Book brouhaha

Social conservative board member vows to protect Ottawa Valley library from “left wing” literature


The Ottawa Citizen reports on the brewing brouhaha at the Bonnechere Union Public Library over what the newest member of the library’s seven-person board of directors claims is a “left wing slant” in the acquisition process. Ken O’Day, who the Citizen describes as “an opponent of same-sex marriage and a frequent critic of feminism and some aspects of the environmental movement” has lashed out at the library for restocking its shelves with left-leaning literature, although the only example he could provide to the Citizen was a book authored by Al Gore. Town librarian Jennifer Coleman recalls that he was also irate over the availability of “Wild Things”, a 14A thriller starring Canadian Neve Campbell. “He can be very intimidating,” she told the Citizen. “He tries to bully people.” For her part, Coleman denies any bias in book selection, and says that the library needs to support all readers. “There are all kinds of beliefs in the community, including some that contradict each other.” Library board chairwoman Doyne Ahern has also dismissed the notion that ideology plays any role in book choice, and says she’s had “difficulty finding out exactly what kinds of books O’Day is objecting to.” The newly reconstituted board next meets in September, and, as Ahern points out, O’Day will have only one vote — “just like everyone else.”

Ottawa Citizen

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Book brouhaha

  1. Easy solution: burn every book O'Day doesn't like.

    Problem solved.

    …Or don't accept an appointment to an institution that serves the needs and interests of a broad range of citizens (see: All), the majority of which you are likely to disagree with.

  2. I don't think it is any secret that public libraries are filled with left-wing slanted stuff.

    Look at the religion and philosophy sections of your local library. Full of lefty stuff like astrology, "controversial Jesus", conspiracy theories, and other new age garbage.

    • Because people who read that "new age stuff" aren't real people and don't deserve to have their literature in public libraries. What about students who are doing research on such topics? Get over yourself. Just because you don't agree with it, doesn't mean it should be excluded. It's called censorship. To each his own and all that….

    • At a guess, I would say at least 5 % of people have a passing interest in astrology. Should we ban those books from libraries because it lacks popular support? It is also one of the oldest systems of belief on Earth (older than Christianity by a couple thousand years)

      Millions of Canadian's question their faith every year… should libraries try to prevent this by banning any book that questions religious dogma? I thought questioning religious dogma was more of a human existence debate that begun before any recorded history. One which I thought we should continue to have…

      I don't think it is any secret that Western society is filled with left-wing slanted stuff. I don't think it is any secret that the post-WWII liberalism that has ushered in the golden age of American lead Western life has had a left-wing slant as well. What was liberal 30 years ago is conservative today. It is almost like societies change over time or something…

      Libraries are also filled with right-wing slanted stuff. The difference is no one is interested in banning such titles in libraries, thankfully.

    • Astrology is leftie stuff?

      What about Nancy Reagan's astrologer?
      Is she a leftie?
      There are crazies on both sides of the political spectrum. In fact they are the majority.

      Of course I define crazies as those who accept supernatural claims without any physical evidence (ie. Santa Claus, Zeus, ghosts, Yaweh, zombies in Jerusalem, etc.) .

      It's a mad, mad, mad, mad world

  3. Hey, if there was also legitimate philosophers in the philosophy section, or if books about Christianity had some representation of Christian literature (such as the Desert Fathers or Augustine), then perhaps the new age intellectual mush wouldn't be much of a problem.

    If all you see is Ellen Pagels, Holy Blood and Holy Grail, and books about how the Knights Templar constructed Easter Island heads on the shelf, and a copy of Augustine's Confessions in the free discard bin (my experience with the library in my town), then you know that there isn't much informing going on in history and other humanities.

    The science section is dreadful too, but that is less because of political slant and more because the people selecting the books are frightfully ignorant about science.

    We need actual qualified people selecting books if we actually wish to inform the public. Otherwise we might as well stick to the internet.

  4. It doesn't matter how many library board members there are, the librarian and only the librarian, chooses every book on the shelf. Her personal biases, agenda's, etc. are part of the collection.

    • WRONG — POLICY guides the choices of any competent professional. Personal biases must be left at home when making such choices for public consumption. The law, the ACT, and POLICY set by the governing board guides the individual decisions of the librarian — male or female