Throwing the book at libraries

ARE LIBRARIES in Huntington Beach in trouble? (Flickr).

“Maybe you should try reading books instead of burning them,” said Sean Connery in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.”

Now, I’m not comparing what’s going on in Huntington Beach with Depression-era goose-steppers, but these are rough times for book lovers in Surf City.

Taking a page – first of many puns, sorry – from the “book” of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis – the city council majority is trying to make political hay out of the idea that the Republic is about to tip into an abyss because there are some books and other materials they may not agree with in the city’s library system.

Concerned about what these folks called “pornographic” works on the shelves, they considered creating some kind of censorship regime to keep little Jason and Jennifer from reading about the fact that some men like to kiss other men and some women prefer comfortable shoes.

Rather than trust in the good judgment of their library personnel, they’d like to make some binding (third pun) decisions about who can read what at what age.

There was some immediate pushback, and even the conservative Orange County Register told the council to tear that chapter out  of their playbook (fourth).

On top of the red-penciling (fourth) they had in mind, the city is approaching some red ink partly as a result of adding staff – especially in law enforcement – at such a rate that Surf City’s treasury will wipe out (fifth) if it doesn’t cut expenses.

And among the possible cuts? Reducing hours at the Central Library and closing the doors at the branch libraries.

The members of the council majority ran on a platform of fiscal conservatism. Conservatism used to mean balanced budgets and less government interference.

What’s happening at 2000 Main St. on Tuesday nights is looking like anything but, in my book (sixth).

3 replies »

  1. Taking porn out of the children’s areas of a library, is not “book burning” ! You know that. So what’s your beef. Personally, I think public libraries should be shut down. Digitize it all. Kids who can read can açess any book on line.

  2. Good point regarding qualifications of library personnel. How libraries make decisions on what books to purchase is a large part of a librarian’s education and counties should be taking that into consideration when hiring. (Look it up in the American Library Association. Librarians are required to set aside personal beliefs when making decisions on what books to supply to the public. (Sort of like judges?). Louder voices do not always represent the greater public interest. A public library should serve the needs of every single person in the community, not just those we agree with.

Leave a Reply