- "Guest View: Timeline Outlines Hijacking of Library," by Ginny Maziarka, West Bend Daily News, 19 August 2010, p.A6, reprinted below for educational purposes.
- "Guest View: Libraries Remain Free, Safe Places for Families," by Maria Hanrahan, West Bend Daily News, 26 August 2010, p.A6, reprinted below for educational purposes.
"Timeline Outlines Hijacking of Library"
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Eagle Forum of Wisconsin/Washington County
for which Ginny Maziarka is
During last year's battle with our Library Board and the American Library Association (ALA), more than 1,500 citizens had voiced their concerns, requesting easy identification of such materials and appropriate placement in the adult section of our library; a request was made to place porn filtering software on our public computers. This common sense approach to assisting parents was rejected; these requests were met with a resounding "no."
Our library board caved to the pressures of a national organization instead of meeting the requests of the community they serve. The ALA went on to use West Bend as an example of its power over the people with a special invitation to our librarians and board members to share this victory at an annual conference.
In what appears to be a continued assertion of authority, the ALA gave $1,000 to Maria Hanrahan, founder of West Bend Parents for Free Speech, to help in the "fight." What, in my opinion, appeared to be a bribe could very well be what sealed the deal and motivated others to gravitate toward the ALA.
Those who value our library, contribute to, support and regularly use the library should ponder this quote from a California group opposing Proposition 81 in 2006: "The values espoused by the American Library Association are so divorced from the values of our community that we would seriously consider ... going back to the days of a city library under local control, rather than giving one thin dime to an institution controlled by an organization that believes in 'all materials for all patrons regardless of age.'"
West Bend would do well to take heed of the above verbiage and consider what has become of our fine library under the auspices of the ALA.
West Bend parents/taxpayers should take the time to educate themselves on what took place behind the scenes during the controversy by visiting http://westbend.pbworks.com/. This same timeline is also entered into the archives at the Wisconsin Historical Library and is an extensive effort that has taken over a year to build. It is filled with numerous emails and other forms of communication that have never been seen publicly, which will reveal the efforts of our library board members and librarians to raise their fist at the parents of West Bend. The correspondence on this timeline includes conversations from city leadership such as Mayor Deiss, attorney Mary Schanning, attorney Warren Kraft, Nick Dobberstein, Barb Deters and more.
Most importantly, this timeline will also confirm the covert involvement of national organizations to oppress small communities, undermine community standards and push the liberal agenda of the American Library Association.
If you didn't believe it before, you'll believe it now. West Bend's public library has been hijacked. It is no longer a safe place for your children. Families beware. Take action to protect your children and the conservative values of the city you call home.
Ginny Maziarka is a local blogger, town of West Bend resident and president of Eagle Forum of WI/Washington County, formerly West Bend Citizens for Safe Libraries.
"Libraries Remain Free, Safe Places for Families"
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Friends of the West Bend Library
for which Maria Hanrahan is
Co-President. See update below.
Maziarka suggests that I was influenced by a "bribe," since the group that I formed to oppose her library complaint, West Bend Parents for Free Speech, was designated as the recipient of a grant from the Freedom to Read Foundation. What she failed to disclose regarding this startling bombshell was the timing of this grant. I began my involvement in the library challenge in late March of 2009, was notified of the grant about a week into May, and the public Library Board meeting in which Maziarka's complaint was addressed was held on June 2. If you do the math, you’ll note that this would have given my group maybe three weeks to go hog wild with our $1,000 "payoff." In actuality, WBPFFS supporters used their own resources to pay for expenses incurred during the challenge. Unlike Maziarka's group, West Bend Citizens for Safe Libraries or their supporters, we did not choose to participate in paid newspaper or radio advertising to promote our viewpoint. Other than a reimbursement request for approximately $180 for the cost of an open records request made by another WBPFFS member, we did not utilize the FTRF grant. This ORR concerned email and other communication to and from members of the Common Council regarding the library controversy and the pending appointments of replacement members to the Library Board.
I became involved in the library challenge because I am committed to the belief that, as a parent, I have the right to decide what reading material is appropriate for me and for my children. To suggest that I did it for remuneration or that I am a tool of the ALA is as preposterous as it is insulting. Maziarka suggests that the Library Board did not work in the best interest of families by way of their unanimous vote to keep the young adult materials unlabeled and where they are. In fact, parents retain the power they have always had: to determine if and when their children should have library cards, to decide how, when and with how much supervision those library cards should be used, and to provide guidance and ground rules for what materials are acceptable in their households.
Maziarka says the library has been "hijacked" by the ALA, as if it is a subversive organization bent on taking power away from library patrons. In fact, the American Library Association has always protected the rights of library patrons, including the Freedom to Read. The FTRF was established to promote and defend freedom of expression and the right to read and listen to the ideas of others. I believe that reading is among our greatest freedoms, and will continue to be vocal and vigilant about protecting that freedom. I appreciate the work of the Freedom to Read Foundation, which helps to protect my right to read freely. I hope Maziarka appreciates that this "hijacking" group works every day to protect her right to read freely as well.
Maria Hanrahan is a resident of the city of West Bend, founder of West Bend Parents for Free Speech and co-president of Friends of the West Bend Library.
UPDATE 1 SEP 2010: Neither the Friends of the West Bend Library nor its logo is not connected in any way to SafeLibraries or to me, Dan Kleinman. To the best of my knowledge, it is not connected in any way to Eagle Forum of WI/Washington County or to Ginny Maziarka.