A few weeks ago I wrote about Readingclubgate, where the director of a library was so dissatisfied that a child kept winning the summer book club competition that she wanted to change the rules of the game.
Instead of the winner being the person who read the most books, the winner would be the child whose name was picked out of a hat.
The librarian’s plot was foiled only when the news went public after a library aide told the child’s mother about it and the mother went to the press. She’d have never been caught if it weren’t for those meddling kids, she was probably heard muttering to herself. Or was it that the security guard found that tape over the door lock? Whatever.
There were a lot of comments suggesting numerous possible revisions of the reading club that would have shared the glory without focusing attention on the past winner.
Maybe some of those changes will be implemented by the new library director, because the old one isn’t working there anymore. It isn’t clear whether she was fired or resigned, but the negative publicity she received nationally for what she probably thought was a small local matter couldn’t have helped her employment situation.
Guess who also isn’t working at that library anymore? The library aide who spoke out about the strange policy change. The story’s available in several locations, but MSN is the only one with a headline that doesn’t falsely claim a librarian was fired. The local news site questions whether the 79-year-old library aide was fired because she exercised her freedom of speech.
Although we can’t know the truth of both the director and the library aide leaving, it seems plausible that they were both fired, one for bringing such negative attention to the library because of her own questionable actions, and the other for bringing attention to the questionable actions themselves.
The ALA Council has been bombarded of late by SRRT resolutions supporting whistleblowers, by which they mean people like Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden, who may or may not be whistleblowers, but who are definitely not librarians or library workers.
Maybe the SRRT will put forward a resolution supporting Lita Casey, an actual whistleblower in a library who has apparently been punished for it.
This isn’t quite as weird as the witch hunt in Minnesota a couple of weeks ago. That seems to have been a library administration going after a librarian for exercising some intellectual freedom, which librarians are supposed to think a good thing.
This case is less ironic because library board members usually aren’t librarians. You’d hope that library board members would be committed to the values of intellectual freedom and free speech, but then you’d hope education board members would be committed to education.
Such is not always the case, it seems.