innundated with right wing memes. I can’t take this stuff seriously.

  28. soren faust says:

    Hippieman, life is more complex than right-wing this and left-wing that. I realize that nuance is not an integral American trait, but at least try to feign it. The censorship issue is not clear cut and nuanced thinking on the matter is essential. At least the AL is trying to represent a side to the issue that is not popular among many librarians. Now, I wouldn’t call the AL’s post nuanced, necessarily, but it does bring out some of the inconsistencies found in many of the arguments put forth by a majority of librarians.

  29. Brandon says:

    Hippie Man

    So are you saying that just because certain opinions are conservative/right wing in nature, they should be ignored?

    Would you feel the same about leftists opinions if our society were innundated with left wing memes?

  30. HippieMan says:

    One more thing…this idea about not caring about offending Christians is complete and utter bunk. You couldn’t run for political office in this country without swearing on a stack of bibles that you’re a devout Christian. Ever hear of an openly agnostic/atheist pol in the US? I didn’t think so. Your argument holds no water. It insults my intelligence.

    If anything, Christians have an inordinate amount of power in this country.

  31. HippieMan says:

    Every view, whether Left or Right, should be expressed. But don’t try to tell me that the views of the AL are in the minority. Many Americans, if given the choice, would ban a lot of mainstream books. Librarians are the bulwark against that.

  32. Jonathan says:

    Anyone who doesn’t like all the ads here should install FireFox and the AdBlock Plus extension.

    My browsing experience has been so much better since I did that.

    I’d like to give you the URL for AdBlock plus, unfortunately this stupid comment form rejects it. (users must add a two break tags to get a paragraph break? a single url in the comment is not allowed? And what’s with that cryptic error message?)

  33. shobhan says:

    Dear AL:
    No long winded treatises,please. Keep your posts brief, there’s so little time for the rest of us who don’t have a corner office (with a bar and cute bartenders) on the 30th floor overlooking a park.

  34. loveless says:

    Is it true that there is no love left in librarianship?

  35. soren faust says:

    I tried to post something in response to Hippieman and was told in an error message that I can’t use expletives. I didn’t use any expletives. I did use an non-slang word referring to an act between two men in the context of collection development, however. Is this considered an expletive by LJ?

  36. Guybrarian says:

    Guybrarians Rock!

  37. HippieMan says:

    Faust,

    The little internet gremlins ate your post. Hey, but that’s alright–re-post and let me have it. :)

  38. soren faust says:

    I will, but now I’m fascinated with the fact that LJ is “censoring” my post because I used the word h-omo-cex-ual. At least, I think that’s why I was censored.

  39. HippieMan says:

    This is getting too meta for me. A post about censorship getting censored. Is there another layer yet to be disinterred?

  40. AL says:

    I find hippieman’s criticism strange. So believing that all views (or as many as possible) should represented in library collections an example of a “right wing meme”? I thought that was the standard position of the ALA OIF. I’m merely pointing out that they apply that they hypocritically apply that standard, and defend only anti-conservative views.

    “But don’t try to tell me that the views of the AL are in the minority. Many Americans, if given the choice, would ban a lot of mainstream books. Librarians are the bulwark against that.”

    But in the instance I describe, librarians were NOT the bulwark against that. As for my suggesting banning mainstream books, I think it’s an open question whether I wand to ban books or whether you are hermeneutically challenged.

    “One more thing…this idea about not caring about offending Christians is complete and utter bunk. You couldn’t run for political office in this country without swearing on a stack of bibles that you’re a devout Christian.”

    This is what’s known in logical circles as a red herring. Moving in logical circles, by the way, is good for both the mind and heart. I highly recommend it. Are we talking about politicians running for office? No. We’re talking about librarians who defend a book that offends conservative Christians because it represents diversity or whatever, while ignoring books that defend conservative Christianity is completely tolerated and masked in bureaucratese.

    I went back through the post, and I’m pretty sure based on what I wrote you have absolutely no idea what my political views might be. However, it’s an interesting bit of self-projection you have going on there.

  41. AL says:

    soren, i find that strange as well.

  42. censorshipper says:

    Censorship is not only necessary, but good.

