Palin & Book Banning

Jessamyn writes:

I try to keep “who to vote for” politics pretty well off of this blog and prefer to discuss politics in general and better and worse strategies for promoting libraries in whatever political climate we happen to be in. People acutely interested in high level politics in the US who also work in libraries may be interested in this Time magazine article about Sarah Palin. I was very interested in this paragraph.

[Former Wasilla mayor] Stein says that as mayor, Palin continued to inject religious beliefs into her policy at times. “She asked the library how she could go about banning books,” he says, because some voters thought they had inappropriate language in them. “The librarian was aghast.” The librarian, Mary Ellen Baker, couldn’t be reached for comment, but news reports from the time show that Palin had threatened to fire her for not giving “full support” to the mayor. 

Usually I’m just happy to see libraries even mentioned in national level politics, but not like this. Mary Ellen Baker resigned from her library director job in 1999.

I tend to stay away from politics on TTW as well, but this noteworthy.

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9 thoughts on “Palin & Book Banning”

  1. I’ve found plenty not to like about Palin, but I read about the book banning on a couple of news sites and that just sealed the deal for me. I have dealt face to face with library patrons who wish to ban a particular book and we have a policy for them to make their request (I’ve never known anyone to succeed). To have the potential VP of the United States even suggest banning books is abhorrent to me. This is America – I thought we were fighting terrorism to avoid this type of mind control. Ladies and Gents–terrorism is alive and well in the USofA and it’s base is the Conservative Christian Coalition.

  2. Wow, wait a minute! As a fellow librarian who also happens to be fairly conservative and a Christian I have to respond to LibrarianToo. Believe me, as a librarian I am wary of a VP who has even thought of banning books…much less attempted to act on the thought. As an American I hold strongly to my belief that a democracy can only exist in a society where information is free to the masses. Once the government begins banning books and preventing the public from free access to information, our democracy is shattered. I believe that you will find MANY Christians who hold strongly to this view. We do not want our beliefs censored or banned any more than you want your beliefs censored. The strength of this democracy is the struggle (emphasis on struggle) to achieve this coexistence. When you jump from an article on Palin’s views on books (which, let me reiterate, I do not agree with!) to equating conservative Christians with terrorists, you are only contributing to fear mongering and polarizing sides, not addressing the issue. Please, speak up for political concerns and get involved…help to strengthen our country and our democracy by your involvement. But please refrain from equating your colleagues, who are fighting with you, with the enemy.

  3. FYI, from what I see on Politico, quoting the Frontiersman paper from 96, Palin didn’t actually ask how to go about banning books; rather, the question seemed to gauge the library director’s opinion of “living with” censorship. It seems that the question was asked but nothing was done:

    Palin Asked City Librarian About Censoring Books, Insisted It Was ‘Rhetorical.’ In 1996, according to the Frontiersman, Wasilla’s library director Mary Ellen Emmons said Palin asked her outright if she could live with censorship of library books. Emmons said, “This is different than a normal book-selection procedure or a book-challenge policy. … She was asking me how I would deal with her saying a book can’t be in the library.” Palin said in response, “Many issues were discussed, both rhetorical and realistic in nature.” [Frontiersman, 12/18/96]

  4. Here’s the thing: Palin says the discussion was “both rhetorical and realistic in nature.” Am I the only one who reads this and thinks she mean “hypothetical” and either doesn’t know the difference or doesn’t care…I have a hard time seeing how any discussion regarding censorship is rhetocial in nature.

  5. There was nothing “rhetorical” about Sarah Palin’s approach to banning books.
    This is exactly the kind of thing that should send real Americans right up the walls. We shouldn’t be suprized, though, rightwing republicans would love to control what we read…what we do…what we think.

    Real, honest Americans should see through this rightwing republican BS in the same way we all should have seen through George W. Bush during his first few months in office.

    Our Presidential Election is between Barack Obama and John McCain. The republicans would, obviously, believe it is something else entirely. Let’s not get fooled again.

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