The book banners are still alive and well

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.

Go, librarians!

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 9–0 June 2 to maintain the young-adult collection as is “without removing, relocating, labeling, or otherwise restricting access” 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 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.”
The unanimous vote rejecting the Maziarkas’ 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 library’s reconsideration process instead of complying immediately with the Maziarkas’ changing reconsideration requests. The trustees are serving until their successors are appointed.

8 replies
  1. therese
    therese says:

    Thanks for posting – I goggled and found Ms. Block’s books. The reviews are interesting reading so I applaud this ridiculousness by the Maziarkas – and hope this hits Twitter – and all Francesca Lia Block’s books become bestsellers! There is no such thing as bad publicity and being banned in Milwaukee may introduce thousands of teens to what sound to be, good books.

    Go Librarians!

  2. thesussman
    thesussman says:

    It’s times like this I wish I was still a bookseller. During my 15 years as a bookseller, there were several books that were challenged like this, and whenever there was a challenge, sales of those books increased. IMO, parents have the right to decide what is appropriate for their own child to read, but not for other people’s children and certainly not for the entire community. Good luck to those librarians, and I hope booksellers in Milwaukee will see an increase in the sales of Block’s books.

  3. Kyle K.
    Kyle K. says:

    It nauseates me to hear stories of what people think they SHOULD have control over. Book banning, gay marriage… who are you to think that you’re the moral compass for an entire community, state, or even the entire country? People get so hopped up on self-importance sometimes, it’s disgusting.

  4. Abe
    Abe says:


    Is it my mistake or was this also the case of JD Salinger’s The Catcher in the Wry because of a curse word written on the wall in one of the scenes, or William Golding’s Lord of the Flies because The title is said to be a reference to the Hebrew name Beelzebub “god of the fly”, “host of the fly” or literally “Lord of Flies”), a name sometimes used as a synonym for Satan.

  5. bob k
    bob k says:

    So true Tess – different people in different places have tried (and often succeeded) getting a huge number of titles banned.

    And some of us are just contrary enough to think lists of “banned books” are good lists to review when we are seeking new books to read…

  6. joe bernstein
    joe bernstein says:

    I don’t know why,but for some bizarre reason the heading made me think of banners,as in flags.Duh!!
    This behavior is as dumb now as it ever was,but some people who are aghast at banning books are not overly concerned about the dictatorship of controlled speech in the academic world where political correctness has replaced honest discourse.

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