Friday, December 25, 2015

Child Porn in Libraries Due to American Library Association Facilitation; Another Library Breaks the Law

The American Library Association [ALA] provides libraries with a model Internet Use Policy that facilitates child pornography viewing by advising librarians only judges can determine what is child pornography, not librarians, so do not help the police [EN 1].  ALA advice is followed by law firms that advise libraries not to report child pornography viewers to the police because that would violate the child porn viewers right to privacy [EN 2].  Law enforcement entities have noted ALA policy essentially aids and abets child porn crimes in public libraries [EN 3].

Many libraries follow ALA advice and, among other things, essentially end up defrauding the E-rate program that is funded by the "Universal Service Charge" that appears on all our telephone and Internet bills [EN 4].

A New Jersey library even set policy, following ALA guidance, ensuring children in the children's section of the library retain unfiltered access to the Internet despite an 11 year old boy viewing porn there [EN 5].

An Illinois library caught covering up child porn crimes was awarded for passing an ALA-like policy protecting child pornography viewing where the policy was passed during the Lincoln's Birthday holiday, a move ruled illegal by the Illinois Attorney General.  But that didn't stop ALA's wish to hold the library's policy up as a model for other libraries.  Hence, the library was literally awarded for breaking the law to facilitate child pornography viewing on the Internet [EN 6].


Not All Libraries Follow ALA's Child Porn Facilitation Advice

Fortunately, not all libraries follow ALA's advice to allow child porn viewing.  One Massachusetts library decided to preserve the evidence and call the police on a child porn viewer despite ALA procedures in place to hide the crime [EN 7].   Libraries that preserve evidence and help police apprehend child porn criminals never receive ALA awards of any kind; they do not even get covered in library media like Library Journal or ALA's own American Libraries.


Timberland Regional Library Is the Latest to Facilitate Child Porn

Unfortunately, the latest such library to be caught facilitating child pornography and breaking the law is the Timberland Regional Library, Tumwater, WA:


A Winlock man was arrested Tuesday after an FBI investigation revealed that he was allegedly using a social networking site and public library Internet service to send and receive child pornography.
....
Superior Court Judge Nelson Hunt ordered Schnacker held on $100,000 bail.  "This is clearly a community safety issue," he said. 
Hunt said he was particularly concerned about the allegation that Schnacker had used public Wi-Fi to access the images.
....
Further investigation showed that Schnacker accessed his Kik account from an IP address assigned to the Timberland Regional Library.
....
So the library's Wi-Fi was used for child porn trafficking.


Library Partly Responsible for Child Porn Trafficking; Defrauds CIPA

Turns out the library may be partly responsible.  Why?  It follows ALA guidelines that facilitate child porn and defrauds the E-rate program as a result.  The library is literally breaking the law to facilitate access to child pornography.

Here's the proof.  To collect E-rate funding for "Internet Access" under the Children's Internet Protection Act [CIPA], libraries must follow certain procedures to block images of Internet pornography, for example, requiring patrons to ask for Internet filters to be disabled if needed [EN 8]. In violation of that law, the library policy advises that the library "allows adults to turn off filters without staff intervention. [EN 9]"  That violates CIPA.  Yet the library still obtained E-rate funding for "Internet Access" in violation of the law.  Someone had to certify that the library was in compliance with the law when it is clearly stated in policy that it cannot not be.  In 2013, the library obtained $14,616 in E-rate funds for "Internet Access" in violation of the law [EN 10].  Same for $12,600 in 2014 and $29,400 in 2015.  That totals $56,616 in fraud.

Is it fair to send a man to jail for using an attractive nuisance created by the library in breaking the law and not stopped by the municipality that failed to stop the library from breaking the law?  If he goes to jail, is it fair that the library gets away with it and continues to violate the law, facilitate child pornography crimes, and defraud the federal government while doing so?  Will sending him to jail stop this from happening again in a case such as this where the library facilitates a crime and the municipality lets it go on?


Today is Christmas

Today is Christmas.  It is a day libraries are closed nationwide.  On the few days libraries are closed nationwide, those are the few days libraries are not facilitating child pornography by following ALA guidance.

This Timberland Regional Library matter reported yesterday is just the latest instance.  Had the library followed the law [EN 11] instead of ALA guidance [EN 1], chances are the trafficking of child pornography might never have happened in the first place.  In other words, defense attorneys ought to consider whether 1) public libraries following ALA guidelines, 2) the municipalities that let them get away with lawlessness [EN 11], and 3) perhaps ALA itself are partially at fault.


The Law Should Hold Sway In a Public Library, Not ALA Guidance

The moment people realize the law should hold sway in a public library, not ALA guidance, that's the day ALA loses its ability to facilitate child pornography in public libraries nationwide.

Killing the ghost of the ALA that facilitates child porn in libraries:
"The Ghost of Judith Krug Continues to Haunt America's Libraries Today"

Endnotes

[EN 1] "Guidelines and Considerations for Developing a Public Library Internet Use Policy," by Office for Intellectual Freedom, American Library Association, 26 March 2013, emphasis in original:
Libraries and librarians are not in a position to make those decisions for library users or for citizens generally.  Only courts have constitutional authority to determine, in accordance with due process, what materials are obscenity, child pornography, or “harmful to minors.”
....
As for obscenity and child pornography, prosecutors and police have adequate tools to enforce criminal laws.  Libraries are not a component of law enforcement efforts naturally directed toward the source, i.e., the publishers, of such material.
[EN 2] "A Patron is Viewing What Appears to be Child Pornography On a Library Computer; What Should be Done?," by Klein, Thorpe and Jenkins, LTD, Library Law, 27 April 2011:
Accordingly, even if the library employs a computer technician who could demonstrate that the patron was viewing child pornography on the computer, this is not a reportable criminal offense, the library's computer technician is not under any statutory reporting obligation, and the Library's Records Confidentiality Act may be violated if such a report is made. 
[EN 3] "Ongoing Survey of Law Enforcement re: ISP's Responses to Subpoena and Search Warrant Requests," by Frank Kardasz, Ed.D., Dr. Frank Kardasz (Ed.D.), 12 February 2008.
3. In July 2007 a Colorado Internet crimes against children investigator reported that Denver Public Libraries destroy data after each patron logs off of the libraries computers. Investigators are unable to obtain any information about library computer users. In the past year, three child pornography cases have been unresolved due to lack of information. Arizona investigators report the same situation at Phoenix Public Libraries. Child pornography incidents that have been traced to public libraries are often unresolved because libraries do not enable simple logging features that retain basic information about computer users.
See also: "Child Porn Trafficking in Public Libraries; Libraries Actively Thwart Child Porn Investigations," by Dan Kleinman, SafeLibraries, 24 June 2009.

And see: "School Library Child Porn Arrest Story by Associated Press Features Police Expert Dr. Frank Kardasz, Thanks to SafeLibraries," by Dan KleinmanSafeLibraries, 10 March 2013, quoting from source:
Frank Kardasz, retired commander of the Arizona Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, said his task force worked dozens of cases involving people viewing or trafficking child pornography while using public and college library computers.  
The problem is tough to police because of the imperfect nature of Internet filtering devices and pushback from free-speech advocates who believe adults should have the right to view adult pornography in libraries, he said, adding that any place offering wireless Internet connections "is an opportunity for child pornography offenders to traffic contraband images."  
"My experience is that some, not all, libraries underreport the offenses because they do not wish to bring attention nor police involvement to their facility," said Kardasz, founder and director of the Phoenix-based Cyberspace Child Protection Campaign. "Also, because many offenders are nefarious enough to avoid apprehension, there are probably more offenses occurring than we are aware of."
[EN 4] "In the Matter of Modernizing the E-rate Program for Schools and Libraries, WC Docket No. 13-184," by Dan Kleinman, SafeLibraries, 16 September 2013.

[EN 5] "Library Approves Unfiltered Computers in Children's Section," by Dan KleinmanSafeLibraries, 21 November 2015, quoting the Westfield Memorial Library Board of Trustees:
The Special Ad-Hoc Committee to Examine the use of Filtering Computers in the Children's Section of the Westfield Memorial Library recommends no additional changes at this time.  The committee further recommends that if additional Internet accessible computers are added to the Children's Section that a 50% ratio of filtered and non-filtered computers be maintained.
[EN 6] "Orland Park Public Library Still Covering Up Child Porn," by Dan KleinmanSafeLibraries, 21 November 2015.