  43. OMG says:

    My spam-block charcters are spelling out OMG. That must be a sign that this is going to be an incredible post.

  44. HippieMan says:

    Thanks for the spanking. I self-project, therefore I am.

  45. AL says:

    Spanking? I prefer not to go there. However, in some ways I’m making the same argument the OIF always makes, only they make it very selectively.

  46. Kat says:

    I’m intrigued about something that just hasn’t ben accepted yet.

    We call it banning if someone in the community objects and the book is removed from the self.

    But we do not call it banning if the Community Objector becomes the librarian and bans the book as part of the colleciton development selection process. Librarians can be Christians too, donchyaknow!

    I personally believe good collection development is vital or otherwise library collections become broad and more meaningless. At the same time, I do understand how a librarian with a moral axe to grind can become Mr./Mrs./Miss/MS. Censorshop. [misspelling intentional]

  47. jmo, mls says:

    Hippieman is one of those people who is so far left that truly everything is to his right. With this in mind, what he says is true—if viewed through his looking glass.

    You couldn’t run for political office in this country without swearing on a stack of bibles that you’re a devout Christian. Ever hear of an openly agnostic/atheist pol in the US?

    Keith Ellison didn’t use bibles, did he Hippieman?

  48. jmo, mls says:

    Man, that was ugly…what happens if I do this?

    Hippieman is one of those people who
    is so far left that truly everything is
    to his right.  With this in mind,
    what he says is true—if viewed through his looking glass.

     

    You couldn’t run for political office in
    this country without swearing on a stack of bibles that you’re a devout
    Christian. Ever hear of an openly agnostic/atheist pol
    in the US?

     

    Keith Ellison didn’t use bibles, did he Hippieman?

     

     

  49. Auntie Nanuuq says:

    I am responsible for adding gift materials to the library’s collection. Hell yes, I ”

  50. HippieMan says:

    JMO–

    Keith Ellison is a Muslim. Yes, I know. Last time I checked Islam is a religion. I’m talking about non-belief here.

    Now, if Mr. Ellison had declared himself an atheist or an agnostic, NO ONE and I mean NO ONE would have voted for him.

    My point? In the US of A, it’s pretty much standard procedure that if you’re a non-believer you are somehow mentally defective. You and I know that’s true. I believe it was that revered statesman George HW Bush who declared he didn’t think atheists could be patriotic Americans.

    So, you see my point, don’t you? You can believe that pigs fly if that floats your spiritual boat–but NEVER and I mean NEVER admit you are an atheist. That’s verboten, and you know it.

    And, BTW, by European standards my politics are pretty mainstream. I’m not really a frothing leftist at all. Maybe by US standards, but not to the rest of the world. But then, the US is an inherently right wing country, so I see how I might appear to you as a frothing leftist! :)

  51. clear and open mind says:

    An atheist is not a non-believer. He just believes differently.

  52. annoyed more often then not says:

    Please, this is a public blog. No frothing. ;)

  53. Original Anonymous Librarian says:

    Make copies of anything you try to post via Cut-and-paste. Already had a post zapped earlier. Thgis system has problems.

  54. Kat says:

    Make copies of anything you try to post via Cut-and-paste. Already had a post zapped earlier. Thgis system has problems.

    Tell me about it!!!

  55. blogpro says:

    This system makes Blogger look professional.

  56. anonymous says:

    re: The only problem with getting ‘properly degreed librarians” is that they mostly come from ALA accreditted Universities, where liberalism is the current course of education. Hire one of these professionals and you get yourself a perfect little ALA Pinup Model…all the hypocracies included!!!

    I’m sure your school will be happy to accept the return of your diploma.

  57. anonymous says:

    re: I have to wonder why the freedom of speech people encourage people to shut their minds or encourage others to ignore certain messages with which they obviously disagree. <

    One appropriately finds suspect unsupported opinions by anonymous authors of unspecified or dubious credentials, especially when, on the face of the argument, the opinion represents as fact things that people who are subject-knowledgeable know to be false.

    Unless and until AL provides evidence of scholarship in the area of school librarianship, or ceases representing straw dog fallacies as fact, it is entirely appropriate to caution the casual observer to move along to more credible sources of argumentation.

