Friday, July 31, 2009

Library Controversy 3rd Most Blogged About Topic Last Week

Thanks to the recent report on, the West Bend library controversy was the 3rd most blogged about issue last week, according to the Pew Research Center. The only things more blogs linked to were stories about President Obama, and a BBC report on the new costume for British TV science fiction character Dr. Who. And more people blogged about West Bend than the controversial arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates!

I would congratulate Ginny Maziarka for helping West Bend get this kind of global attention, but the vast majority of blog commentaries I've read were highly critical of her and the CCLU's actions.

(It would be a great project for a student out there to track and measure coverage of the issue, analyzing the global opinions on the topic)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Censorship-Free Libraries on US v. ALA

Both Dan Kleinman and Ginny Maziarka frequently attempt to justify the acceptability of censorship in libraries by quoting from the Supreme Court ruling from the 2003 case United States v. American Library Association.

I've been meaning to write a post showing the fallacy of relying on this decision to support their cause. The decision is vary narrowly focused (as all Supreme Court rulings are) on the constitutionality of Congress requiring public schools and libraries receiving E-Rate discounts to install web filtering software as a condition of receiving federal funding.

Yes, Justice Kennedy's separate but concurring opinion states "The interest in protecting young library users from material inappropriate for minors is legitimate, and even compelling, as all Members of the Court appear to agree." But that is just a comment, and not part of the legal issue in question. Whether there is an interest in protecting kids from Internet porn wasn't the issue; the issue was whether Congress could force filters as a condition of funding.

Each statement within a ruling is not precedent; this statement is not precedent and does not have the force of law.

For more on this, see today's post on Censorship-Free Libraries. Thankfully s/he took the time for a more lengthy discussion on the inappropriate reliance on this ruling by Ginny & Co.

UPDATE: Censorship-Free Libraries has more superb analysis of the (non)applicability of US v. ALA to the West Bend library controversy here.

Ginny's Timeline of "Oppression" and "Covert Involvement" of Evil Outsiders

Readers here know I've been collecting resources to help make sense of this library mess (see here and here).

According to her new website, it appears Ginny Maziarka is creating a timeline of her own. This page makes the following announcement (emphasis added):

A current timeline of events from February 1, 2009 to present will be available soon.

This TIMELINE will confirm the covert involvement of national organizations to oppress small communities, undermining community standards and pushing the liberal agenda of the American Library Association.

Open Records Requests will be available at the above website hosting the timeline.
For those still catching up, Ginny has long criticized people from outside West Bend for improperly (in her view) involving themselves in this library controversy. When the UW-Milwaukee School of Information Studies (the only local school for librarians) issued a statement of support, Ginny derided them (channeling Dan Kleinman). When the ALA's Deborah Caldwell-Stone made an appearance to support the library, Ginny was quick to criticize her presence.

Ginny's recent ORR request seems to be an attempt to show (GASP) that the librarians and library board members consulted with the ALA and other professionals more versed in dealing with complicated and controversial challenges. This timeline, apparently, will reveal these communications. Only Ginny would view these consultations as "covert" and "oppressive", as opposed to people simply looking for guidance when confronted with unique circumstances.

Two additional notes:

One, while Ginny seems to think that this issue should only be dealt with locally, and without any outside influence, she welcomes the involvement of Dan Kleinman, the headmaster of the New Jersey-based SafeLibraries organization, as well as Mark Belling, also not a citizen of West Bend. I've grown tired of pointing out Ginny's hypocrisies, but here you go...

Two, an anonymous source requested access to Ginny's timeline (the project page is here), and received an e-mail from both Ginny Maziarka & Dan Kleinman (again, an outsider in New Jersey is intimately involved in Ginny's crusade). Interestingly, Kleinman characterized the purpose of the timeline as such (excerpted from an email to that person; emphasis added):
We believe an accurate presentment of the facts is the best way to present the facts. Therefore, a partially completely time line is not appropriate for public release.

We intend it to present just the facts, leaving any possible argument to be decided in other fora, such as personal blogs, etc. We intend that the edits made are relevant to the facts and are not filled with personal diatribe. We will also disclose all editors names and affiliations -- anonymous or pseudonymous editors will not be accepted.

We intend to let anyone edit it, so long as vandalism and self-promotion is not involved. In other words, we intend to allow people from all sides edit it.

We are certain that no similar time line has even been produced in any other public library matter and that our time line will be heavily used by the general public and by academic institutions, relatively speaking. It will definitely be used by issue participants to make arguments one way or another.

