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More on Palin banning books

September 15, 2008

From The New York Times today: 

The new mayor also tended carefully to her evangelical base. She appointed a pastor to the town planning board. And she began to eye the library. For years, social conservatives had pressed the library director to remove books they considered immoral.

“People would bring books back censored,” recalled former Mayor John Stein, Ms. Palin’s predecessor. “Pages would get marked up or torn out.”

Witnesses and contemporary news accounts say Ms. Palin asked the librarian about removing books from the shelves. The McCain-Palin presidential campaign says Ms. Palin never advocated censorship.

But in 1995, Ms. Palin, then a city councilwoman, told colleagues that she had noticed the book “Daddy’s Roommate” on the shelves and that it did not belong there, according to Ms. Chase and Mr. Stein. Ms. Chase read the book, which helps children understand homosexuality, and said it was inoffensive; she suggested that Ms. Palin read it.

“Sarah said she didn’t need to read that stuff,” Ms. Chase said. “It was disturbing that someone would be willing to remove a book from the library and she didn’t even read it.”

“I’m still proud of Sarah,” she added, “but she scares the bejeebers out of me.”

This new info has sparked a heated debate in my email inbox between members of the Rutgers University child_lit alias. Specifically, between 15+ members against another member, who said, 

From the sound of the book, it must be some sort of picture book. Picture books are usually targeted at 5 – 6 – 7 year olds. If I were a parent, I would NOT feel the need to explain to my child the concept of sexual preference. Why is sexual preference the topic of picture books??? Right or wrong, it sounds pretty boring, don’t you think?

As one (of many) pointed out early on in the conversation (before it turned into a bad political debate, sigh), 

anyone who cares about children’s books, libraries, or freedom of thought should be
bothered by the statement that the person objecting . . . did not feel the need to read the book; she simply knew that it was inappropriate because of what someone had told her it was
about.   

Amen.

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