  58. Dan Kleinman of SafeLibraries.org says:

    Anonymous said, justifying tellings others to ignore people and “move on”: “it is entirely appropriate to caution the casual observer to move along to more credible sources of argumentation.” And “anonymous” is the judge of what’s credible and what’s not? Sounds like “anonymous” just proved what the AL is saying about libaries using “selection” as the means to claim what’s credible and what’s not.

  59. anonymous says:

    re: And “anonymous” is the judge of what’s credible and what’s not?< <

    No, you are. If you find anonymous sources with no credentials, no verifiable expertise and specious and demonstrably false arguments on their face credible, then drink all of that kool-aid you want.
    In your specific case, frankly, I’m not suprised.
    At least you’re trackable to a name, and your clearly politicized apologies for proactive censorship can be evaluated and rejected on their merits. Or lack thereof, of course. Not so with AL.

    LJ should be ashamed.

  60. Dan Kleinman of SafeLibraries.org says:

    Anonymous says, “drink all of that kool-aid you want. In your specific case, frankly, I’m not suprised. [Y]our clearly politicized apologies for proactive censorship….” So when the “move on” argument doesn’t work, the ad hominem argument is next. While this is what “anonymous” illustrates, we have all seen this same behavior again and again and again, here and on numerous other blogs. I do not understand why people feel the need to personally attack others. The argument may be a minor distraction, but it never addresses the issues being discussed. So I’ve been called a stupid censor by “anonymous.” Well then I guess that means the AL is wrong about everything she said since a stupid censor found the AL’s arguments to be illuminating. Nope, can’t have illumination. Move on. The people supporting the AL are stupid censors. Let’s all just ignore the AL. You’re right, “anonymous.”

  61. anonymous says:

    re: So I’ve been called a stupid censor by “anonymous”< <

    Don’t be disingenuous. A lot of people have called you out. I didn’t call you stupid, but censorship is your middle name. You hijacked a number of AL threads because you can’t attract a readership for your own blog any other way, and you no doubt see a window of opportunity to expand your spam by hijacking AL’s threads on LJ. It’s so transparent. You didn’t fool AL’s readers and you’re not fooling LJ’s either.

  62. Dan Kleinman of SafeLibraries.org says:

    Thanks, “anonymous,” for disclosing you are the same stalker that besmirches me everywhere you can on the AL’s former blog, and now here at the LJ. Obviously, I’m saying thinks that you really want people to ignore, “spam by hijacking,” as you call it. But I’m in good company. You treat the AL and even the LJ worse than me! You said, “At least you’re trackable to a name, and your clearly politicized apologies for proactive censorship can be evaluated and rejected on their merits. Or lack thereof, of course. Not so with AL. LJ should be ashamed.” Apparently, you hold me in higher esteem than the AL and the LJ, which you say “should be ashamed”! All I can say, “anonymous,” is that you besmirch yourself.

  63. anonymous says:

    re: Obviously, I’m saying thinks that you really want people to ignore, “spam by hijacking,” as you call it< <

    Actually, I want everyone who doesn’t understand just what you are all about to visit your site, judge for themselves your credentials (or more to the point, the lack thereof), and see just how far you go to promote censorship and suppression of ideas. Light of day and all that.
    Hey, everyone, visit safelibraries.org and gaze in amazement.
    People who look at you can, do, and have made up their minds about your agenda. People can evaluate you because you’re not anonymous (unlike AL).
    But I think it is disgraceful the extent to which the only way you can seem to promote your fringe agenda is to hijack the comment sections of others. Because quite frankly, not a lot of people are interested in your agenda once they understand what it is. Otherwise, you’d have AL’s readership. But you don’t, and I call it spam. Who is the stalker here? You stalk whichever blog you think gives your fringe views exposure. You litter the blogosphere trolling for disciples.

    Of course, it won’t suprise me at this point if LJ offers you a column. All that ad revenue is seductive. But, enough is enough.