[EN 7] "Commonwealth v Crayton: Librarians Report Child Porn and Preserve Computer Evidence for Police," by Dan KleinmanSafeLibraries, 28 December 2014, regarding the Cambridge Public Library, Cambridge, MA.

[EN 8] United States v. American Library Association, 539 US 194 (2003).

[EN 9] "Compliance Measures for Children's Internet Protection Act and Neighborhood Children's Internet Protection Act," by Timberland Regional Library Board of Trustees, Timberland Regional Library, 18 February 2004.

[EN 10] "Search Commitments," by Schools and Libraries (E-rate), Universal Service Administrative Company, undated.

[EN 11] Existing state laws have language in place the precludes porn in public libraries.  ALA never, ever reports this as it would completely and instantly destroy its ability to facilitate child pornography in public libraries.  For example, in Washington, the home state of the Timberland Regional Library that facilitates child porn trafficking as seen in The Chronicle story, RCW 27.12.210 states that library boards of trustees may only do "acts necessary for the orderly and efficient management and control of the library."  According to the US Supreme Court case US v. ALA [EN 8], pornography has traditionally been blocked from public libraries.  So pornography is obviously not "necessary for the orderly and efficient management and control of the library."  The municipality should act to force the library to comply with the law and can do so without piercing the library's veil of autonomy to act within the law.  To the extent municipalities fail to stop ultra vires actions of libraries such as by facilitating child pornography in violation of the law, municipalities may and should become a target for defense attorneys in addition to libraries.


URL of this page: safelibraries.blogspot.com/2015/12/ALA.html

On Twitter:  @ALALibrary @Chronline @FBI @FCC @OIF @TRLDistrict

Monday, December 14, 2015

Librarians Hate Rush Limbaugh, Love Censorship of Rush Revere Books for Children; The Banned Books Week Hoax Continues

Librarians really hate Rush Limbaugh and really love censorship.  Below I present evidence of generalized hate throughout the librarian community, then I present visual evidence of a library hiding children's books by Mr. Limbaugh and the comments of the videographer.  Lastly I note "Banned Books Week" continues to be a hoax as one of its promoters is part of the Rush Revere censorship gang.

Librarians Love Censorship
of Rush Revere

Look at librarians discussing how disgusted they are that Rush Limbaugh's Rush Revere books for children are in public libraries.  Look how they champ at the bit to get rid of the books or to keep them out in the first place.

In a Facebook public group having almost 16,000 members called "ALA Think Tank" (where ALA means American Library Association), people really hate Rush Limbaugh and the award-winning Rush Revere series of books for children.  As a whole, they definitely do not display any semblance of professional librarianship, ethics, nor opposition to censorship.  It is apparent their personal political interests take precedence over the public good.  And they are in your public libraries, many serving children.

Here is a recent example (from which I obtained the graphic above right):

Hannah Elizabeth Ralston [NOTE: She authored the original post of 10 December 2015 to which the others shown below responded.]
Children's Library Assistant, Webster Public Library, Webster, NY;
Clerk, Victor Farmington Library, Victor, NY:
:( feeling concerned.  Today at work, I discovered that Rush Limbaugh writes YA historical fiction... the covers of which are adorned with historical "hero" figures flaunting Limbaugh's face superimposed over their own...  Not sure what to say about this.

James Tinder
Youth Services Librarian, Dixon Public Library, Dixon, CA:
They're terrible. I had to print out a professional review for a patron at my old job to show them why I didn't order the books.

Bill Wilson
Library Director, Milwaukee County Federated Library System, Milwaukee, WI:
I see both the horse's head and the horse's rear end. Where's Rush? Oh, that isn't the horse's rear end.

Amanda Coward
Adult Services Librarian, Van Buren Public Library, Van Buren, AR:
Yeah these are in my library... Ugh

Andy Woodworth
Head of Reference, Cherry Hill Public Library, Cherry Hill, NJ:
The best one on the series is "Rush Revere and the Time He Ordered The Black Woman to the Back of the Bus"

Tera Forrest
Youth Services Librarian, Crowell Public Library, San Marino, CA:
I'm embarrassed to admit we have them here. Can't wait to weed-er. suddenly find they've gone missing.

Renae Ault Siddle
Children's Services Manager, Salem Ohio Public Library, Salem, OH:
We have them. Only because I'm in a conservative community and patrons asked. I tried to not buy them but director insisted...I don't think they circ well at all.

For context, here are librarians displaying hatred for Rush Limbaugh in the past when discussing Rush Limbaugh's having won an award—see also the comments:



Libraries Oppose "Censorship" of Internet Porn in Children's Sections

This is in a profession that enables children having full access to the unfiltered Internet because it would supposedly violate their First Amendment rights to do otherwise, for example:
Some prominent librarians have spoken out to expose the profession on this issue:



Video Evidence of a Library Hiding Rush Revere Children's Books

SafeLibraries's co-author Kevin DuJan has specific experience with a public library intentionally blocking access to Rush Limbaugh's Rush Revere children's books.  The library cataloged Rush Revere children's books as adult political, then keep them locked up in a staff room, all to hide them from children.  This is the same library that he and Megan Fox exposed for covering up and still allowing child pornography viewing on the Internet after raising taxes and spending almost $1,000,000 to defend the practice: Orland Park Public Library, Orland Park, IL.  Watch the video:

Read Kevin DuJan's further explanation and commentary on the video and the library's censorship of Rush Limbaugh's Rush Revere children's books:
  1. I went to look for the Rush Limbaugh children's books, Rush Revere. I went to the children's area first. Mary Adamowski (the nice librarian in the video) told me that they had the books because she remembered seeing them. She went to the shelves to get them, where they should be, and she came back and said they were gone and someone must be using them. She said a lot of people ask about them. 
  2. Since I never trust anyone at that library, I went upstairs to the adult reference desk and asked for books by Rush Limbaugh. They did not have any, except for the large print version of one of his books from the 1990s. At first they did not say anything about Rush Revere books. I had to remind the reference librarian about the Rush Revere books. She said that if they had those, they would be in the adult section and said the computer showed that they were not checked out. Adamowski did not check the computer downstairs, she just went to where she knew they should be, so upstairs I found out the computer said they had those books. 
  3. We walked to the shelves and the Rush Revere books were not where they were supposed to be according to the computer, namely, the adult section. I asked why the books were not supposed to be in the children's section, where people would look for Rush Revere books. I did not tell the reference librarian what Mary Adamowski said that the books are supposed to be in the children's section. Evidently, they had them coded in the computer as being part of the adult political books section, because that's what the reference librarian saw in the computer. 
  4. We go back to the reference desk and I asked the reference librarian where the books could be if they are not on the shelves but the computer said they were not checked out. She responded she would ask her supervisor where they were. I thought that was strange. How would a supervisor know where the books were?
  5. At that point, library director Mary Weimar was alerted to my presence, appeared, and sat at that reference desk while the reference librarian went behind the locked staff door. I caught that part on video, where Weimar refused to answer my questions or recommend any books. She made herself look stupid. 
  6. The reference librarian came back and that's when she figured out they had a Rush book in the large print section. That was the only Rush book they had. So she took me over there. 
  7. In the large print area, they did have one old Rush book. But no regular print Rush books and they still didn't know where the Rush Revere books were. 
  8. Andrew Masura came over at that point and he said the Rush Revere books were kept in the back, in the staff area, and I couldn't have them because someone else wanted them. I asked him why they were not on the shelves and he just said they keep them in the back. 
  9. Andrew was really uncomfortable. I asked why the books were not kept on the shelves in the children's area where people would look for them and why the computer said they would be on the shelves in the adult area. He said he would look into it. 
  10. I never was physically able to see the copies of the Rush Revere books that they supposedly had. The computer said they should be on the shelves in the adult political area. Mary Adamowski said she had seen them on the shelves in the children's area before, but assumed someone was using them. Andrew Masura said they keep the Rush Revere books "in the back,” behind the locked staff door. He did not explain why ... but then made up a story about someone must need them so they put them aside. But that back area is NOT where they keep the books that people have on reserve, so that made no sense. The books on reserve are kept behind the checkout desk downstairs near the front entrance. 
  11. It seemed to me they were hiding those books. The system says they have them, but no one who wants them can find them. Because it was me who was asking [NOTE: Kevin DuJan is one of the whistleblowers of the child porn coverup by the library director and the library board of trustees for which no one has yet suffered any consequences], the reference librarian went to get a supervisor and the library director detected enough of a problem to personally appear and sit there. So something was definitely up.