Thanks again for your interest. We will try to open it to public view as soon as possible. So I will make an effort to email you again when the time line is publicly available, and if you wish to edit it as well, please let us know. If you have any exhibits or other information to submit, please let us know as well.
That actually sounds like it might be a reasoned, unbiased approach. Contrast this explanation with Ginny's rhetoric of "confirm the covert involvement of national organizations to oppress small communities, undermining community standards and pushing the liberal agenda of the American Library Association".

Which will it be? I'm holding my breath in anticipation....

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

More Resources about the Library Controversy (at the Library!)

To help keep abreast (ahem) of the library controversy, the West Bend Memorial Library created a couple of helpful webpages:

  • Resources page that includes links to related professional and civil liberties organizations, related websites and blogs (of all perspectives), and video clips from the June 2nd, 2009 Library Board Meeting.
  • Publications page that provides PDFs and links to nearly every mention of the controversy (be they articles, opeds, or letters) in both local & national papers and news channels.
Thank you, library, for providing access to information without prejudice.

(You can see my earlier post with additional links here)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

It's Perfectly Normal

Please go visit Censorship-Free Libraries discussion of one of the books at the center of the West Bend Library controversy, It's Perfectly Normal:
I suspect that many (I didn't say all) involved in the library debate simply haven't taken a close look at the challenged materials. For that reason, I'll include a few book reviews in this blog.

I'll start with It's Perfectly Normal because it's one of the toughest to deal with: there is actually some substance, however little, to the debate about this one. It's also different from many of the other books objected to by the CCLU, WBC4SL, Ginny Maziarka, etc. Unlike most of the others, this is non-fiction. And, since it is heavily illustrated, the evaluation of its alleged obscenity is somewhat different than for literature.
You can read the rest of the reasoned review here.

Monday, July 27, 2009


I appears that Ginny Maziarka saw a few too many people in skimpy bikinis during her recent trip to Florida, cuz she's returned to West Bend with a big case of prudism.

Today's target? The fact that the West Bend Library's webpage for adult readers includes a link to the popular BookSlut review site.

Ginny first attacks the site's logo for depicting **GASP** "a naked women lying on top of a book. You get the idea." Look at the logo, folks. It is a simple, tasteful, and non-explicit line drawing. It is attractive, pleasant, and not at all controversial. You get the idea.

Then, Ginny seems to take issue with the fact that BookSlut's creator, Jessa Crispin, doesn't have a publishing background, that she made the site during down time at her (apparently boring) job, and that she pays reviewers with books. Shameful, I know.

Perhaps Ginny is just taken aback by any mention of the word "slut". Whatevs. I think I'll donate a copy of The Ethical Slut to the WB Library in Ginny's name, and perhaps we can work on that prudish sensitivity of hers.

(more good commentary at the Censorship-Free Libraries blog)

// Oh, BTW, Ginny is still at it with her misleading tagging of posts. For some reason only known and understandable within the depths of her cranium, Ginny singled out UW-Milwaukee's School of Information Studies regarding the existence of this weblink, and tagged her post accordingly.

And last week, her 6-month late post about an FBI indictment against a WB man on child porn charges, which had nothing whatsoever to do with a library, was egregiously mis-tagged with "ALA", "AmericanLibraryAssociation" and "WestBendLibrary"

Keep it up, grrl!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Welcome, Censorship-Free Libraries Blog (and Goodbye Ginny?)

I'd like to welcome the excellent Censorship-Free Libraries blog to the online discourse regarding the West Bend Library fiasco. The blog is very intelligently-written, and a welcome addition to the blogosphere. I have no idea who is behind it, but I hope s/he keeps it up!

On a side note, it seems Ginny Maziarka might be growing weary of her leadership role in pressuring the library to abide by community her standards regarding appropriate books to shelve within their walls. Various people who support her ideas have asked her (via blog comments) to please find someone else who can more intelligently (ie, with correct grammar, netiquitte, and a familiarity with rational discourse) be the mouthpiece for their movement.

Ginny seems to agree, commenting here that "I wish someone else more skilled than myself would take this over, too." Any takers?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Ginny Maziarka Shoots Herself in the Foot

Professor Mark Peterson has an op-ed in the Daily News, providing some sarcasm and irony to the current state of the library fiasco. Peterson suggests that there's another book that Ginny Maziarka and her comrades need to banish, a book described by Peterson as "arguably, the single greatest cause of spiritual distress and physical bloodshed in Western histor": the New and Old Testaments of the Christian Bible.

Ginny, being a good Christian, doesn't take kindly to someone bad-mouthing her Bible. So, she highlights a couple of phrases from Peterson's commentary, and proceeds to call him a liar. Problem is, the things he said are true, and we have Ginny's own words to prove it.