  64. Dan Kleinman of SafeLibraries.org says:

    Anonymous said, “I think it is disgraceful the extent to which the only way you can seem to promote your fringe agenda is to hijack the comment sections of others.” Everyone can look at this post, or any other. I do not “hijack.” Yes, I listed my web site, but you praise that for identifying the source, then you use that to attack the AL for remaining anonymous, all the while publishing your own comments as “anonymous.” I raise issues directly related to the issue at hand, unless I’m joining in obvious fun, or here where I provided a little technical advice. If I have discussed it myself, I point to it. Just like everyone else does who is not “anonymous.” Further, I find a number of people either agreeing with me, or making substantially similar arguments themselves. The AL, e.g. Are they also “fringe”? The only hijacking going on is the apparent incessant ad hominem argument of this one person, “anonymous,” who complains about me, the AL, and especially about the LJ. He has effectively turned the discussion away from libraries using “selection” to promote one side of an issue and quash another side of an issue, as was the subject matter of the AL’s blog post. Instead, he has turned all eyes to me in an ad hominem fashion, then claims that I do this myself by “hijacking.” Okay, he can do that, but that does not change how wrong it is for libraries to use “selection” to weed out material with which they disagree politically. That needs to be addressed. That’s what the AL was saying, among other things. That’s why the LJ is providing an open forum for the discussion of such issues–you’ll notice the ALA’s own OIF blog allows for no comments, no intellectual freedom. And that’s why “anonymous” attacks the AL, the LJ, and me again and again and again. Obviously, he feels there is great truth in what the AL has written or he would not feel the need to tell people to “move on” then attack them when they don’t.

  65. Kat says:

    I personally don’t really care what Safe Libraries has to say here; if I don’t wish to read it, I don’t. From what I do understand, however, is that the Safe Libraries movement is aI personally don’t really care what Safe Libraries has to say here; if I don’t wish to read it, I don’t. From what I do understand, however, is that the Safe Libraries movement is appalled at the lack of ALA support for librarians, parents, and even children in the face of pedophiles and other perpetrators of crimes against humanity in our public libraries.

    I don’t really care how Dan goes about expressing this issue to other people or how Dan personally feels about this issue and how to solve it himself; the issue itself is the most important aspect. In the event you don’t think people care: I guarantee you that people do care. I for one do care. And all our parents who refuse to come to the library anymore, or let their children come to our libraries anymore, also care.

    If you haven’t noticed, even though the AL does not have the star encrusted credentials you crave, her voice carries to a rather large audience. If there wasn’t truth to what the AL was saying, then how can you explain her successful blog? How can you dismiss the numerous voices that have expressed similar concerns in the comments section? How can you explain the fact that now the AL is hosted by the LJ?

    But we shall ignore these momentary issues at this moment. We know how to do that because we are all adults here and we can discern the main issue from the side issues and the main issue at hand is the use of selection in censorship. I cannot be completely sure what AL’s stance is on this issue, but sounds to me like it is the same as any sane librarian across the nation. Selection by Collection Development is not censorship because it is an objective method to develop a meaningful library based upon set library policy and not advocacy for any issue. Banning can only occur once the library has been put on the library shelf.

    The AL and many others tend to forget that librarians are living breathing human too just like everyone else. This means they may very well have a moral axe to grind and a political agenda they want to see advanced to the highest courts on earth and beyond. These people understand that if the book never sees the light of day on the library shelf, it cannot be challenged and then banned, which is censorship. It is censorship because for every library, there is at least one person who cannot access information anywhere else on earth.

    Indeed, it seems we still have not solved the great philosophical problems of freedom and intellectual access even though many including Wengert, Ortega y gasset, Mills, and many others have tried to form a meaningful idealistic definition that meets the demands of reality. The truth, I do believe, is that we still do not have the answer and we never truly will. While we would like to think that information is by default inert and harmless and thus should be freely available to all, we then have to acknowledge that in the wrong hands information can become extremely hazardous or lead to dire consequences, and thus we must keep some information where those who are not capable of handling it responsibly cannot access it. Otherwise, they may see something that could be harmful to their development or create something that could threaten our peaceful existence. Naturally, putting the information on the shelf violates the community’s sensitivities and sane concerns, but then not putting it on the shelf violates the right of access argument as defined by the ALA literature and liberal rights agendas. It’s a no win situation either way.

