TOLEDO COUPLE DISCOVER
PUBLIC LIBRARY CENSORSHIP
After learning that a Toledo library branch had been named in honor of Margaret Sanger, founder of the pro-abortion organization Planned Parenthood, Melanie Witt said it "began making a lot of sense" to her that the book she and her husband, Dean, wanted to donate to the library was rejected for being "too political."
Killer Angel, George Grant's critical biography of Sanger, was submitted to the Toledo-Lucas (Ohio) County Public Library by the Witts when they learned that none of the library's books on Sanger mentioned her controversial views on race or her close association with Nazi Ernst Rudin, Hitler's director for genetic sterilization.
The Witts said they felt the library should at least provide one book with another perspective on Sanger and her views. But a letter from a library manger told them, "the author's political and social agenda, which is strongly espoused throughout (Killer Angel), is not appropriate."
The book's author disagrees with the assertion that it is too political. George Grant, who has more than 70 books in publication, said, "I find it odd that when it comes down to my research or other biographies that fawn over Sanger and neglect her racist ideology, I'm the one painted as driving a political agenda," he said.
The American Library Association has joined the controversy by supporting the library's decision to refuse the book. According to Judith Krug, director of the ALA's office of Intellectual Freedom, libraries should have the right to deny book gifts, and librarians should be given broad decision-making power relative to what books line a library's shelves.
Grant's response to the ALA's stand on the issue was, "Their position is simply Orwellian. In the name of intellectual freedom, they man the barricades anytime someone suggests the removal of child pornography from a library, but if anything conflicts with their political agenda, then censorship imposed by the library hierarchy is completely acceptable. They're encouraging libraries to set up their own Politburo to test books for political correctness."
In the meantime, Melanie Witt has lost her trust in the library's objectivity. "We are forced to pay for this library through our property and sales taxes," she said. It is unconscionable that taxpayers have to foot the bill for them to exercise their brand of censorship. It's a breach of the public trust."