Archive for the 'haters' Category

book burning threat makes headlines in WI challenge dispute

I read this CNN article about a group in Wisconsin who has been fighting with the West Bend Community Memorial Library over the group’s desire to have a long list of YA books moved to the adult section of the library. Their challenge failed, but there’s a lawsuit pending.

The news article has the predictable all-over-the-place approach to the issue but it seems that this is one of those fights that has everything including outraged parents, a beleaguered library board whose members don’t have their terms renewed, assertion of First Amendment rights, threats of book burning, and a lot of homophobic-sounding nastiness. The article, though on the web, also doesn’t seem to understand the usefulness of hyperlinks to telling a story that is playing out on the web so I have added them here

I really wish the library or the city had more accessible public statements about this whole ongoing mess.

Summer Reading Program Cancelled – Harassing phone calls likened to “bomb threats”

Having a policy for when you do and do not limit access to materials is always a good thing. This includes your book selection policy, your Internet use policy and your “when do we cancel a summer program when we’re getting harassed by people who think yoga is a religion”? I understand that dealing with a steady stream of phone calls and emails is unpleasant for the South Carolina library that cancelled its summer reading program due to this type of harassment from one local church, but I really wish they’d taken more of a stand and not likened this sort of pressure from one aggressive group as tantamount to a bomb threat.

The librarians got nervous and decided to cancel all the Thursdays.

“They were talking about picketing the library,” the library system director told a newspaper reporter.

The minister said he didn’t mean things to go that far, that he and his congregation had no problem with all the other Thursdays, only the evil tarot card one.

“We weren’t against the reading program at all,” he told the reporter. “We just want our children being taught the right things …”

Reed Elsevier to stop organizing arms fairs

Rory has more information at Library Juice and you can read this earlier post concerning the controversy regarding Elsevier’s involvement in “organizing weapons trade shows attended by representatives of the world’s militaries.” They got pressured, people sent a petition. They backed down. I think this is sort of good news.

Flickr, patron complaints about

Are you a library that has gotten one of the cut-n-paste emails warning about “hardcore and even child porn” images on Flickr? Do you host a library-oriented group that has suddenly had an inundation of inappropriate (and possibly pornographic) pictures from users unknown to you? If so, you are not alone. Libraries and librarians have set up a discussion forum in this Flickr group to talk tactics. Michael Stephens has some backstory about the problem on ALA TechSource, particularly concerning as we watch DOPA inexorably move through Congress.

Educate your users—your community—about the good and bad of social software. I’d much rather give a roadmap and some guidance to someone instead of blocking access.

Jo Ann Pinder fired from Gwinnett library system in Georgia

I’ve been following the controversial story of Jo Ann Pinder’s firing this week. It’s a chiling story about the director of the Gwinnett County Public Library with 15 years of exceptional service fired by a 3 to 5 board vote, without cause. Her library system had been named Library of the Year by Library Journal in 2000.

Most people point to one board member and her influence over other members as the incentive for this move. Others point to the GCPLwatch website which clearly is concerned with issues like filtering [GCPL does filter], porn, the Boy Scouts and the American Library Association. Their issues page points to a “what’s wrong with ALA” article written by the folks at Family Friendly Libraries (whose website has been down all week for some reason). Their argument about ALA seems to focus on issues like ALA’s support of collections and displays containing information on Gay History (calling the Stonewall Awards “garbage”), books that are “expensive pop culture mind polluters” and the “hypocrisy” of the Intellectual Freedom Manual. The GCPLwatch.org URL is registered to Warren Furlow who has wanted to “harmonize the library system with conservative values” of the community. Other contacts for that group include Judy Craft, a local Family Friendly Library advocate who complained abotu the library providing books in Spanish, among other things.

This firing is bringing to the forefront a larger issue that librarians and library professional organizations have been discussing forever: local control. If you and your library support gay people being treated just like anyone else, but your community doesn’t, what do you do? This came up in a Council meeting last year when Council was discussing what to do about states that were discussing withholding funding for libraries who didn’t restrict books on gay topics to adult collections only. Some chapter Councilors discussed how having ALA come out against this would make their jobs difficult and that they were trying to work from within organizations to change attitudes and hopefully also funding decisions. Another Councilor likened being asked to not speak out on this topic to the Jim Crow laws where racism and segregation were institutionalized in the South. I don’t think this is any different. While I’m willing to listen to anyone explain to me what other reason a library board might have to fire their director without cause, this seems like predjudice and hysteria that the library community should not remain silent on.

More from the blogosphere: Sarah Long, Kathleen de la Peña McCook, Karen Schneider, Annoyed Librarian (with comment from one of the gcpl watch folks), photos of the meeting from Michael Casey, GCPL branch manager. [bugmenot login info]

habla español @ your library?

Quick, what is the official language of the US? While Fox News would like to strongly imply that it’s English in their sympathetic coverage of the plight of the immigration reformers, it’s not. The Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform is outraged at Denver Public Library’s proposal to increase the numbers of bilingual staff and Spanish-language materials in areas with large Latino populations. They are calling for the resignation or termination of the head of Denver Public Library who is a REFORMA member. This is crazy talk. This is happening at the same time as the ALA Council, of which I am a proud member, passed a resolution in support of Immigrants’ Rights to Public Library Access mainly dealing with the REAL ID Act and making sure that libraries aren’t denying cards to people simply because they lack state-sponsored identification. [thanks eoin, lis]

noted (almost) without comment

I’m assuming this post means that Michelle Malkin didn’t like the Resolution on the Connection between the Iraq War and Libraries. This from someone who thinks my job involves “stacking books.” Good tip on the AALL conference blog though.

ick, hitler!

Remember, when you download internet porn…. [sfw]

some bad pending legislation

While we’re on the subject, let’s talk about some bad pending legislation that could affect libraries, privacy or access to information

  • The INDUCE Act – criminalizing copyright violating software/hardware [bill/commentary]
  • new FOIA exemptions [commentary]
  • Family Movie Act – allowing software censoring of DVDs without copyright violations [news article]
  • CAPPSII – profiling passengers [eff info]
  • US v. Councilman – email privacy rehearing sought [news article]
  • various SPY acts [commentary]

There is some good news, however, section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act will “sunset” a scant fifteen months from now along with many other parts of the USAPA.

sort of a wonder the domain wasn’t already taken

The Librarians Against Bush web site was launched on Independence Day and contains top notch sets of links and information ot help mobilize librarians [and educate everyone] about some of the harmful policies of the Bush administration.