    Anonymous, please, go find yourself a bridge and stay there. Or on the other hand, you can take steps towards advancing the knowledge of mankind and contribute to the actual issues that are at hand.

    Then again, if a great booming voice started speaking to you one night, wishing to deliver a great epic quest, or reveal to you the words of revelation, you strike me as the kind of the person who would first request a credential file along with a current curriculum vitae and a full list of recent A-list publications. After that, you would demand contact information for at least three references and four former employers.
    As if this is not enough, you would request a full FBI background check and an active fingerprint clearance card, in addition to a photo ID, a Social Security card or equivalent, and an original birth certificate all of which you will photocopy and place in your personnel file labeled “Anonymous Voice” and already placed in the “Dismiss” drawer of the file cabinet. In the meanwhile, the voice has moved on and sought out another hapless soul to bring misery upon by sharing with them the great wisdom of the universe.

    The world is speaking; stop arguing and start LISTENING!

    Good night; may you have a good one,
    Mr. Kat

    P.S. I paid for my degree and iy came with a no money back guarantee. I’m not giving it back, I’m going to stand up and speak of what they have taught me so that others know what they may expect when they take the journey for it themselves!

    P.S.S. This post was 5379 characters long, written twice because the first time the LJ progamming lost my information. Do I retyped it in word, transfered it to textpad, and then pasted it here. Much better!ppalled at the lack of ALA support for librarians, parents, and even children in the face of pedophiles and other perpetrators of crimes against humanity in our public libraries.

    I don’t really care how Dan goes about expressing this issue to other people or how Dan personally feels about this issue and how to solve it himself; the issue itself is the most important aspect. In the event you don’t think people care: I guarantee you that people do care. I for one do care. And all our parents who refuse to come to the library anymore, or let their children come to our libraries anymore, also care.

    If you haven’t noticed, even though the AL does not have the star encrusted credentials you crave, her voice carries to a rather large audience. If there wasn’t truth to what the AL was saying, then how can you explain her successful blog? How can you dismiss the numerous voices that have expressed similar concerns in the comments section? How can you explain the fact that now the AL is hosted by the LJ?

    But we shall ignore these momentary issues at this moment. We know how to do that because we are all adults here and we can discern the main issue from the side issues and the main issue at hand is the use of selection in censorship. I cannot be completely sure what AL’s stance is on this issue, but sounds to me like it is the same as any sane librarian across the nation. Select

  66. Kat says:

    *Previous Post needs to be deleted. Sorry about that.*

    I personally don’t really care what Safe Libraries has to say here; if I don’t wish to read it, I don’t. From what I do understand, however, is that the Safe Libraries movement is appalled at the lack of ALA support for librarians, parents, and even children in the face of pedophiles and other perpetrators of crimes against humanity in our public libraries.

    I don’t really care how Dan goes about expressing this issue to other people or how Dan personally feels about this issue and how to solve it himself; the issue itself is the most important aspect. In the event you don’t think people care: I guarantee you that people do care. I for one do care. And all our parents who refuse to come to the library anymore, or let their children come to our libraries anymore, also care.

    If you haven’t noticed, even though the AL does not have the star encrusted credentials you crave, her voice carries to a rather large audience. If there wasn’t truth to what the AL was saying, then how can you explain her successful blog? How can you dismiss the numerous voices that have expressed similar concerns in the comments section? How can you explain the fact that now the AL is hosted by the LJ?

    But we shall ignore these momentary issues at this moment. We know how to do that because we are all adults here and we can discern the main issue from the side issues and the main issue at hand is the use of selection in censorship. I cannot be completely sure what AL’s stance is on this issue, but sounds to me like it is the same as any sane librarian across the nation. Selection by Collection Development is not censorship because it is an objective method to develop a meaningful library based upon set library policy and not advocacy for any issue. Banning can only occur once the library has been put on the library shelf.

    The AL and many others tend to forget that librarians are living breathing human too just like everyone else. This means they may very well have a moral axe to grind and a political agenda they want to see advanced to the highest courts on earth and beyond. These people understand that if the book never sees the light of day on the library shelf, it cannot be challenged and then banned, which is censorship. It is censorship because for every library, there is at least one person who cannot access information anywhere else on earth.

