Cook County

Orland Park Public Library Bans Book About Orland Park Public Library –

ORLAND PARK, IL. (ECWd) –

Viewpoint discrimination and censorship are on full display at the Orland Park Public Library (OPPL), as staff ban a new book that was written about recent scandals and wrongdoing at the Orland Park Public Library. The OPPL has steadfastly refused to carry the book SHUT UP! The Bizarre War that One Public Library Waged Against the First Amendment, despite written requests from Orland Park taxpayers that the Library order the book for its collection so citizens can read the true story of what public officials in Orland Park did to silence critics and cover-up sex crimes that occurred in the library through the years. 

The OPPL has even refused to accept an autographed, first-edition copy of the book for its collection that someone wanted to donate to the Library. That means the OPPL has chosen to ban this book from its collection, despite requests from patrons that the book be carried and the Library being offered a free copy of the book for the community to read. There can be no clearer act of censorship and viewpoint discrimination than a public body refusing to allow a written criticism of the public body to occupy space on the shelves of that same public body. 

It should be noted that every fall the OPPL participates in “Banned Books Week,” where the Library makes a big production of accusing parents of “banning” or “censoring” books whenever a parent complains about a sexually-charged book like the Kama Sutra being given to small children against the parents’ wishes. The Library’s Director, Mary Weimar, once posed in a bizarre costume dressed as a prisoner during Banned Books Week, holding up a copy of Harry Potter and claiming that it had been “banned” somewhere (because a parent in some small town someplace allegedly questioned if Harry Potter was appropriate for her small child). Clearly, Harry Potter wasn’t really “banned” at the OPPL since Weimar was holding a copy of it in the Library’s lobby. The book SHUT UP! really is banned, however, because Weimar and OPPL staff will not allow SHUT UP! to be included in the OPPL’s collection. 

The OPPL is a member of the American Library Association (ALA), which is a lobbying group funded in large part by George Soros that seeks to transform communities by transforming libraries. The ALA deems it to be “age discrimination” to refuse to give a kindergartener Playboy magazine or a middle-schooler Fifty Shades of Grey if they ask for it. The ALA gives librarians a list of books with racy themes, explicit sex scenes, drug use, abortions, and other adult material that the ALA wants promoted to young children, all in the name of “intellectual freedom.” Libraries like the OPPL follow the ALA’s instructions and feature these books prominently in the children’s and young adult sections. If a parent complains about this material, the parent is called a “book banner” and then during “Banned Books Week” the ALA encourages librarians to mock that parent and to give the “banned book” in question to as many children as possible. 

Let’s look at the obvious hypocrisy of the OPPL participating in “Banned Books Week” while simultaneously banning a book from its shelves that is critical of the OPPL and that documents law-breaking and bad behavior by OPPL staff members and trustees. This is clear viewpoint discrimination, which is another thing that the ALA is supposedly against (except when the viewpoint they want discriminated against is one that is critical of the ALA). By refusing to carry the book SHUT UP!, the OPPL is discriminating against a viewpoint that is critical of the OPPL. Since taxpaying members of the Orland Park community have asked the Library to carry this book and the Library has refused to carry it, the Library is banning the book so that Orland Park residents cannot read the book and learn about bad things that have happened in the Library through the years, including the reprehensible behavior of trustees such as Diane Jennings and library employees such as Director Mary Weimar and the former Library spokesman, Bridget Bittman. We covered the antics and offensive behavior of all of these people extensively on this site through the years if you are unfamiliar with their names. 

A search on the Worldcat site, which is used by librarians to locate books, shows that SHUT UP! is carried on the shelves of the Harold Washington Chicago Public Library, the Bellwood Public Library, the Tinley Park Public Library, the Richton Park Public Library, the Downer’s Grove Public Library, and the State Library in Springfield, Illinois. SHUT UP! has received positive reviews on both Worldcat and GoodReads, which are two sources librarians use for reviews of books. It appears that the book is either checked out or on hold at every library that owns it, with a waiting list to read SHUT UP!. There is clearly statewide interest in the book. Other libraries carry it on their shelves and have included it in their First Amendment sections alongside other books about censorship, free speech, and government attempts to silence the public. Members of the public are asking libraries to carry the book so they can read it. 

SHUT UP! is an invaluable resource for people wanting to learn more about making FOIA requests and asserting their rights to speak at public meetings under the Open Meetings Act. It also documents a SLAPP (strategic litigation against public participation) lawsuit that Bittman filed against the authors and teaches readers what they can do to survive and defeat such a SLAPP. There are very few other books that have ever been written on that subject and no other books we can find that have ever been written that are critical of the American Library Association or crimes being covered up in public libraries. 