Banned Books Week Hoax Ignores Rush Revere

The above video of a public library hiding Rush Revere books for children was made 25 September 2014, right during the American Library Association's annual "Banned Books Week" hoax, this one in 2014.  ALA didn't list Rush Revere as being banned in its 2015 list, further evidencing the hoax it is:
So right during "Banned Books Week" a public library is videotaped making it impossible to find Rush Revere children's books.  That was in 2014.  ALA did not include the book to its 2015 "Banned Books Week" hoax while I myself recorded a listed author revealing how ALA faked the 2010 BBW numbers to serve its own interests.  So opposition to censorship is not the ALA's purpose for "Banned Books Week."


Andy Woodworth: Defending the Freedom to Censor Books 
and Make Racist Comments About Rush Limbaugh


By the way, did you notice the librarian making the racist comment about "The Black Woman" to mock Rush Limbaugh and libraries carrying his books?  He worked directly with ALA to promote "Banned Books Week."  "Defend the Freedom to Read: It's Everybody's Job is an awareness campaign conceived by librarian and library activist Andy Woodworth.  OIF has collaborated with Woodworth and commissioned the creation of original art to help spread the word. "  [Footnote omitted.]
"With increased reporting, OIF will be able to better track challenges and removal patterns so as to advise members of the profession."  Yet here's Andy Woodworth not reporting to his own "awareness campaign" he created the censorship of Rush Revere books—instead he's joining in on the censorshipfest.   He's all for defending the freedom to read while defending the freedom to censor Rush Limbaugh books.  And he "collaborates" with ALA's so-called "Office for Intellectual Freedom."  So ALA is fully aware Rush Limbaugh books are being censored and is doing nothing about it—it won't even be mentioned during the annual "Banned Books Week" hoax.


Conclusion

When librarians oppose censorship, it is just for show designed to achieve a certain goal.  In reality, they are the censors.  I have written about numerous examples of librarians practicing censorship.  Above I presented evidence of librarians joyfully bragging about censorship.  I included videotaped evidence taken by my coauthor of a library hiding Rush Revere books.  That was during "Banned Books Week," further evidencing how it is a hoax.

This Rush Limbaugh instance is just the latest case of censorship by librarians, and the video evidence shows the censorship in action.  It is so common librarians brag about it openly on Facebook.  "I'm embarrassed to admit we have them here. Can't wait to weed-er. suddenly find they've gone missing." "I tried to not buy them but director insisted."

You can be sure no library media will cover this story of censorship by librarians.

Does your library have Rush Revere books?


NOTE ADDED 9 JANUARY 2016:

Here's more librarians hating Rush Limbaugh more, and many other prominent conservative authors—and admitting how they practice what they call censorship:

NOTE ADDED 7 FEBRUARY 2016:

When it comes to substantially similar behavior by a woman with respect to And Tango Makes Three for religious and general parenting reasons, suddenly librarians at ALA Think Tank are all up in arms to stop this woman, evidencing yet another double standard in librarianship:
I came across this ultra-conservative Catholic blogger who posted about "losing" library books and leaving "notes" in 50 Shades of Gray.

URL of this page:  safelibraries.blogspot.com/2015/12/librarians-hate-rush-limbaugh.html

On Twitter:  @ALALibrary @BannedBooksWeek @Limbaugh @MeganFoxWriter @OIF @OrlandPkLibrary @RushLimbaugh @StoryTimeDigita +Megan Fox +Kevin DuJan



Saturday, November 21, 2015

Library Approves Unfiltered Computers in Children's Section

[UPDATED 22 MARCH 2016; SEE BELOW] In what may be a national first, a public library has approved the use of unfiltered computers in the children's section of the library.

The library policy is to allow unfiltered computers in the library section designed and designated for children.

I present the information released to the public as to the stated reasoning for allowing unfiltered computers in the children's section of the library.

The wording of this document and the manner in which is was created and adopted as policy may be used as a model by library associations nationwide for other public libraries to begin to remove Internet filtering from computers in the children sections of libraries.  Hence this local issue is of national interest.

Below are the words of and a graphic of the document I received from the library's director the day after I attended its board meeting on 19 November 2015; the document was read to the public in attendance:


Westfield Memorial Library
550 East Broad Street
Westfield, NJ 07090-2197
T: (908) 789-4090
F: (908) 789-0921
www.wmlnj.org

Recommendation of the Special Ad-Hoc Committee to
Examine the Use of Filtering Computers in the Children’s Section of the
Westfield Memorial Library

The protection of minors is taken very seriously by the library’s Board of Trustees and the staff of the Westfield Memorial Library.  When the complaint that a child was accessing inappropriate websites in the Children’s Section of the library was first reported the staff and board acted promptly and responsibly.  Within 60 days, filtering software was identified, purchased, staff trained in its use and it was installed on 50% of the computers in the Children’s Section.

Additionally, the library’s Internet Use Policy was updated.  The updated policy was posted at all computers in the Children’s Section, clearly indicating which computers are filtered.  Procedures were created so that parents now receive the policy when registering their children for library cards, or updating existing cards.

The library began compiling statistical data that recorded the number of searches on the filtered computers as well as the number of “hits” that were blocked.  From May — September, 2015 almost 56,000 searches were conducted.  20 of the 56,000 searches were blocked.  The 20 blocked searches were generated from only 13 different websites.  During the months of August and September no sites were blocked.

During this period the library received no additional requests from the Westfield community to filter additional computers.

The Special Ad-Hoc Committee to Examine the use of Filtering Computers in the Children’s Section of the Westfield Memorial Library recommends no additional changes at this time.  The committee further recommends that if additional Internet accessible computers are added to the Children’s Section that a 50% ratio of filtered and non-filtered computers be maintained.

Finally, the Committee recommends that this issue be reviewed annually.

Additionally the library will look into conducting a program for the public on Internet safety.

- - - End of Recommendation - - -


Graphic of
Special Ad-Hoc Committee Recommendation

For context, below is a computer in the children's section of the library, the computer is one of the 50% that are filtered, the notice provided by the library is seen on the bookcase over the top left of the computer screen (you'll have to click on the picture to get a larger view because the writing is too small and too wordy to be effective as signage), and a simple search for the word "playboy" resulted in the display of a number of naked women (I did this to test and report on the efficacy of the filter and it clearly failed; there were no children present or I would not have conducted the test):

Picture of filtered computer in children's section of library,
and the display of the Internet Access Policy.

NOTE ADDED 22 MARCH 2016:

I have filed a lawsuit against the library for its violation of civil rights as comprised in the New Jersey Open Public Meeting Act [OPMA].  Here are the legal documents so far:



Monday, October 19, 2015

School Book Selection, Challenges, and Censorship

Letter: Regarding Reading Book Selection in Schools

October 16, 2015 


Regarding the issue of book “censorship” in the public school, key points should be considered that may not be heard from other sources.

When a book is challenged, reference should be made to the school’s book selection policy. Even the American Library Association’s creator of “Banned Books Week” said, “On rare occasion, we have situations where a piece of material is not what it appears to be on the surface and the material is totally inappropriate for a school library. In that case, yes, it is appropriate to remove materials. If it doesn’t fit your material selection policy, get it out of there.”

The US Supreme Court allows for the removal of “pervasively vulgar” books right away. Board of Education v. Pico does not allow the removal of books for the ideas they contain, but being pervasively vulgar is not an idea and such books may be removed immediately. There’s no need for a book reconsideration process to complete before removing such a book.

Further, book rating services are flawed for leaving out information about the potential for pervasive vulgarity. Common Sense Media does produce such a list but the American Library Association ordered all librarians to stop linking to that particular list. Besides, it’s a double standard to depend on third party ratings while at the same time ignoring what parents and school administrators are saying.

Know that multiple Harris Polls show the vast majority oppose sexually explicit books in public schools. The person who complains is often singled out as a “censor” when the reality is the vast majority agree with the “censor.” Besides, the issue is neither left nor right; all sides oppose sexually inappropriate materials in public schools.

Lastly, giving students an alternate book to read exposes the student and his family to bullying and the school to not providing a fair and equal education as required by law.

I hope this helps people make informed decisions since there are national organizations attempting to misinform people. Anyone may contact me should they wish to learn more.