    Indeed, it seems we still have not solved the great philosophical problems of freedom and intellectual access even though many including Wengert, Ortega y gasset, Mills, and many others have tried to form a meaningful idealistic definition that meets the demands of reality. The truth, I do believe, is that we still do not have the answer and we never truly will. While we would like to think that information is by default inert and harmless and thus should be freely available to all, we then have to acknowledge that in the wrong hands information can become extremely hazardous or lead to dire consequences, and thus we must keep some information where those who are not capable of handling it responsibly cannot access it. Otherwise, they may see something that could be harmful to their development or create something that could threaten our peaceful existence. Naturally, putting the information on the shelf violates the community’s sensitivities and sane concerns, but then not putting it on the shelf violates the right of access argument as defined by the ALA literature and liberal rights agendas. It’s a no win situation either way.

    Anonymous, please, go find yourself a bridge and stay there. Or on the other hand, you can take steps towards advancing the knowledge of mankind and contribute to the actual issues that are at hand.

    Then again, if a great booming voice started speaking to you one night, wishing to deliver a great epic quest, or reveal to you the words of revelation, you strike me as the kind of the person who would first request a credential file along with a current curriculum vitae and a full list of recent A-list publications. After that, you would demand contact information for at least three references and four former employers.
    As if this is not enough, you would request a full FBI background check and an active fingerprint clearance card, in addition to a photo ID, a Social Security card or equivalent, and an original birth certificate all of which you will photocopy and place in your personnel file labeled “Anonymous Voice” and already placed in the “Dismiss” drawer of the file cabinet. In the meanwhile, the voice has moved on and sought out another hapless soul to bring misery upon by sharing with them the great wisdom of the universe.

    The world is speaking; stop arguing and start LISTENING!

    Good night; may you have a good one,
    Mr. Kat

    P.S. I paid for my degree and iy came with a no money back guarantee. I’m not giving it back, I’m going to stand up and speak of what they have taught me so that others know what they may expect when they take the journey for it themselves!

    P.S.S. This post was 5379 characters long, written twice because the first time the LJ progamming lost my information. Do I retyped it in word, transfered it to textpad, and then pasted it here. Much better!

  67. AL says:

    Brevity is the soul of comments.

  68. blogpro says:

    Some people just love to hear themselves talk. Please stop hijacking this public space and limit your posts to a reasonable length.

  69. hathead says:

    waal, i’m a school librarian, and i would be likely to add both gift books mentioned, if i didn’t have any books which presented that point of view (and we don’t), and as long as none of the books used derogatory language or putdowns to make their point (that would be my criteria for any book about any social group). everyone is entitled to their opinion, and most use whatever research, statistics, and anecdotal information support their point of view, regardless of the scholarship (or lack thereof) behind them. this includes both liberal and conservative who present their viewpoints.

    that being said, i would not actively seek these books out to buy. what does that say about my selection process? if someone felt strongly enough to give gift books which presented a point of view which was lacking in my collection (and our selection policy states that we are committed to a diversity of viewpoints), i would add them in. they would sit next to the books which present gayness in a positive light. students can read whatever they like and make up their own minds. my philosophy is, the more the merrier (and i have the shelf space to encourage this). after five years, anything which hadn’t circulated would be weeded out. same as any other nonfiction book in that section.

    agreed: bad writing is no reason not to keep a book or buy a book, as most books published nowadays are poorly written. disagreed: huckleberry finn is essentially an anti-slavery book (if i remember 20 years back correctly), so a careful reading shouldn’t make an african american person feel bad about him/herself. we all know the ”

  70. Win says:

    HippieMan commented:
    One more thing…this idea about not caring about offending Christians is complete and utter bunk.
    <

  71. anymous says:

    re: then you use that to attack the AL for remaining anonymous, all the while publishing your own comments as “anonymous.” <<

    If and when LJ starts paying me to write, I’ll sign my name. Would that others do the same.

  72. Patron says:

    I had no idea librarians are generally so intolerant!

  73. Kat says:

    Patron, not only are they intolerant, but they are unwilling to discuss the core issues.

