February 17, 2018

Beware the “Nonpartisan” Voters’ Guide, PA Librarians Learn

By LJ Staff

The Pennsylvania Family Institute, which supports "traditional" values, recently sent thousands of copies of its voters’ guide to the District Library Centers at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP) to distribute to branches in its system and libraries in the country. A staffer at the CLP, who was sick and distracted (according to deputy director Gladys Maharam), looked cursorily at them and directed a colleague to send a message offering packets of 50 guides to libraries in the district. That led to a backlash from librarians who looked more closely and concluded that the group wasn’t nonpartisan like the League of Women Voters (LWV), which frequently supplies such guides. So Maharam sent a message last week advising librarians of the organization’s agenda, contrasting it to organizations like the LWV, but telling them they could distribute the guides if they think it appropriate. Maharam told LJ she received a few emails thanking her for the clarification.