Dan Kleinman,

Library Watchdog

SafeLibraries

Chatham, NJ



The Two River Times in the
Red Bank Public Library;
my Letter to the Editor




The above information on school book selection, challenges, and censorship in a nutshell was published in The Two River Times.  Below is much more detail in the full letter I wrote to a New Jersey school superintendent and others:

11 October 2015

Superintendent Dr. Peter Righi 
Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School 
74 Ridge Road 
Rumson, NJ 07760 
Via Electronic Communication 

Dear Dr. Righi and Members of the Board of Education,

I am writing to support your efforts regarding the Rumson-Fair Haven Regional (RFH) High School’s English curriculum vis-à-vis Ariel Dorfman’s play Death and the Maiden and Bernard MacLaverty’s novel Cal.

When a public school receives a challenge to reading material, there are several things to consider:

1)  The school’s own existing book selection policy should be examined to determine whether or not the book violates that policy.  If so, the book may be removed forthwith.  

Judith Krug, the American Library Association’s creator of Banned Books Week and the Freedom to Read Foundation, was once asked, “Are there ever instances when you think it's appropriate for a school to ban a book?”  She replied, “On rare occasion, we have situations where a piece of material is not what it appears to be on the surface and the material is totally inappropriate for a school library.  In that case, yes, it is appropriate to remove materials.  If it doesn't fit your material selection policy, get it out of there.”  “Marking 25 Years of Banned Books Week: An Interview with Judith Krughttp://safelibraries.blogspot.com/2011/09/marking-25-years-of-banned-books-week.html

2)  The means by which a school’s book selection policy is applied could be flawed in that book rating services do not account for the potential for sexually inappropriate content and in a case where one does, it was removed from a prominent web site of the American Library Association.  Here is a document from the American Library Association censoring Common Sense Media book ratings for containing information on the potential for sexual inappropriateness and ordering such ratings no longer be used by librarians: http://tinyurl.com/ALAblacklistsCSM 

Book rating services that are allowed do not provide the very information Common Sense Media was cut for providing, and at least one school recognized this flaw and acted accordingly by removing a book despite its having initially been believed to have met the school’s book selection policy based on book rating services: “School Excoriates Book Reviews that Fail to Disclose ‘Graphic Sexual Details’ in Books for Children; Lush by Natasha Friend is ‘Wildly Inappropriate’ for Certain Childrenhttp://safelibraries.blogspot.com/2010/12/school-excoriates-book-reviews-that.html


3)  The 1982 United States Supreme Court case of Board of Education v. Pico essentially allows for the immediate removal of “pervasively vulgar” books from public schools: http://laws.findlaw.com/us/457/853.html  That case justified the successful removal of a pervasively vulgar school book from the Rancocas Valley Regional High School in Mt. Holly, NJ, despite its having been vigorously defended by the library media specialist: “School Media Specialist Passes Sexual Content Review to Students; Dee Venuto Says It Is Discrimination to Keep Children From Material Including Lengthy, Vivid Descriptions of a Ménage a Troishttp://safelibraries.blogspot.com/2010/08/school-media-specialist-passes-sexual.html

Notably, the library media specialist who could not bring herself to read sexually exploitive material so she let her students do that and who decried “censorship” after the school removed a pervasively vulgar book, was given an award “for fighting against censorship” by the National Coalition Against Censorship [NCAC]: https://web.archive.org/web/20120516110610/http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/slj/newslettersnewsletterbucketextrahelping2/888482-477/ncac_honors_myracle_school_librarian.html.csp

4)  Books may be removed immediately.  There’s no need to leave the books in place until a final decision is made, as organizations like the American Library Association claim.  Let alone the US Supreme Court case that allows for immediately removal, there’s simple common sense.  When a third grader read about squirting sperm in a school book, the school principal and the school librarian removed it immediately while a former head of the state’s library association claimed the book should have been left available to children until a final decision was made: “School Removes Squirting Sperm Book After 8-Year-Old Complains To Her Motherhttp://safelibraries.blogspot.com/2011/05/school-removes-squirting-sperm-book.html

5)  Two Harris Polls spaced four years apart have twice shown the vast majority of people do not want sexually explicit materials in public schools: “Most Oppose Explicit Books in Public Schools Says Harris Pollhttp://tinyurl.com/MostOpposeExplicitBooks  

It is important to note this as school boards are elected by the public, not by the few national “censorship” organizations that like to claim no one supports removing materials from schools.  If schools remove sexually inappropriate books, the public supports that, let alone the US Supreme Court and common sense.

It is also important to note this as parents who raise book challenges are immediately labelled as “censors” and made to look like they are in a tiny majority of, as NCAC writes, “several parents or members of the community” when in reality most people oppose such material.  See "The Parent Trap: ALA Uses Banned Books Week to Ridicule Patrons Complying with ALA Materials Reconsideration Policies": http://safelibraries.blogspot.com/2010/09/parent-trap-ala-uses-banned-books-week.html

NCAC even singles out a single parent in its letter to you, discussed below: “a parent or group of parents [who] might find [material] ’inappropriate.’”  The parents who speak up are simply the ones not intimidated by organizations including those in the NCAC letter.  The reality is most people oppose sexually explicit materials in public schools, and the Harris Polls prove it.



7)  Lastly, the issue is neither a left nor right issue.  People on all sides oppose sexually inappropriate materials in public schools.  Consider, for example, "Young Adult Fiction: Wild Things," by Naomi Wolf, The New York Times, 12 March 2006: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/12/books/review/12wolf.html  When NCAC raises the issue of “‘parents [having] genuine moral disagreements,’” that is a nod to the oft-heard claim that some “right-wing nut” is trying to force his religious views on a school.  In reality, everyone opposes sexually inappropriate material in public schools.

Turning now to the letter dated October 9 from “the National Coalition Against Censorship—along with the American Booksellers for Free Expression, Association of American Publishers, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, National Council of Teachers of English, and PEN American Center,” collectively NCAC.  See: “Petition Demands Only ‘Age Appropriate’ Books in NJ High School,” by NCAC, 9 October 2015 http://ncac.org/incident/petition-demands-only-age-appropriate-books-in-nj-high-school/

“Any decision the Board makes should be based on the books’ pedagogical and literary merit, and not be a simple concession to the views of several parents or members of the community.”  So says the NCAC.

Any decision the Board makes should be based on a number of factors including those I listed above, not just merit.  That a book wins awards does not trump other considerations.  Books that are pervasively vulgar and have been removed from some schools had already earned awards, for example.  Yet the awarded books were removed for being pervasively vulgar.  That a book may have awards is nice but not determinative of whether it is or is not appropriate in a school setting given a school’s book selection policy, and so on.  

If awards and other merit are promoted as the reason to maintain a book and other means for book selection are overlooked or ignored, that is a sign someone is being misleading and cannot make a substantive argument.  Indeed NCAC is advising you of all of the awards and other merit involved in the books in this matter.  More than half of its letter is devoted just to that.  Did the US Supreme Court rule that pervasively vulgar books may be removed from public schools unless they won awards and were otherwise deemed meritable?  Did Judith Krug say “get it out of there unless it won awards”?

Look at the next part of the sentence, namely, “and not be a simple concession to the views of several parents or members of the community.”  This is parent shaming.  Shame on them for having views and for speaking out about them.  For the NCAC, defending censorship only goes so far.

It is also misleading.  Parents are allowed to speak up about school policies and practices.  Schools have a means for addressing those concerns.  If a school acts on those concerns and decides to remove a pervasively vulgar book, the school removed the book, not the parents.  No one is conceding to the parents and removing the book.  Rather, it is the school making that decision as it should.  It is misleading for NCAC to imply that if you remove the book, it will have been “a simple concession to the views of several parents.”  

Most misleading about that NCAC sentence is that it demonstrates both 1) you are not to be swayed by “several parents or members of the community” while 2) you should be swayed by people outside the community who adjudge “pedagogical and literary merit.”  So parents, don’t listen to them, but award granters and book reviewers that are not censored, definitely listen to them.  And NCAC did this all in a single sentence.

“It is our understanding that books go through a rigorous review at RFH before they are included in the curriculum, with literary and artistic merit being a key consideration.”  NCAC's understanding, of course.

A “rigorous review” “with literary and artistic merit being a key consideration” means little given book reviews are known to fail to address issues of the potential for inappropriateness for school children and, given where ratings do provide such information, they are censored and blacklisted so parents and teachers do not see them, both as I described and sourced above.  

