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.

9 comments for “book burning threat makes headlines in WI challenge dispute

  1. 22Jul09 at 3:39

    Another tempest in a teapot. Those parents mounting the censorship campaign in West Bend, WI should realize that what they are doing is the best advertising there is as far as getting kids to read certain books. Moving them to the adult section and labeling them as “sexually explicit” would simply make them easier for the kids to find. The West Bend library should see a significant increase in teenage circulations this summer.

  2. 22Jul09 at 4:00

    Good blog post.

  3. G
    24Jul09 at 12:51

    Reminds me of the Tin Drum fight in OKC several years ago. I agree with Linda, all this does is attrack those with pruient interests.

  4. Kate
    26Jul09 at 10:54

    in high school, i read baby be-bop as well as many other francesca lia block books. in fact, i recall giving a copy of baby be-bop to a friend who was struggling with his sexuality at the time. he later thanked me and said that the book helped him a lot. while any suggestion of book burning is offensive, this one hit home especially hard for me. books like these help kids deal with things they might not be comfortable talking about and it is essential that they remain available in libraries.

  5. Kevin
    26Jul09 at 7:37

    Sigh. It’s incredibly depressing that 221 years after the ratification of the Constitution some people still don’t understand the First Amendment.

  6. 04Aug09 at 8:40

    I’m always bemused by this sort of thing. What these people don’t seem to understand is that you get the society you create. If people insist on creating endless rules and regulations, in the end you are going to end up with a very strict society.

  7. 21Aug09 at 3:26

    Hi Jessamyn (we met at the Yale Library 2.0 event).

    Thanks for posting this. I’ve been tracking this dispute, and have a timeline that your readers might find helpful: http://michaelzimmer.org/2009/06/16/west-bend-library-controversy-continues-to-escalate/

    Best,
    Michael Zimmer

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