Back in 2015, the OPPL accepted something called the “Downs Award for Intellectual Freedom” in a big ceremony at the ALA’s conference in Chicago. This was an award that the OPPL won for continuing to allow men to view pornography on computers in the Library, even though such activity is against the law due to lewd behavior and disorderly conduct statutes in Orland Park. The OPPL proudly called itself a champion of intellectual freedom because it decided to continue allowing sexual activity to occur in its adult computer lab, despite children and teenagers walking past this open area all day long. The OPPL deemed it necessary for “intellectual freedom” to allow men to view pornography on public computers, sexually arouse themselves in public, and engage in other inappropriate activities in full view of all passersby. 

But, here in 2016 the OPPL has been caught being intellectually dishonest by engaging in the viewpoint discrimination of censoring and banning a book that is highly critical of the OPPL’s dangerous and reckless decisions. When a government body refuses to carry on its shelves a book that is critical of that government body, that is censorship. Taxpaying residents of Orland Park have requested this book and the OPPL has refused to carry the book on its shelves, despite other libraries in the area (including the largest library in the world, which is the Harold Washington Public Library in Chicago) having SHUT UP! in their collections. 

Clearly, the people running the OPPL do not want anyone in Orland Park to read this book and start asking questions about the terrible things that have happened in this library through the years. Perhaps you should ask your own local library to add SHUT UP! to its collection. The OPPL has made SHUT UP! into a banned book by the ALA’s own definitions, so what better way to celebrate “Banned Books Week” this year than to read the very book that the Orland Park Public Library and its intellectually dishonest staff want banned. 
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14 replies »

  1. It sounds like someone was going to donate a copy of the book (so no cost to the library). Concerning omment – it was upsetting for employees to have the book since it referred to them So… if an employee finds a negative book written about someone like President Obama or former President Bush or whoever and doesn’t like it and is upset with it the Library shouldn’t have it on the shelf?

  2. “The OPPL has even refused to accept an autographed, first-edition copy of the book for its collection that someone wanted to donate to the Library.”

    Not to pick nits, but the term ‘first edition’ is meaningless when applied to a print-on-demand book.

    • The date the book is printed appears on the last page. So a first printing is not meaningless. Not sure if you can predict the future Jim, but a first printing of a book could be very valuable depending on what else the authors do in their careers. You appear to have tried to get snobby and look down on print-on-demand but it’s the way of the future. Get used to it. As such, a first printing (from the first batch ever printed) would indeed be more valuable than any that was printed later. For your education Jim.

      • Defensive much? All I’m saying is that a term used to imply a book’s rarity under a traditional publishing model loses a lot of meaning for a title that plays by a completely different set of rules.

      • First printing means a print run of X number that was established when the book was published. Print-on-demand means the book is only printed when ordered. So unless it was the first copy ordered, it is not a first printing.

        Get used to it. For your education Jessa.

  3. There is more to this story than you are privy to. The reason this book is not being carried is because members of the staff who are part of the selection committee are written about in the book. This is a unique situation where carrying this book would mean that employees working in the building would have to come to work and have in their workplace a book that is very upsetting to them. In deference to those employees’ wishes, this book has not been selected for inclusion in the library’s collection. It is a one in several millions situation where the feelings of employees who are written about against their wishes and without their permission takes precedence over the public’s right to read this material.

      • Well since it’s a public entity using taxpayer money, I think they open themselves up to trouble and possible litigation for choosing not to carry it out of spite. If, say, six or seven people who live in town asked them to carry it in writing and the library said no out of spite, I wonder if the library will find itself in court over censoring the book. They would lose that lawsuit for sure.

    • “This is a unique situation where carrying this book would mean that employees working in the building would have to come to work and have in their workplace a book that is very upsetting to them.”

      It is not unique. See: “Cheshire Library Votes to Carry Controversial Book” http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local/Outcry-Over-Cheshire-Home-Invasion-Book-65721742.html

      And can you imagine “a book that is upsetting to them” as the reason to block the book? ALA labels 100% of parents who complain to schools about “a book that is upsetting to them” as censors, yet here’s a public library using that very excuse to censor. Double standard.

      The library should stock the book, particularly the Orland Park Public Library. After all, after all those years of effort, the library still makes child p*rn available and still covers up the crime, both in violation of Illinois state law. That’s not “upsetting” to the library board but the book is.

      They haven’t changed.

      And is that elected OPPL trustee Diane Jennings who admitted to making homophobic slurs still on the library board? Is she the one who finds the book to be “upsetting”?

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