Don’t take my words for it, you can check out all of the “edgy” ads for the new Minneapolis Public Library on the Friends of the Library site. Apparently at least the Mao image is on hold for now. I was asked by a reporter, completely seriously, if my objecting to these ads was the same as taking a book off the library shelves because I disagreed with what it said. I assured her that it was not.

Are Mao and Hoover the best you can do to advertise the library

Minneapolis Public Library’s friends group has a new campaign hyping the new library they’ll be opening next year. It features Mao and Hoover, assumedly because they were librarians. There’s an email campaign that finds the “edgy” approach these ads take bordering on offensive. From my inbox:

The Iibrary is supposed to stand for freedom of information, access to all, and democracy. Mao and Hoover are the antithesis of these things – both of them ruined many lives, prevented free speech, and used fear to gain power. Mao killed, tortured and imprisoned thousands of people. Hoover was instrumental in doing surveillance against people during the McCarthy era. He spied on Martin Luther King, and was a bigot, a homophobe, and a racist. In the 60’s, during the Berrigan brothers’ trial he even had a real librarian imprisoned because she refused to testify against them! Why then, use these people’s images – at all- when there’s so many better people to pick from?