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News :: Human Rights
Be Afraid: Scared of Political Controversy at the Local Library
17 Aug 2004
Farenheit 451 arrives. Ashcroft is intimidating political protesters with FBI agents; He’s already scared some local librarians about presenting authors of controversial books.
Word that Attorney General John Ashcroft has sicced already thinly stretched counter-terror forces of the FBI on protesters planning for peaceful protest against the Republicans and the Bush administration during the Republican National Convention shows how far this nation has gone down the road to thought police and the undermining of the basic freedoms on which the country was founded.

I got personal lesson about how deeply the fear of dissent has permeated society when I went to my local library in Upper Dublin with a copy of my new book "This Can’t Be Happening!" in hand, to offer to do a signing and discussion for interested local residents.

The librarian took my book and said she’d be in touch.

A day later, I got an email from her saying, "As a local author with a timely subject, this program would be appropriate. However, as a library, we must retain our neutral position on all subjects, and we are concerned that a discussion of topics that people feel so passionately about could quickly become inflammatory. Therefore, I was wondering if you could provide me with the contact information for two or three of the libraries at which you've spoken previously."

As of now, I'm not sure whether the library will decide to host a session on the book or not. Hopefully they’ll buck up, remember the First Amendment, and go ahead, but the nervousness being expressed already is disturbing enough.

The idea that a library would be anxious about presenting a talk by an author of a politically controversial book simply boggles the mind.

It makes you wonder how libraries would have responded back in 1777 or 1778 to an offer by Tom Paine to give a reading from his book "Common Sense," or an offer by Thomas Jefferson to give a reading of the "Declaration of Independence."
See also:
http://www.thiscantbehappening.net

This work is in the public domain
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Re: Be Afraid: Scared of Political Controversy at the Local Library
17 Aug 2004
I checked out a book by Richard Clark recently. The Westborough libraian told me that the FBI does retrieve lists of patrons who check out books. Every month! She also told me that the Patriot Act goes too far.
I hope Kerry changes or abolishes the Patriots Act.
Spying on law abiding Americans is wrong.
This reminds me of Hitler. Pre WW2.
When will Americans learn? When their freedom is abolished?