Besides, past reviews mean nothing in light of the need for a current reconsideration.  The implication is made that since a book was accepted into the school in the past, it can no longer be reconsidered for removal.  Then why are there materials reconsideration policies in the first place if nothing can ever be reconsidered?  Past “rigorous reviews” are nice but not determinative.  The same goes for books having already been on school reading lists.  And schools do remove pervasively vulgar books that were “rigorously reviewed” in the past, so claiming there’s been a “rigorous review” or a presence on a reading list is not determinative in the slightest.

More than half of the NCAC’s letter is devoted to talking about how others deem the books to be worthy while “the subjective demands of members of the community” are to be ignored.  Even an implied comparison is made between a parent’s request for reconsideration and censorship by the “government of General Augusto Pinochet.”  It borders on the use of Godwin’s Law to advance NCAC’s hyperbolic argument: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin%27s_law  As famed librarian Jessamyn West said, "the bulk of these books are challenged by parents for being age-inappropriate for children.  while i think this is still a formidable thing for librarians to deal with, it's totally different from people trying to block a book from being sold at all": http://www.librarian.net/stax/1858

Finally, NCAC addresses only two paragraphs to substantive issues relating to the legality of book removals from public schools.  Board of Education v. Pico is even cited, but, extremely misleadingly, the part about removing pervasively vulgar books is omitted.  How can NCAC be “dedicated” to “the integrity of the public education system” when it comes to you with advice and that advice excludes the very key other schools, such as NJ's RVRHS, have used to successfully remove other pervasively vulgar books?  Where’s the “integrity” in that?

“‘[S]chool officials are bound by a constitutional duty not to suppress unpopular, controversial, or even “objectionable” ideas,’” quotes NCAC.

That court quote is correct but pervasively vulgarity is not an “idea.” School children may and should be exposed to many different “ideas” but pervasive vulgarity is not an “idea” and the US Supreme Court allows such books to be removed forthwith.  NCAC is attempting to equate “ideas” with pervasive vulgarity.  

Indeed, NCAC has openly called for an end to the prohibition against pornography in public libraries: "There is no justification for the wholesale exclusion of books with sexually explicit content, whether called 'erotica' or 'pornography’”: http://ncac.org/NCAC-FREE-SPEECH-GROUPS-CRITICIZE-M.D.-LIBRARYS-PORN-BAN-  Notice how NCAC does this in another letter substantially similar to the one it sent you, also cosigned by a number of other organizations.

Look at the Judith Platt signature in both letters.  It is the exact same signature.  Identical.  NCAC basically sends out form letters, reshaped for individual communities, all intended to mislead communities into doing what NCAC wants if it only had the power to impose its way.  But it doesn’t have that power so it needs to mislead people into thinking for themselves that judicial decisions, common sense, and existing book selection policy should all be ignored.

I said above it was misleading for NCAC to imply that if you remove the book, it will have been “a simple concession to the views of several parents.”  The NCAC letter cites a case saying “no parent has the right ‘to tell a public school what his or her child will and will not be taught.’”  That is correct but that is not the issue when a parent brings a concern to the school and the school acts on that concern; it is not the parent acting.  NCAC cites another case to say schools should not “cater” to parents.  True, but again, a school making a decision based on a school policy is not “catering” to a parent.  If a school bends or changes policy to accommodate a parent, that might be “catering,” but that is not the case in this RFH matter.  So again NCAC is being misleading, this time by addressing nonexistent issues and ignoring real ones.

So the entire NCAC letter is misleading for the reasons stated above and never addresses substantive issues.  Nowhere does it discuss useful information to help you make a decision.  And it omits material it knows would guide you to make the right decision, instead of the one it wants you to make.

The NCAC letter then implies parents have absolutely no say in what happens in public schools, and, in the event you are not swayed by NCAC, you must still make the sexually inappropriate material available to everyone but the few who complain:  “Parents, of course, have a right to stay informed of what material is being taught; if they have deep objections to a work their child has been assigned, the school has the option of offering an alternate assignment if that is pedagogically feasible.”

So parents may be told of what sexually inappropriate material has been assigned in public school but may do little else, according to NCAC.  In the event a parent does have "deep objections" and persuades a school that a book does not meet the school’s book selection policy, only that parent’s child gets a different book and the other children continue to read the original one, according to the NCAC.

In schools that assign different books for children whose parents challenge a book, 1) the student is ostracized by the students and sometimes teachers, 2) the student is left out of the teaching revolved around the challenged book, 3) the school may be violating state law that requires a fair and equal education.  

One New Jersey example would be the West Essex Regional School District regarding "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" by Junot Díaz.  If I recall correctly, when the class discussed the Díaz book, the boy was told to sit in the back corner facing the wall reading the book his mother allowed.  Even his coach laughed at him.  The mother was told she was "hovering and overprotecting my son," as well as "squashing his sexual being."  The boy even spoke at a board of education meeting regarding the book choice, and at that meeting the head of the English Department “was rolling her eyes at him and implied that I wrote his speech.”  Exactly where is the fair and equal education in that?  

I visited this school. There were anti-bullying signs throughout the school.  But it is just for show.  Such bullying polices obviously do not apply to students and teachers and department heads bullying children who do not want to read sexually inappropriate material assigned by the school.  And NCAC is right there encouraged you to set up your own students for bullying.

A New York example left a girl in tears after hearing how her parents were mocked by the English teacher and students were then made to write letters to oppose her parents: "School Bullies Girl to Promote Political Push for Perks By Displaying In Class Video of Girl's Parents; School Board Misleads Parents Opposing School Book So Only Book Supporters Attend Public Meeting; Media Touts Total Victory And Leaves Out Bullying and Political Trickery; Guest Writer Aldo DeVivo Speaks Out": http://safelibraries.blogspot.com/2011/05/school-bullies-girl-to-promote.html  When I wrote to that school about the bullying, I received an autoresponse that touted the school's anti-bullying policy. 

So no, it is not acceptable to assign a different book to read for the few whose parents are willing to speak up despite the bullying.  NCAC’s fallback position is the NCAC’s position, not the correct or legal one.  Assigning a different book is the politically expedient thing to do but it is not the right thing to do, it exposes children and their families to bullying, and it violates the laws requiring a fair and equal education and opposing bullying.

By contrast and as an example of accurate information NCAC could have provided but did not, I provided you with useful information and reliable sources.  In summary:
  1. The American Library Association allows for the removal of school books that do not meet school book selection policy.  Notice the American Library Association did not sign the NCAC letter compared with past NCAC letters.  
  2. Book rating services are flawed; one is intentionally hidden since it rates sexual inappropriateness, the very rating the others lack.  
  3. The US Supreme Court allows for the removal of “pervasively vulgar” books forthwith.  
  4. Books may be removed immediately without waiting for a book reconsideration process to complete. 
  5. Multiple Harris Polls show the vast majority oppose sexually explicit books in public schools.  
  6. School curriculum is set by the school, not by individual teachers.  
  7. The issue is neither left nor right; all sides oppose sexually inappropriate materials in public schools.
I am hoping this information helps you make a fully informed decision on your own, not a selectively informed and misinformed one the NCAC wants you to make.  Your students depend on your decision.  Do it right.

Sincerely,

Dan Kleinman, Library Watchdog
SafeLibraries
641 Shunpike Rd #123
Chatham, NJ 07921
973-610-8296

BCC:  RFH Principal, Mayor and Council of Fair Haven and Rumson, and media


URL of this page:

On Twitter:  
@ALALibrary @NCACensorship @OIF @RFHRegHS @TwoRiverTimes

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Media Sees Banned Books Week Hoax; True Censorship Ignored

Media is starting to see Banned Books Week for the bullying campaign and hoax it is.  They know keeping inappropriate material from children is not censorship; parents are allowed to challenge public schools without being labelled "censors."  They see the creator of Banned Books Week ignoring true censorship in colleges and by foreign governments and instead leading a bullying campaign to force communities to accept allowing school children to read sexually inappropriate and exploitive material it is perfectly legal under the law to keep out of schools.

I would like to think this is the result of my exposing the issue by listing many Banned Books Week hoax articles (link), but who knows.  By the way, the American Library Association is working to convince schools and the FCC to relax school Internet filtering restrictions, but that part of Banned Books Week called Banned Websites Awareness Day (BWAD) is a hoax to explain at another time.

