Sheesh. These folks feel traumatized just because a book happens to be available in their local library. They demanded the book be burned. And when it wasn’t destroyed, they sued the library for damages from the “emotional trauma” of being exposed to the book. It’s all happening in Milwaukee.
Milwaukee Group Seeks Fiery Alternative to Materials Challenge
Life grows more interesting by the day for officials of the West Bend (Wis.) Community Memorial Library. After four months of grappling with an evolving challenge to young-adult materials deemed sexually explicit by area residents Ginny and Jim Maziarka, library trustees voted 9â€“0 June 2 to maintain the young-adult collection as is â€œwithout removing, relocating, labeling, or otherwise restricting accessâ€ to any titles. However, board members were made cognizant that same evening that another material challenge waited in the wings: 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 libraryâ€™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 â€œallow[ing] this book to be viewed by the public.â€
The unanimous vote rejecting the Maziarkasâ€™ challenge came after trustees heard several dozen comments for and against restricting the materials, as well as being presented with opposing petitions: 700 signatures on the petition circulated by West Bend Citizens for Safe Libraries, a group formed by the Maziarkas, and more than 1,000 on an anti-restriction petition from the newly formed West Bend Parents for Free Speech. Ironically, four of the trustees were denied reappointment in April as a rebuke from city council members for adhering to the libraryâ€™s reconsideration process instead of complying immediately with the Maziarkasâ€™ changing reconsideration requests. The trustees are serving until their successors are appointed.