From American Libraries: Milwaukee-area citizen Robert C. Braun of the Christian Civil Liberties Union (CCLU) distributed at the meeting copies of a claim for damages he and three other plaintiffs filed April 28 with the city; the complainants seek the right to publicly burn or destroy by another means the library’s copy of Baby Be-Bop. The claim also demands $120,000 in compensatory damages ($30,000 per plaintiff) for being exposed to the book in a library display, and the resignation of West Bend Mayor Kristine Deiss for “allow[ing] this book to be viewed by the public.”
While we watch the story unfold in Wisconsin, what can we do?
Perhaps the plantiffs only requested to destroy the book because they wanted more media attention. Or maybe they really do want to burn it. Whatever their reasons, the case for intellectual freedom can be made in our libraries, with “anti-burning” activities.
- Programs – Have an “Anti-Burning” or “Un-Burning” Party, where teens learn how to restore bindings and mend books! It’s the opposite of destroying them, and it may save your library money.
- Displays – Create a book display in your library that features Baby Be-Bop. It’s not too late for a Pride Month theme. You could also focus on Francesca Lia Block titles. Add a sign detailing the case in Wisconsin.
- Advisory groups - Discuss this issue with your teen advisory group. Are they aware of the case? What do adults need to know about teens’ right to read?
- Video Booktalks – Staff or teens can create video booktalks for Baby Be-Bop.
Happy Anti-Burning, everyone!
Chair, Intellectual Freedom Committee