Wednesday, September 9, 2009
How is this possible, when Maziarka was granted meetings with the Young Adult Librarian and the Library Director, as is part of the reconsideration of materials/challenge process? She recently said YA Librarian Kristin Pekoll was "unwilling to discuss our concerns." Back in February (when this meeting with Kristin took place), Maziarka seemed surprised that Kristin had pulled copies of most of the books named in her complaint and was prepared to question/discuss Maziarka's objections to them. Maziarka said, We explained that our complaint was a general complaint, not an individual book complaint. She did not want to discuss the general concept of homosexual books for youth, but we forged on regardless. She went on to say, We read an excerpt from "The Perks of Being a Wallflower." This book has a heterosexual oral sex act in very graphic detail. (Note: Maziarka either self-edited as she read or read from an excerpt printed elsewhere that was incomplete, because she left out text that gave the scene context.) Later on in the book there is a homosexual male-to-male sex act as well, all in detail. We asked Mrs. Pekoll if she felt this was appropriate reading material for an 11-year-old child. Her answer, again, was that she could not make "value judgements" and that this was simply "our opinion." We heard this over and over again. (See West Bend Library Thumbs Nose at Taxpayers for more info.)
Well, kudos to Kristin Pekoll and the library staff for not making value judgments about what is appropriate for everyone else, and for being prepared with copies of the books and review information from reputable library resources about the titles in question.
Maziarka claims that she was promised the opportunity to explain her position and concerns in a public forum without time constraints, and did not get that. Hello??? What about that public meeting she held on March 26th at Silverbrook Middle School? She complains she was only allotted the same 2 minutes of speaking time at the June 2nd board meeting at McLane Elementary. Apparently the countless newspaper articles, radio and TV interviews and that March meeting didn't provide enough opportunity to "explain." But, you may recall, Maziarka neglected to complete any new complaint/reconsideration form when she was informed, at the end of March, that her complaint was unclear and considered nullified because of all the changes (first it's about homosexuality in books, then it isn't, first it's a list of 30-some odd titles, but wait, that should include the 50+ titles in the Over the Rainbow website booklist, too, then it's about sexually explicit passages in books......) Maziarka didn't complete a new form, so there technically was no complaint submitted, yet the library board went ahead and had the public meeting in June. It still wasn't enough. It never will be.
It isn't that Ginny was ignored, it's that she was denied. She had the chance to make her case and she did, and she lost. That's the thorn in her side, and she tries to conceal her defeat with accusations of misconduct or being "ignored."
One of her latest comments to me was You keep trying to hold your head above water, but your weakness is causing you to sink.
Really? I'm not the one who has gone off the deep end.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
If you live in the West Bend area and have not yet spoken up about Ginny's actions, it is past time to say enough is enough. Ginny was against changing the language of the school district's sexual harassment policy because it would protect students from harassment concerning sexual orientation. She claimed this specificity is not needed, that protecting students from harassment about sexual orientation is not the same as protecting them from harassment about race, religion, creed, etc. She said the language of the new policy infringed on other students' rights of free speech.
Ginny is all for protecting free speech rights when it means she can say whatever she wants without any recourse. On her blog, she has gone after everyone, including yours truly, "the likes of Maria Hanrahan." She's called me the "West Bend Woman (who) says Porn is OK for Kids" and called my website/group "West Bend Parents for Free Sex...(oops! Speech.)" She's called UWWC professor Mark Peterson a liar. She has gone after West Bend East teacher Scott Lone on more than one occasion. She's called West Bend resident Kristina Smithers "maniacal" and made other disparaging remarks. She accused local pastor Pam Marolla of completing a false police report. I understand that when the harassment policy was being discussed, she went after Kris Beaver of the School Board. Within the last week she's made derogatory comments about School Board candidate Carl Knepel and Scott Lone (again.) When will it end?
I think the banner comment of the week has to be "Intellectual freedom for minor is DANGEROUS. Brings to mind the "independent thought alarm" scenario from the Simpsons. We can't have those youngsters thinking for themselves!
Ginny Maziarka does not speak for West Bend, WI. She claims to represent the majority of the community, but offers nothing to substantiate this. Its time for the citizens of this community to speak out and end her bullying of other citizens and acting in other ways that tarnish our community's reputation. I'm not saying she does not have the right to speak her opinion and take action to make changes she believes are necessary in the community. However, we don't have to remain silent (thereby indicating acquiescence) about her rantings about our fellow citizens and our community.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
I'd like to encourage everyone that can to attend the following event at Fireside Books & Gifts this Saturday, August 1st. If you are unable to attend, please show your support of Fireside Books, its events and personnel by visiting the store very soon to select a new book or make another purchase.
As an independent bookstore (formerly a Little Professor Book center location), Fireside Bookshas provided invaluable, helpful, knowledgable and courteous service to this community for more than 25 years. Some residents have announced boycotting the store and encouraged others (through blogs and other websites) to do the same.
Show your support of Fireside Books. Attend the event and/or patronize the store.
On Saturday, August 1, Fireside Books and Gifts in West Bend will host the authors of a book that everyone in the area should read.
In light of the controversy that has enflamed passions on both sides of the censorship issue and led to the non-reappointment of public library board members, this is an opportunity for community members to look at one aspect of the issue from the viewpoint of a couple who speak from very real personal experience.