    And I bet there are far more librarians advancing one political agenda or another then we would like to think in our libraries around the nation. In the real everyday world we live in, the citizens are the legislative branch; the police and the lawyers are the executive branch. Librarians are our Judicial branch, so long as they keep that responsibility and do not abuse it – in either direction.

    Instead they would rather sit abound and belittle each other to death as if that would make their personal viewpoint the correct one. It’s sad.

  74. heh says:

    It’s not surprising your avatar is a cat because you are a pussy. If you have such strength in your convictions, you should identify yourself. Nice job setting up your little bully pulpit, AL. You are a joke among our profession, and not a particularly funny one. Shame on LJ for giving you a platform.

  75. heh says:

    It’s not surprising your avatar is a cat because you are a pussy. If you have such strength in your convictions, you should identify yourself. Nice job setting up your little bully pulpit, AL. You are a joke among our profession, and not a particularly funny one. Shame on LJ for giving you a platform.

  76. librarydude says:

    MEOW!!!!

  77. ReACTIONary says:

    RE:And how is that any different than African American students feeling inferior by having Huckleberry Finn on the shelves?

    Huckleberry Fin is not donated to libraries by the KKK to further a hateful political agenda. If the KKK did dontate a hateful book that did insult African American students, it wouldn’t be accepted, and just for that reason. I would imagine that the same would be true for a book that was disrespectful towards Christians, Muslims, or other religious sects.

    The example is specious.

  78. merriwyn says:

    ok everyone, reality check here. The Annoyed Librarian is a persona, this is satire. Get over it. I am very much over the ‘ooh you are anonymous’ thing now. There is no Annoyed Librarian.

  79. NotMarianTheLibrarian says:

    AL, let me recommend Hendricks. Not that lots of bars have it here in San Antonio, but it’s the best gin I’ve ever had. (I usually have to settle for Bombay Sapphire …)

  80. heh says:

    I’m sorry AL, I didn’t mean to call you a pussy. I was drunk when I wrote my hateful comment above. Can I buy you a drink?

  81. Dan Kleinman of SafeLibraries.org says:

    “Conservative groups” and their “biased” books are not allowed in public school libraries, but it appears (won’t know until I see this for myself) that school textbooks now contain 15 page sections on Barack Obama!! Anyone complaining about bias now?

    See gatewaypundit.blogspot.com/2008/10/unreal-new-8th-grade-english-textbooks.html

    Or see
    realdebatewisconsin.blogspot.com/2008/10/racine-schools-hand-out-textbook-with.html

  82. devil's advocate says:

    I’m all for including books from any point of view, especially on controversial subjects.

    I find it interesting, though that one argument against including these particular books is that the kids are being put up to this as puppets.

    From the Washington Post article:

    “Focus on the Family selected and supplied the books. The teenagers assembled yesterday did not say they had read any of them.”

    Now, some of you will argue semantics and claim that the wording also doesn’t say that they hadn’t read them.

    But it seems to me that if the kids are going to push for adding the books to the library’s collection, they ought to read ‘em or step aside and let the adults argue about it.

  83. Library Mermaid says:

    Ah heck, just donate me some of those bad boys but stick a Starbucks gift card in between the pages, wink wink, nod nod.

  84. Mr. Kat says:

    Dan, I don’t think you can really call it bias; based upon the facts, Barack Obama is the first African American to get this far in an American Presidential Election. Furthermore, his past history makes him a prime candidate for inspirational showcases within history books in the same mold as George Washington Carver or any of those other “inspirational leaders” they showcase in our history books.

    What is YOUR objection to this? Before you make your objection, let me straighten you out on one rule in the 21st century. If you are a white male, I’m truely sorry, but this decade is not the era of including the white male alongside all other new additions to the historical halls of fame. Since the white male has been “in control” for so long, now is time for the white male to stand back and let others take the spotlight – because that is how the PC-world way works – we ALL take our turns!!

    Last I checked though, Nature Doesn’t “Take turns.” It’s all about opportunity, strategy, and LUCK! This will pass.

  85. CS says:

    Thank you, Annoyed Librarian!

  86. I am annoyed too says:

    I am also annoyed and a librarian.

    Do I get any thanks?

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