Let's take a look at two instances in Ginny's post:


Peterson says: "Let’s recap: a local group of fundamentalist Christians asks that a number of books be removed from the library’s shelves on completely unconstitutional grounds."

Ginny replies (all caps red, of course): "LIE. NO BOOKS WERE ASKED TO BE REMOVED FROM THE LIBRARY SHELVES."

But Peterson is correct that this all started with Ginny's request to have books removed from the library altogether. She outlines her group's initial demands in this blog post, noting that " We further asked for the removal of any book in the youth section of our library, i.e., children’s, young adult/YA Zone, that contains perverse and pornographic language" (her emphasis).

Ginny repeats her call for banning books here: " We also told him that we are requesting a "ban" on the The Perks of a Wallflower book." (her emphasis). And if you can sit through this video, at minute 23:38 Ginny repeats her desire to have books removed as the first solution, if only it weren't for the pesky ALA (emphasis mine):
And, again, personally, if [the books] could be moved, I'd be great with that. But, the American Library Association has a lot more power than you or me. And since that's not really going to be a possible option, I guess then this [reclassification] is what we're going to have to ask.
So, Peterson is right to characterize the starting point of this entire episode with a request to have books removed from library shelves. To you, Ginny, I say: LIE.


Peterson points out a connection between Ginny and Julaine Appling: "Julaine Appling, whose Wisconsin Family Council seminars provided the Maziarkas with the organizing skills..."

Ginny replies, with her typical detailed commentary: "OUTRIGHT LIE."

But Ginny did take training seminars sponsored by the Wisconsin Family Council and with the American Majority, and offshoot of the Sam Adams Alliance, who is dedicated to "training, inspiring, and empowering people to utilize new media tools (blogging, twitter, wikis) to advance economic freedom and individual liberty.". She blogged about it here, and even tweeted her excitement about the training sessions here and here.

So, again, Peterson appears correct in noting that Ginny benefited from training seminars hosted by WFC. Your denial, Ginny, is an OUTRIGHT LIE.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


At first, Ginny Maziarka's crusade was local. Then it hit the blogosphere, including Gawker. Now, a few weeks after appearing at ABC, we have coverage by

The story does a pretty good job covering all the twists and turns, and concludes with Ginny's famous "it's common sense" logical fallacy.

I'm still waiting for the Letterman joke, or a skit on SNL....

//update -- Seems the CNN story has created a flurry of activity at WISSUP, and many of the comments are less-than-friendly regarding Ginny's intelligence and appearance.

While Ginny has done her own share of insult-throwing in the past, and I, like many of the commenters, find Ginny grossly ignorant of many fundamental issues at stake, I don't feel calling her "fat" or a "miserable old cow", is helpful discourse....

Thursday, July 16, 2009

"Get Out of My Business"

This odd post by Ginny Maziarka, fearful of the U.S. Census Bureau knowing if she has indoor plumbing, reminded me of this video, and the subsequent remixes.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming....

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Speaking of Talking Trash...

Ginny Maziarka is at it again.

Remember her various personal attacks and ad hominems? She struck gold again today.

Lately, we've witnessed a variety of rants about the fact that local librarians and related personnel have the audacity to attend the national ALA meeting to discuss the book challenges that have rocked the 'brary.

After reading today's newspaper article about an ALA panel discussion about the local controversy, Ginny posted an implication that "trash talking" occurred at the event in a manner disparaging of West Bend. Based on the article, the only criticisms levied appeared to be against the media and the blogs for their skewed/incorrect coverage of the controversy. While the librarians noted their frustration over the entire episode, there was no "trash talking" about specific people, the community, or anyone.

Maybe Ginny has a different concept of what "trash talking" is, but it seems the opening line of her very post provides us the best example. While referring to Maria Hanrahan's counter-movement, the West Bend Parents For Free Speech, Ginny makes this disparaging remark:
In a prior blog comment, Maria Hanrahan (WBPFFS), West Bend Parents for Free Sex, um, I mean Free Speech (ooops, sorry 'bout that) stated about the ALA Conference
Talk about trashy...

Monday, July 13, 2009

In Most Area Libraries, these are Young Adult Books

Ginny Maziarka & Co insist that numerous books in West Bend Library's young adult section are "sexually explicit" and should be labeled as such and moved to the adult section, purportedly to reflect "community standards".

I decided to take three of the books Ginny highlights and see how other area libraries catalog them. Here are the results:


The Perks of Being a WallflowerThe Geography ClubDeal With It!


