Skip to comments.Library as porn peddler
Posted on 08/12/2005 6:41:58 AM PDT by Millee
The current flap over Spanish-language dirty comic books on the shelves of the Denver Public Library raises a number of serious questions.
One such publication is titled La Policiaca Novela. It features graphic illustrations of well-endowed, bare-breasted women repeatedly engaged in sexual intercourse or on the receiving end of severe beatings from men. Diane Lapierre, the library's director of strategic initiatives (more on what that title suggests later), prefers to call these comic books "illustrated novellas" and says they are very popular among Latino library users. She claims, "They are targeted at people who don't have strong reading skills and are trying to improve." I can think of many other ways to improve your reading skills.
More plausibly, the businesses that publish these raunchy comic books are targeting people who like graphic illustrations of sex and violence. Hey, I'm no book burner, censor or prude. If adults want to read this stuff, that's their business. But they should buy it on their own at a newsstand. It doesn't belong in a library financed with tax dollars. That's not censorship; it's selection. A public library has finite funds. It should spend them on more appropriate and elevating material.
A week ago, when I asked City Librarian Rick Ashton how these publications made the cut, he said he had never seen one but speculated that they may have been part of a general subscription purchase, inadvertently slipping into the system. There are now more than 6,000 fotonovelas, and they've been on DPL shelves for 13 years. Someone is responsible for putting them there. The sleazy ones are regularly checked out, and library staffers have never noticed them? Please.
Regarding the job of "Director of Strategic Initiatives": Positions so titled in the private sector usually are responsible for meeting the challenges of competition and protecting market share. In the Internet age, most research is more conveniently and comprehensively conducted on one's personal computer. Books are easy to buy on Amazon.com. Upscale and better-educated folks are likely making fewer trips to the public library. In order to justify their existence and protect their jobs, are librarians "strategically" responding by replacing quality reading matter with comic books, popular video tapes and DVDs, hip-hop CDs and the like, dropping their standards to pander to the lowest common denominator? Should libraries be in the business of competing with Blockbuster? Is this really how we want to spend our tax dollars?
Then, of course, there's the sensitive issue of young children. Although the sleazy comic books are in the adult section of the library, they can be checked out by anyone. Should public libraries be the willing purveyors of soft porn to kids? Apparently, the American Library Association believes the answer to that question is "yes." Here's its official statement on "Free Access to Libraries for Minors":
"Library policies and procedures that effectively deny minors equal and equitable access to all \[italics mine] library resources available to other users violate (Article V) of the 'Library Bill of Rights.' The American Library Association opposes all attempts to restrict access to library services, material and facilities based on the age of library users."
The ALA preposterously justifies this policy by misrepresenting three Supreme Court precedents: Tinker v. Des Moines School District, West Virginia Board of Ed. v. Barnette, and Erznoznik v. City of Jacksonville.
Tinker and Barnette have nothing to do with pornography. And the ALA distorts the Erznoznik ruling, in which the court struck down, as too "sweeping," a local ordinance that prohibited minors from viewing films containing any uncovered buttocks or breasts - even an art film or an image of a baby's buttocks. But in that same ruling, the court affirmed that "sexually explicit nudity" could be kept from minors.
The ALA also conveniently ignores a definitive 2003 precedent: U.S. et al. v. American Library Association (yes, the same bunch). In that case, the court flatly rejected the ALA's claim that it was a violation of the First Amendment to install Internet software filters to prevent minors from accessing pornographic material.
Minors aren't adults. Their rights are limited, as are their responsibilities. Libraries, like schools, are obliged to act in loco parentis - in place of responsible parents - to safeguard kids. The ALA is as bad as the American Civil Liberties Union when it stakes out abstract, dogmatic positions devoid of responsibility and common sense. Strategic planner LaPierre confirmed that the ALA's absolutist position on access to porn for kids is "consistent with DPL policies."
There ought to be something we can do locally to change that.
All you have to do is go to a City Council meeting and read the offending parts or display them.
The solution here is to fight liberals with liberals. Photocopy some choice images from the fotonovelas and send them to the most outspoken local feminist activists.
They only reading it for the articles! Really!
She didn't say WHAT these readers were trying to "improve". You would want to assume it was their reading skills, but--?
Does the NOW know about this?
"Does NOW know about this?"If it furthers the lefts agenda,i'm sure they won't object to mysoganistic porno in libraries.
If anyone doubts AppyPappy's advice, remember what happened when a certain actor (with the initials of Charlton Heston) read the lyrics of a nasty rapper at the Sony stockholder's meeting.
If you happen not to remember, here's a hint. The rapper's contract was cancelled.
"Out-ing" the bachelor's child that is responsible for such trash being on a library shelf thanks to tax payers dollars will be fun, too.
later pingout and comments are SPOT ON.
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