Here are five recent articles on the "crock" that is called "Banned Books Week":

.... Every right-thinking person agreed: This was an outrage. 
.... But in feeding off of conflicts like Sims vs. the school board, Banned Books Week also traffics in fear-mongering over censorship, when in fact the truth is much sunnier: There is basically no such thing as a "banned book" in the United States in 2015. 
The statistics certainly sound alarming. Since Banned Books Week was instituted in 1982, the event’s website informs us, 11,300 books have been challenged. In 2014 alone, 311 books were banned or challenged in schools and libraries in the United States, with many more cases unreported. It would be easy to assume that the literal banning of books is still a routine occurrence in the United States. 
But take a closer look, and there's much less for freedom-loving readers to be concerned with. The modifier "banned or challenged" contains a lot of wiggle room, for one. A "challenge," in the ALA's definition, is a "formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness." By that definition, Sims' one-woman freak-out in Tennessee qualifies as a "challenge," despite the fact that it posed no real threat to Skloot's book, let alone the "freedom to read."

.... 
Much of the rhetoric around Banned Books Week elides not just the difference between the past and the present but some other important distinctions: the difference between "bans" from public libraries and from school libraries, and between inclusion in school curricula and general availability in a library. A parent merely questioning the presence of a book on a required reading list is the same, to the organizations that run Banned Books Week, as the book being removed from circulation at the local public library. But the former, I would argue, is part of a reasonable local conversation about public education (even if the particular parental preferences are unreasonable). The latter comes closer to a "book ban." 
.... 
Some, or even all, of these challenges may be misguided, silly, or narrow-minded. But even if you're firmly opposed to "banning books"—and I am!—it's hard to argue that parents should have no right to weigh in on what their children read at school. There's an enormous difference between parents saying a book shouldn't appear on their kid's required reading list and a citizen demanding that adults should have no access to a book at a public library. And it should shock no one that in a country of 300 million people, there are a few hundred cases each year in which someone objects to a particular book’s availability, especially to children.
....
This Banned Books Week, instead of hand-wringing about a nonexistent wave of censorship, let's celebrate the obvious: The books won.
.... 
Upon closer inspection, and a little bit of Googling, it turns out many of these banned books were merely "challenged" — which means one or two ignorant and/or censorious parents filed a complaint with their local school or library about some innocent tome. 
.... 
Claiming a book has been banned, or willfully misunderstanding the difference between a challenge and a ban, is no doubt good for business in a world that despises censorship. It certainly worked on this book buyer. 
But if you indulge in that sort of thing, not only are you making yourself less trustworthy (sorry, local bookstore), you're also flooding the market with fake stories — and reducing the amount of attention paid to real book censorship problems when they come along. 
.... 
So, nutty overprotective mom doesn't understand basic medicine. Big whoop. The challenge went nowhere — except the websites of the BBC, Salon, the Guardian, and dozens of other outlets. Skloot let her indignation be known on her Facebook page, and no doubt sold a few extra books. Imagine the furor if the Knoxville school district had actually agreed with the mom. 
As a Salon columnist noted, books simply aren't banned in the U.S. any more, calling the whole basis of Banned Books Week into question. (The most recent ban in any U.S. school, according to the ALA's own material, was in 1994.) 
Or rather, it begs this question: Why aren't we paying this much attention to parts of the world, including free-speech-friendly countries, where forms of book censorship are still in effect? Why aren't we paying this much attention to parts of the world, including free-speech-friendly countries, where forms of book censorship are still in effect? Why wasn't it news around the world when a book was burned by religious extremists in India, and the intimidated author gave up writing and asked his publishers for the book to be withdrawn? 
.... 
But we can't begin to discuss the real problems of censorship if our awareness is dulled by a focus on cranks who think they see a nipple in Where's Waldo. That's what got the famous kids' book briefly banned from a few pubic [sic, unless intended] schools in Michigan and one in New York in 1989 and 1993, respectively. 
I'm not trying to minimize the dangers of cranks, or say that there's no chance the overzealous and prudish could see their way clear to banning a book in the future. But by and large, those days are over. America, a few ill-informed attention-seeking parents notwithstanding, has learned its lesson. Let's stop fighting old battles, because there's a new global frontier where we could effect some change. 
In the war against book banning, it's high time we turned the page.
As we wrap up 2015’s Banned Book Week (September 27 – October 3), Ruth Graham at Slate rightly takes the American Library Association (ALA) to task for trafficking “in fear-mongering over censorship, when in fact the truth is much sunnier: There is basically no such thing as a ‘banned book’ in the United States in 2015.”
That’s true, but Graham understates the problem with the ALA’s campaign of disinformation. 
She points out that to maintain the semblance of relevance in an era of ever-freer access to books of all kinds, the ALA has begun to conflate the categories of banned books and challenged books. “The modifier ‘banned or challenged’ contains a lot of wiggle room,” says Graham. 
.... 
The ALA presents itself as championing freedom, but what the organization is really doing is waging a campaign of “fear-mongering over censorship” to make us feel grateful to them as guardians of our rights, when they are, in fact, the guardians of tax-funded librarians. 
....


This week is Banned Books Week, and in libraries all over the country, librarians are making displays of books on fire to illustrate the great danger we all face of Amazon setting its warehouse aflame, or something. Not really. There is no possible way for any book to be censored by any stretch of the imagination. Books are not censored. Period. Should one school library remove a book from its shelves because of parental concern or otherwise, that book is still readily available, well, everywhere. 
Libraries themselves take part in the censorship of books, except they say they "select" them. This is the process where they choose which books to make available to the public and which books to throw in the trash. It’s a joke of colossal proportion that librarians don’t censor. Here is a discussion I found on the American Library Association (ALA) Think Tank’s Facebook page during Banned Books Week, addressing this very issue.



Notice the calls for these books about controversial topics to be thrown in the dumpster. These are the same people who wax sanctimonious about all the bad parents out there who want to "ban" books because they complained about violent sexual content in a reading assignment (a growing problem in public schools). This is a far cry from "banning" a book which would make it unavailable to the general public. A complaint is not a "ban." 
Modern librarians put themselves on pedestals, claiming to be champions of intellectual freedom and the First Amendment. They make no judgements (they claim) and fight against parents who would prefer that some judgements be made about the content that is given to their kids. 
In case you think it's extreme to suggest that librarians are fighting against parents, consider this. Titled Censorship and Intellectual Freedom, ALA acolyte and assistant director of the Office of Intellectual Freedom Kristin Pekoll laments the involvement of parents in book selection, among a litany of other complaints (because only librarians are allowed to throw books in the dumpster). 
Do I stand strong against the onslaught of vocal parents demanding cleaner libraries? 
If there was ever any doubt that ALA was concerned with the welfare of children, this should end that debate. The ALA prides itself on encouraging librarians to stand against parents, to put books that are rife with sexual violence, drugs, alcohol, abortion and other adult topics into the hands of your children without your permission or consent. 
Here is my favorite find on the ALA's website. This infographic shows you exactly what they are actively pushing on your kids during Banned Books Week.


Don't be fooled by Banned Books Week; it's just more trumped-up fakery to push cultural rot on your kids.
Banned Books Week, the American Library Association's annual self-advertisement, has now ended for this year. Bookstores will disassemble their earnest displays of "banned books," public libraries will return to the semblance of normality in public libraries. And we will be left with the sobering thought that, in 21st-century America, there remain people who would ban the works of Harper Lee or J.D. Salinger or Judy Blume, to give some favorite examples.  
Except that this year, I'm happy to report, a tiny crack appeared in the ALA's great Banned Books Week edifice. Slate, a publication not known for its skepticism toward liberal pieties, ran an essay with the intoxicating title "Banned Books Week Is a Crock." I was, and remain, astonished, and yet encouraged, that it should have been published—and not banned!—by the right-thinking editors at Slate.  
.... 
Yet what intrigues me about Banned Books Week publicity, and the likely political agenda over at ALA headquarters, is not what it features but what it excludes. For there is, in fact, an ongoing effort to ban books in America in 2015—that is, to exclude them from classroom reading lists, if not prevent their publication and sale – but it is taking place not on school boards in our nation's rural communities but on college campuses in some of the most progressive and sophisticated communities in the United States. At Columbia University in Manhattan, for example, Ovid's Metamorpheses has been excluded from the syllabus because of objections about sexual violence and replaced with—irony alert!—Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon. Rutgers is considering the attachment of required "trigger warnings" for The Great Gatsby and Huckleberry Finn, and based on individual complaints, innumerable other colleges and universities are pondering the future of such works as Mrs. Dalloway or The Merchant of Venice on student reading lists. 
....