Beaver Dam



Big BendFictionYoung Adult




BrownsvilleYoung Adult


CudahyYoung AdultYoung Adult


DelafieldTeen FictionTeen Fiction


EagleYoung Adult


ElkhornYoung Adult


FontanaYoung Adult


Fort Atkinson
Young Adult


FranklinYoung AdultYoung AdultYoung Adult


GermantownYoung Adult


GreenfieldYoung AdultYoung AdultYoung Adult


HartfordYoung AdultYoung Adult


HartlandYoung Adult


HoriconYoung AdultYoung Adult








KenoshaYoung AdultYoung AdultAdult


KewaskumYoung Adult


Lake GenevaYoung AdultYoung Adult


Lake Mills
Young Adult


LomiraYoung Adult


MertonYoung Adult


MPL AtkinsonYoung Adult


MPL Bay ViewYoung AdultYoung Adult


MPL Brown DeerYoung AdultYoung Adult


MPL Capitol
Young AdultYoung Adult


MPL Center
Young Adult


MPL CentralYoung AdultYoung Adult


MPL EastYoung Adult


MPL Forest HomeYoung Adult


MPL Hales CornersYoung AdultYoung Adult


MPL Villard
Young Adult


MPL Washington Park

Young Adult


MukwonagoYoung AdultYoung AdultYoung Adult


Young Adult


Young Adult


Oak Creek
Young AdultAdult (call no indicates "YA")


OconomowocYoung AdultYoung Adult


PewaukeeYoung AdultYoung Adult




Young AdultYoung Adult


SussexYoung AdultYoung AdultYoung Adult




Twin Lakes
Young AdultYoung Adult


WaterfordYoung Adult


Young Adult


WaukeshaFictionYoung Adult




West BendYoung AdultYoung AdultYoung Adult


Whitefish Bay

Young Adult


WhitewaterYoung Adult

As you can see, nearly every area library that holds these books places them in the young adult section, reflecting what appears to be standard classification practices for southeast Wisconsin libraries.

(Acknowledging that Deal With It! seems to be the one text that is also frequently placed in the regular non-fiction sections)

Are West Bend's "community standards" really that different than nearly every other southeastern Wisconsin community? Or, perhaps, must we realize that Ginny's opinions don't necessarily reflect the entire community?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Patriotism WBCFSL Style: Celebrating Censorship & British Literature on 4th of July Float

Ginny's WBCFSL group entered a float into West Bend's 4th of July parade. Images are available here and here.

I've been struggling, however, with figuring out how a float pushing a minority group's opinion about how to manage the shelves at the public library fit in a parade that is meant to celebrate patriotism and freedom. Even the parade's guidelines make clear what is expected of participants:
The Fourth of July Family Parade is a community celebration of our nation’s independence. Please keep the tone and attitude of your participation positive, upbeat, celebratory and show your patriotism!
I guess the fact that the Preamble of the Constitution was recited, and that the float was red, white, and blue helps meet these expectations, but generally I remain befuddled about how pushing an agenda that is focused on forcing the removal of certain books from some of the library's shelves -- and replacing library board members who hesitate to do so -- is meant to be "positive, upbeat, celebratory" or otherwise worthy of a float in a parade.

Further, consider the books celebrated by the float and its participants:
Each, save the last one, are notable books from British authors -- hardly appropriate for a parade meant to celebrate Amercia's independence from the Brits.

And it's no surprise that these books tend to celebrate Christian, Puritan or related themes. Sure wouldn't want anything salacious on the float (we'll ignore Louisa May Alcott's other notable book, the passionate gothic novel, A Long Fatal Love Chase).

Happy 4th!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

*GASP* Local Librarians to Attend Librarian Conference!!!

Some people will complain about anything they can get their dirty hands onto.

The Daily News reports that some of our librarians, members of the West Bend board, and citizen advocates will be attending the annual conference of the American Library Association in Chicago next week.

For shame! Going to a professional conference related to one's profession to discuss one's professional duties.

They will be talking about their experiences with the WISSUP and CCLU nonsense, and even will have (hold your breath) PowerPoint slides as visual aids!

How dare they use 45 minutes of taxpayer dollars to make a PowerPoint presentation to discuss the hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars that have been spent dealing with these complaints.

I honestly don't know how these librarians can sleep at night....

// UPDATE -- Ginny asked to be invited to the panel discussion, but was refused since "The panel is not a debate on the merits of West Bend Citizens for Safe Libraries' challenge, or an opportunity for advocacy, but instead a discussion about policy development and management of challenges."

That is reasonable, although I agree with others who feel that Maria Hanrahan's presence on the panel makes little sense in this context either.