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May 18, 2024

Censorship at Martinsville Public Library – .

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On July 13, 2012

Residents of Martinsville can rest assured that only safe, pre-approved news appears on their library shelves. Head librarian Bethany Hubbard ([email protected]) has seen to it that only news sources with which she agrees 100 percent will be admitted to the Martinsville Public Library.
In a Facebook message sent late last evening to the new Disclosure Heartland newspaper, Ms. Hubbard informed them that she will not be ordering the  newspaper for the Martinsville Public Library because she disagreed with some assertions made by eyewitnesses interviewed for Angela Howser’s article on the Terry Payton trial in our most recent issue.
“Although there are reports from police and court reports; the story is mostly gossip from neighbors whom state they saw abuse for years yet did nothing to help this child. I assure you that you did not report the entire story. I am dissapointed. I would have loved to have added this paper to our local library but at this point and time I will not,” she said.
Sources used in the article included neighbors and relations who may be called to testify at the trial.
Although this was the only article with which Ms. Hubbard seemed to take issue, she decided this made the entire newspaper unacceptable for public library shelves. A librarian refusing to carry a newspaper over a personal disagreement with facts presented in one article may have chilling consequences for other news organizations who wish to report on controversial issues.

Disclosure Heartland has a strong commitment to the facts, as well as to sharing the many perspectives of community members involved in events of interest to the public. If a reader disagrees with statements made in the newspaper, they are free to present to them other evidence or write in to letters to the editor.
We feel that Ms. Hubbard has gone too far in banning this publication over what amounts to nothing more than a personal disagreement, and has abused her position at the Martinsville Public Library. As a public institution, after all, the library should provide local residents with a variety of news sources, whether or not one librarian disagrees with what is written therein.
We encourage our Clark County readers to politely petition Ms. Hubbard to allow this and future issues of Disclosure Heartland on library shelves. The Martinsville Public Library can be reached at (217) 382-4113.


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  • Incredulous
    Posted at 10:27h, 13 July

    Really? So a librarian isn’t allowed to make decisions regarding what publications
    should be on the shelves? Personal disagreement or not, if she hadn’t bothered to
    inform them of the reason and simply chose not to carry the publication would have
    drawn this much ire? Also, is there no other place for people interested in reading
    the publication to find their own copy? The term ‘Tempest in a Teapot’ comes to
    mind here. With all the other juicy information you’re reporting why would you
    even bother to give this any attention?

  • Understanding the Outrage
    Posted at 16:12h, 13 July

    So if Ms. Hubbard does not like what is being reported in a newspaper or news
    magazine she can simply remove those periodicals from the public library shelves?
    Or not order them for her patrons at all? I was unaware that all information at
    the public library had to meet Commissar Hubbard’s personal approval. So much
    for the First Amendment. If this was a private library it would not be an issue,
    but it is supported by the taxpayers.

  • Incredulous
    Posted at 11:11h, 14 July

    Newsflash; the Internet is KILLING printed publications left and right. Oh wait,
    we’re on the Watchdog website so you all apparently know that…

    Consider, for just a moment, that the ‘Disclosure’ periodical is a FRINGE publication at
    best. Is it archived at the Library in Champaign? Chicago? Washington DC? But this is
    all about saying someone is a Nazi, banning/burning literature that doesn’t agree with
    a them. yeah, that analogy isn’t making you all look like crack pots. You do realize that
    analogy only really makes sense to people over 30 right?

    Most of the small community Libraries around here are underfunded and understaffed
    trying to optimize their shelf space in buildings never meant to be a library or
    have been falling apart over the last century. No, a single publication isn’t that
    sizable but what criteria should ‘We The People’ mandate on how they stock their

    I know, let’s ban ’50 Shades of Grey’ and replace it with this publication no one
    will ever ask for. That’ll generate more patron traffic for sure.

    • Understanding the Outrage
      Posted at 14:20h, 14 July

      I really think you are missing the point. It was not rejected because the
      library didn’t feel the publication was widely read or of good quality, it
      was rejected because this one librarian didn’t like what it published in a
      single article. Think of the repercussions for news media.

  • jmkraft
    Posted at 13:37h, 14 July

    Here are my thoughts on the subject:
    Saying the Martinsville Library can’t afford $3 per month
    for the publication is one thing.

    Putting it in writing saying that you won’t allow the Public
    to read it at the “PUBIC LIBRARY” because you, as an
    employee, do not agree with how an article was written
    is a completely different animal, and is CENSORSHIP.

    Nobody called her a Nazi, but the Nazis and communists did,
    and some still do, ban books and other publications that
    disagree with their way of thinking. Some Christian groups
    right here in Illinois still have book burnings. Each for their
    own reasons.

    What cannot be allowed is a single employee, not carrying
    a news publication because she doesn’t agree with the
    how it was written. Since she quantified her decision on
    carrying the paper by putting her personal opinions
    in this mix, the $3 per month is a non-issue. The issue is
    her decision making.

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 15:04h, 14 July