NOTE ADDED 8 OCTOBER 2015:

This story on how media has finally noticed Banned Books Week is a hoax has itself been noticed by the media:
Those bannings, while rare, did happen.  These days though, there aren't books being banned in America.  Those saying otherwise are repeating comforting lies.  Leftists, led by the weirdly extremist American Library Association, tell themselves these things so they can feel superior to others. 
The lack of a banned book problem is so striking though, Dan Kleinman points out that press outlets are starting to notice, who otherwise would just parrot the "banned and challenged books line."  That's the trick wording: The American Library Association is trying to get you to equate 'banned books' (which are a thing that mostly happens in the Islamic world) with 'challenged books.'

URL of this page: safelibraries.blogspot.com/2015/10/bbw.html

On Twitter: @ALALibrary @BannedBooksWeek @OIF

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Illinois Attorney General Investigates Crime by Orland Park Public Library Board of Trustees

OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
STATE OF ILLINOIS
Lisa Madigan
ATTORNEY GENERAL

September 1, 2015


Via electronic mail 
Ms. Nancy W. Healy, President
Orland Park Public Library Board of Trustees
14921 Ravinia Avenue
Orland Park, Illinois 60462
nhealy@orlandparklibrary.org

RE: OMA Request for Review – 2015 PAC 37132

Dear Ms. Healy:

     The Public Access Bureau has received the enclosed Request for Review in which Mr. Dan Kleinman alleges that the Orland Park Public Library Board of Trustees (Board) violated the Open Meetings Act (OMA). Specifically, Mr. Kleinman alleges that the Board denied access to its board meeting held on August 17, 2015, by locking the door and not allowing all of the people who wanted to attend the meeting inside the room where the meeting was held. We construe the Request for Review as alleging possible violations of section 2.01 of OMA (5 ILCS 120/2.01 (West 2014) (providing that all meetings "shall be held at specified times and places which are convenient and open to the public."). We have determined that further action is warranted.

     In order to further evaluate this matter, please provide a written response to the allegations raised by Mr. Kleinman's Request for Review. Please also provide a copy of the agenda, minutes (draft form, if necessary), and any recordings from the August 17, 2015, meeting.

     This information must be submitted to our office within seven (7) business days after receipt of this letter. 5 ILCS 120/3.5(b) (West 2014). As we review this matter, we will notify you if we require additional records or information. Please note that under OMA, "[t]he Public Access Counselor shall forward a copy of the answer or redacted answer, if furnished, to the person submitting the request for review. The requester may, but is not required to, respond in writing[.]" 5 ILCS 120/3.5(c) (West 2014). If you claim that any portion of your written response is confidential, please send two versions of your response letter: a complete copy



Ms. Nancy W. Healy
September 1, 2015
Page 2

for this office's confidential review and a redacted version suitable for this office to forward to the requester.

     Please contact me at (312) 814-5201 if you have questions or would like to discuss this matter. Thank you.

Very truly yours,

/s/

EDIE STEINBERG
Assistant Attorney General 
Public Access Bureau

Enclosure

cc: Via electronic mail
      Mr. Dan Kleinman (will receive letter only)
      641 Shunpike Road #123
      Chatham, New Jersey 07928
      safelibraries@gmail.com







Gmail                                         Safe Libraries

Request for Review Under OMA of OPPL Library Board of Trustees



Safe Libraries Thu, Aug 27, 2015 at 12:21 AM

To: PublicAccess@atg.state.il.us
Cc: spratt@atg.state.il.us, paccess@atg.state.il.us

Sarah Pratt, Public Access Counselor
Office of the Attorney General
500 S 2nd St
Springfield, IL 62706
DELIVERY VIA ELECTRONIC MAIL

          Re:  Request for Review Under OMA of 
                 17 August 2015 Meeting of the Library Board of 
                 Orland Park Public Library, Orland Park, IL

This is a request for review with the Public Access Counselor as to whether there has been another violation of the Open Meetings Act [OMA] by the Orland Park Public Library [OPPL], Orland Park, IL.  

On 17 August 2015, the date of a regularly scheduled board of trustees meeting, at the time scheduled for the meeting to begin, the board locked the doors and refused to admit the public.  Any member of the public in the room before the meeting began could stay during the meeting, but if they left the room to visit the restroom, they were not readmitted.  

There are other indicia of the intentional blocking of access in violation of the law, and I incorporate by reference the following from library patron Kevin DuJan who attended the meeting and fortunately was present in the room before the meeting began and the doors were locked: 

After the meeting was completed where the doors were locked the entire time, and despite the various interruptions caused by members of the public attempting to attend the meeting, the board president pretended she had no idea the doors were locked.  A video of that can be viewed here as Nancy Wendt Healy is directly asked about this then affects a look of bewilderment as if she had no clue the doors were locked and people were knocking and banging to get in: https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=1082320331779851  

Later, library director Mary Weimar admitted the doors were indeed locked during the meeting.  She claimed they were locked due to a singles event on another date that was advertised incorrectly.

p.2

Library boards of trustees are empowered and required to follow the law.  Under 75 ILCS 5, Section 2-1, “To provide local public institutions of general education for citizens of Illinois, the corporate authorities of any city may establish and maintain a public library for the use and benefit of the residents of the city….”  Under Section 1-3, “Every library established under this Act shall be forever for the use of the residents and taxpayers …, subject to such reasonable rules and regulations as the library board may adopt in order to render the use of the library of the greatest benefit to the greatest number of such residents and taxpayers.”  So libraries are for the “use and benefit” of patrons, and library boards are to set “reasonable rules and regulations” to “render the use of the library of the greatest benefit to the greatest number….”  The specific duties of the board are described in Section 4-7.

Section 2-7 allows boards to be dissolved for failure to perform duties such as (a)(1) “fail[ure] to hold regular meetings of the board” or (a)(3) “fail[ure] to perform the duties and functions imposed by law.”

One of those “duties and functions imposed by law” is OMA.  Library board of trustee meetings must be held in accordance with OMA. The library board of trustees is responsible for the meeting and the locking of the doors. Since OMA requires open public meetings, the library board must comply with OMA and not lock people out of public meetings.  The law does not specifically state that library boards may not lock the doors at the beginning of meetings, but that is so obvious that no one can be surprised the law does not specify doors to open public meetings must be kept unlocked during the open public portion of any meeting.

The library director works for the board. The library director acts as the board directs. The library director does what the board wants. 

The library director admitted she locked the doors, so no excuse as to why she locked the doors should be heard.  The mere fact that the doors were locked during an open public meeting is a violation of the OMA.  

That aside, her asserted reason for locking the doors was, by her own admission, to keep certain members of the public out of the meeting.  The library director admitted she locked the doors specifically to keep people who were part of the Frisky Singles group out of the board meeting.  Why weren't people who came for the Frisky Singles group allowed into the open public meeting?  If there was no dating meeting going on that night, why couldn't the Frisky Singles come into the meeting and be part of the civic process and participate in their government?  They were already at the library.  They were already in the room, or they could have been.  But they were ostensibly unwelcome in this meeting and the doors were locked to keep them out.  Why?  That’s an OMA violation right there.

In this case the board wanted the doors locked. The board either asked the library director to lock the doors or it okayed the actions of the library director in locking the doors. This is the board's actions, not the library director's actions; she merely acts at the behest of the board.

While the library director says she locked the doors to keep out Frisky Singles or some such event, that is false. She actually locked the doors because the board directed her to do so, or allowed the condition to exist where the doors were locked at the time for the meeting to begin and kept locked throughout, barring allowing people to egress and readmitting few.  

Then the board president acted like the board was clueless that the doors had been locked. 

That is the board locking the doors to prohibit public participation in violation of law and using the library director as the cover to claim it was to keep out Frisky Singles. That is the board's actions. These actions are intentional.  They are blamed on the library director.  The library director blamed the wrong date on a publication advertising a singles event.  The library, having signs all over the library, did not simply put up a

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sign to redirect any errant singles. It is not credible that a library board would violate OMA and use as the excuse that a few people if any might walk into the wrong room.

The board wanted to block people from entering the meeting that OMA requires to be public. Further, disobeying OMA necessarily means disobeying the duty of the board as described in 75 ILCS 5.  It’s a cascade of illegality.

