Friday, August 20, 2010

Wikipedia Update

Looks like my little post here set off a flurry of edits to the West Bend, WI Wikipedia page, specifically the "Library Controversy" section. The section currently reads much better than it ever has, with a fair and balanced account of the incident. Sorry Ginny.

Here is how it currently looks:

Library controversy

In 2009, a controversy arose after a local couple, Jim and Ginny Maziarka, sent a letter to the West Bend Community Library complaining about books on a list entitled "Out of the Closet: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Fiction and Non-Fiction" that was published on the Young Adult section of the library's website.[5] [6] The couple then amended their complaint to include objections to the presence of books depicting sex and homosexuality in the young adult section of the West Bend Community Memorial Library.[7][8] The Maziarkas circulated an online petition [9] that called for the books to be labeled as explicit and moved to the adult section, as well as for the library to install Internet content filters and purchase books that represented "a balance of materials related to heterosexuality and homosexuality," complaining that the library had only gay-affirming books about homosexuality.

In the midst of the controversy, the West Bend Common Council, on a 5-3 vote, refused to reappoint four trustees whose terms were ending.[10] One councilman complained that the board was stonewalling the complaint, while another councilman stated his belief that the board members were not serving the interests of the community “with their ideology.”[11] The council's actions were widely criticized, and local citizens unsuccessfully sought to have the vote rescinded.[12][13][14]

On June 2, 2009, the library board held a public hearing to take comment on the Maziarkas' petition.[15] Following the hearing, the library board voted to uphold its policies and reject any restrictions on young adults' access to books in the library.[16][17]

The Christian Civil Liberties Union also filed a claim against the West Bend library, asking that Francesca Lia Block's book Baby Be-Bop be "burned or destroyed", drawing further media attention to the local library dispute.[18][19][20]

On July 30, 2009, the Pew Research Center reported that the library controversy was the third most blogged about topic from July 20–24, behind news about President Barack Obama's first six months in office and gossip about the TV show Doctor Who, but drawing more attention in the blogosphere than the controversial arrest of Henry Louis Gates.[21]

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