06 May Zealot's censorship attempt backfires (the best $40.96 I ever spent).
Tina Harden of Longwood, Flori-duh decided that four books in the Lake Mary public library did not meet her standards of morality. The Cecily von Ziegesar books Reckless, The It Girl, Notorious, and Don’t You Forget About Me apparently clashed with Ms. Harden’s view of what other people ought to read. So she refused to return them from the library.
“If I turn them in, they will be put back into circulation and they’ll be available for more young girls to read,” said the mother of three, who keeps the four books hidden in a closet. “Some material is inappropriate for minors.”
Harden said she doesn’t want them banned, but she does want the library to put a warning label on the four titles — one in the Gossip Girl series by Cecily von Ziegesar, and three in a spin-off series called It Girl — and make them unavailable to minors. (source)
The Seminole County Library agreed to reshelve them in the adult reading section, but refused to make them unavailable to minors. Jane Peterson, the county’s library services manager said “If we denied access to this particular title, it would be censoring.” (source)
That’s not good enough for Harden, who said that as a taxpayer she should have a say in which books land on the libraries’ shelves. “They’re supposed to be public servants,” she said.
Unfortunately, Harden’s view of what a “public servant” is supposed to do is a bit skewed.
I used to live in Lake Mary, and I was unfortunately not very surprised that this story took place there. There is a mormon temple right around the corner from this library. My former homeowners association’s treasurer (who claimed that he had a “bachelor’s degree in law” put up a confederate flag to welcome a black family to the neighborhood. That said, Seminole County isn’t all white trash, and they deserve access to books just like the rest of us.
So I called the library and told them that I would pay to replace the books. They were most grateful.
After my check went out, I received the following email from the library:
Ms Harden will be returning the books to the Northwest Branch today. We have also already received several donations of the books. We appreciate you offering to give a donation but since she is returning the books I wanted to let you know that you do not have to send us a check.
Of course, they can keep my $40.96.
Nice work, Harden, you nitwit… now, not only did you fail miserably, but more people than ever before will now have access to the books.