With respect to OMA, section 2(a) reads, “Openness required. All meetings of public bodies shall be open to the public….”  In my opinion, this locking of the doors at the scheduled start of the meeting violates section 2(a) and is an intentional, knowing, and purposeful criminal violation of OMA, thereby a violation of 75 ILCS 5 as well.

OMA section 2.06(g) reads, “Any person shall be permitted an opportunity to address public officials under the rules established and recorded by the public body.”  In my opinion, keeping the people trying to get into the meeting locked out violated 2.06(g) and is an intentional, knowing, and purposeful criminal violations of OMA, thereby a violation of 75 ILCS 5 as well.

OMA section 4 reads, “Any person violating any of the provisions of this Act … shall be guilty of a Class C misdemeanor.”  To me, since the board acted together and left the doors locked throughout the entire time scheduled for an open meeting, and since the law states “any person,” each library trustee is individually liable for violations of OMA 2(a) and OMA 2.06(g) and should have to suffer the consequences consecutively, not concurrently.

The board’s attorney from Klein, Thorpe and Jenkins was present, so not having the presence of council should not be relevant to this matter as council was present.  While the attorney took no action to unlock the doors, the library board is ultimately responsible for the library board’s actions or failures thereof.  Whether the lawyer failed to perform his duty or did so incompetently is a matter for another venue.

Let me add the OPPL board of trustees is a repeat offender of OMA (and FOIA).  This matter might best be considered in that light.  This is not an innocent library board trying not to be interrupted by errant singles looking for a missing meeting.  This is a library board that engages in a pattern of violating various open government laws and announcing how such laws and Attorney General advisory opinions do not apply to them, all in an effort to continue to provide child p0rnography in accordance with American Library Association [ALA] guidance and direct input.  ALA even used or uses OPPL employees including the library director to train librarians and library trustees to thwart child p0rnography whistleblowers.  To this day, child p0rnography remains available in the library despite claims that it is not, because the library follows ALA diktat to leave computers intended for adults unfiltered—since, per ALA diktat, librarians are not judges and cannot determine what is child p0rn.

This door-locking incident is part of a continuing pattern of obstruction of open government laws despite OMA section 1 which includes, “Policy. It is the public policy of this State that public bodies exist to aid in the conduct of the people's business and that the people have a right to be informed as to the conduct of their business.”  There is also the “right to attend all meetings at which any business of a public body is discussed or acted upon in any way.”  Locking the board meeting doors at the scheduled start of the meeting, feigning ignorance of having done so, and using the library director to blame it on an errant singles event means the meeting was not open to the public.  Blaming it on a simple error that might send people to the wrong room is beyond the pale.  That is no reason to violate OMA.  They could have simply put up a sign.

Please consider that library boards are required by law to follow the law, including OMA, then please review the actions of the OPPL library board to determine whether OMA violations occurred, and, if so, consider that each member of the board present that evening “shall be guilty of a Class C misdemeanor.”  That means Nancy

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W. Healy, President; Denis P. Ryan, Vice-President; Diane I. Jennings, Treasurer; Catherine M. Lebert, Secretary; Christian Barcelona, Trustee; Joanna Leafblad, Trustee, and Elan Kleis, Trustee.  A Class C misdemeanor in Illinois is a criminal offense, a crime.  Each member of the library board should end up having a criminal record if an OMA violation has been found.  Being elected to serve as a library trustee and committing a crime while serving in that capacity does not absolve anyone of any crime or the consequences thereof.  At some point there has to be consequences for the library board’s continuing series of violations of open government laws, let alone other laws.

Lastly, as this issue of locking doors at the beginning of open public meetings may involve many public bodies, is so cut and dried, and as OPPL has stated advisory opinions do not constrain the library board, please consider writing a binding opinion.  

Thank you for your consideration.


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Dan Kleinman
Library Watchdog at SafeLibraries
641 Shunpike Rd #123
Chatham, NJ 07928
[Elided]




See also:




NOTE ADDED 3 SEPTEMBER 2015:

Added another see also link.

Adding graphic of wanted poster:

Wanted: Orland Park Library Board for crime of violating Open Meeting Act:



Also, today I filed a FOIA request related to this matter:

Orland Park Public Library:

This is a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request.  I am a member of the media making a noncommercial FOIA request for documents to be produced to me electronically at my email address. The results of this FOIA production may be published for the public to see and may be part of an analysis done for what I am writing about the OPPL (Orland Park Public Library). The law provides five business days to comply.

Background:

Yesterday I published the following:

“Illinois Attorney General Investigates Crime by Orland Park Public Library Board of Trustees”

http://safelibraries.blogspot.com/2015/09/Crime.html

Therefore, today I seek information related to the locking of the doors at the August library board meeting. I feel locking people out of supposedly public meetings and committing a crime in doing so by violating the Open Meetings Act is very newsworthy, especially for a public library that covered up child p0rnography and was given "intellectual freedom" awards as a result, and I want to research the matter as best I can so that I may be as accurate and informative as possible when I write about this.

I am also very curious why your paid lawyer from Klein, Thorpe & Jenkins did not act to prevent the library board from committing yet another in a string of crimes while being represented by KTJ.  I am hoping to elucidate that as well, also for publication.  This is especially relevant as that law firm trains and will again be training at the Illinois Library Association on the very issue it failed to act upon, and it represents many libraries.

FOIA Request:

I require the following to be produced pursuant to the FOIA:

1)  All communications within the past year of any kind (and if emails all BCCs and identify of each recipient in any distribution lists in TO, CC, or BCC) related to the doors.

Your response should include everything.  By way of example, this should include communications about the doors going to be locked, actually locked, or having been locked, and it should include communications with anyone in the American Library Association, the Illinois Library Association, the Orland Park Police, the Village of Orland Park, and especially Klein, Thorpe & Jenkins.  It should also include internal communications between the board and the staff, the library director and the board, the library director and the staff, the library director and the maintenance engineer, and vice versa, etc.  It should also include communications with the PAC that is now investigating you, any media such as the Chicago Tribune, any contractors such as locksmiths, any singles group that was mistakenly scheduled to use the room, or any library patrons who may have complained about the doors.  All communications.  Of any kind.  Within the past year.  Related to the doors.

2)  All communications within the past year of any kind (and if emails all BCCs and identify of each recipient in any distribution lists in TO, CC, or BCC) related not specifically to the doors, but as a result or effect of the doors going to be, being, or having been locked.

Your response should include everything.  By way of example, this should include communications about the the result or effect of the doors going to be locked, actually locked, or having been locked, and it should include communications with anyone in the American Library Association, the Illinois Library Association, the Orland Park Police, the Village of Orland Park, and especially Klein, Thorpe & Jenkins.  It should also include internal communications between the board and the staff, the library director and the board, the library director and the staff, the library director and the maintenance engineer, and vice versa, etc.  It should also includes communications with the PAC that is now investigating you, any media such as the Chicago Tribune, any contractors such as locksmiths, any singles group that was mistakenly scheduled to use the room, or any library patrons who may have complained about the result or effect of the doors going to be or actually locked, or having been locked.  All communications.  Of any kind.  Within the past year.  Related to the result or effect of the doors going to be locked, actually locked, or having been locked.

3) All legal bills for any work of any kind related to the doors or the result or effect of the doors going to be, actually, or having been locked.

4) All legal bills for the time Klein, Thorpe & Jenkins worked on anything at all for the library on the day of the board meeting.

5) All policies written on circumstances under which the doors of library board meetings may be locked before or during the library board meetings.  This is restricted to doors that lock out the public from meetings, not the doors related to library boards going into executive session.

6) All communications within the past month of any kind (and if emails all BCCs and identify of each recipient in any distribution lists in TO, CC, or BCC) by anyone related to any singles group or event.

Your response should include everything.  By way of example, information I am seeking will help me answer whose fault was the room booking mixup? Was this an error by the person who was supposed to book the rooms? Did the library director intervene in any way?  Why were there no signs printed and posted to redirect people?  When are the normal meeting dates, times, and locations for the singles group?  What was the errant message to or about the singles group?  Where was it scheduled to meet on the night of the board meeting, errantly or not?  What is the URL of the calendar patrons can view to see a schedule of events?  Were and postings made to the library’s Facebook page about the event and what is the URL?

Thank you for your time and attention.

Dan Kleinman, Library Watchdog


URL of this page: safelibraries.blogspot.com/2015/09/Crime.html

On Twitter: @ IlAttyGeneral @OrlandPkLibrary @VillageOrlandPk