Paul and Hjordy Wagner know what it's like to have a child come out of the sexual orientation closet. In fact, they?ve had that experience not once, but twice. Both of their sons are gay. Their book "Ready or Not? They're Gay" tells the story of their acceptance of their sons' sexual identities and encourages others--in a non-confrontational and loving way--to come to the same acceptance of gay and lesbian young people in our society.
The Wagners--who live in Eau Claire--embraced their sons' sexuality immediately, but they soon realized that for many other families the transition is not easy or smooth. Many young gay people today--if they muster the courage to come out to their families at all--are ostracized, even abandoned, by their loved ones. " Ready or Not?" attempts to equip other families with the attitude and compassion to help them accept the news of a gay child or loved one in a healthy, positive way.
In addition to the Wagners' personal experience, the book includes a range of perspectives from their circle of family and friends. It offers sensible guidance for parents and teachers of gay students and provides suggestions from the GLBT community on how to make the coming-out conversation more loving and sincere.
The event on August 1 will begin at 10:30 a.m. The Wagners will begin with a short talk and then answer questions from the audience. Afterwards they will sign copies of their book.
Those interested in attending should call the store (at 262-334-1444) to reserve a seat. Fireside Books and Gifts is located at 1331 West Paradise Drive, between Wal-Mart and Office Max.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Please join West Bend Parents for Free Speech as we participate in the Read In organized by Jake Jurss of West Bend.
Participants can meet at the corner of Oak and 5th at 3:00pm and walk to the library. (If you can't join us right at 3:00pm, simply come when you can!) Bring along (or plan to check out) a book from a banned bookslist/website (search banned books on Yahoo or Google for ideas, or visit Adler Books: Books Banned in the United States.) Participants are encouraged to quietly read their books inside or outside the library. Jake has a library room reserved and there may be a presentation/discussion of books discussed in the current West Bend issue and/or of the history of book banning in general.
Look for West Bend Parents for Free Speech and if you have not already done so, sign our petition to protect the library from attempts at censorship!
If you will be participating, please make yourself a nametag to wear. A lot of us have "met" online but not in person; we'd like to connect names to faces!
When the library closes at 6:00pm (summer library hours are now in effect!) some participants willbe walking to Regner Park for a (bring your own) potluck style picnic.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
If we (the community) allow the library to enact a policy that allows books to be classified (or reclassified) based on someone's subjective opinion on how explicit the sexual content is(WBCFSL's latest request....they no longer want to ban books or move books), what would happen? Well, first the library would have to develop criteria to determine what would be considered sexual content, and a scale to determine at what point the material is too explicit for a minor audience. How much (in taxpayer dollars and library resources) would this take? WBCFSL has suggested this policy but makes no recommendations as to how it would be enacted and how it would be payed for.
After the policy criteria was determined, someone would have to read through all of the materials in the Young Adult and Juvenile/Children's section of the library to determine which books need to be reclassified. Who would do this (i.e., an individual, such as a member of the staff, or a committee) and who would pay for this (the taxpayer)?
When the policy is enacted, how would challenges be handled? When the library is faced with numerous lawsuits because this policy/procedure is unconstitutional, who would pay for the legal expenses (taxpayers/City of West Bend)?
Ginny Maziarka of WBCFSL has said that she agrees (link; read comments) she does not have the right to decide what is appropriate for children other than her own. However, the petition asks for the creation of a policy that will make these determinations for others.
Really, this whole debate comes down to this question: who do you want to decide what is appropriate for your kids....you, or WBCFSL?
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
It wouldn't surprise me if local residents did not understand Ginny's complaint. After all, it has constantly changed. She often complains in her blog that they are not asking to ban books, and they are not going after specific titles. That may be true now, but that is what they asked for and did in the past.
She seems to think that what they have asked for is not censorship. You be the judge; do you consider it censorship when material that is universally considered to be for a Young Adult audience is moved to an adult section or labeled in such a way to make those books taboo? Do you think it is fair or wise to move books on the basis that some in the community may find them offensive?
The Maziarkas have been very skilled at changing their tune and tweaking their complaint to make it more likely that people will jump on their bandwagon. But let us not forget that their complaint did begin with a complaint about books they felt were "pro-homosexual" and that all of the books they originally objected to came from a list of books with LGBT themes and characters. Let us not forget that they did ask for some of these books to be banned. Then they changed their complaint and made it about material they felt was sexually explicit, throwing the word pornography around to create furor in the community. They instead asked for books to be reclassified or moved, and asked for labels on materials that were sexually explicit. Now they've said that they are no longer asking for these things, they are asking for policy changes that will "protect" the community.
Ginny and Jim Maziarka, thanks but no thanks. I don't need your help in protecting my children from material I don't find appropriate, and I certainly don't want your help in determining what is or isn't appropriate for them or using your morality as my family's compass. I find it hard to believe that others in this community want that, to give up their rights as parents to make those kinds of decisions.
Parents, if you don't like what your kids are reading, take it away, or better yet, have a conversation about it. But don't try to censor the collection of our public library, which is meant to serve the entire community. You may not like all the materials in the collection, and you have the right not to read anything you find offensive or objectionable. But you don't have the right to take materials away from other patrons, restrict access to them, make them harder to find, or label them as obscene simply based on your opinion or moral judgment.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
I think we will be in the board room at the back of the first floor of the library. Stop by to show your support.