After more than forty five Westport residents co-signed a letter requesting an end to the library’s censorship practices made evident by the removal of a book about gender dysphoria, William H. Harmer, Executive Director Westport Library, reversed the decision of the Library’s selection committee not to re-purchase the book.
In his lengthy response, the Director reiterates the organization’s mission, its commitment to the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, and other policies that were violated by the library staff when the book in question was removed from the collection and later was not added back.
He acknowledged that the original decision by the selection committee was made based on “reviews that highlighted omitted information and misinformation from some of the results from the studies the author cites in the book.”
Apparently, the members of the Library’s selection committee believe that they have a mandate to determine the level of ‘misinformation’ in any library resource, and the authority to ‘cancel’ any author or book that does not fit their ideology. Furthermore, in this particular case they were convinced that they were more qualified to evaluate the contents of the book than a university professor with a Ph.D. in biology, and a strong defender of scientific independence and free speech.
In the heavily politicized environment of Westport, ‘fighting misinformation’ is a euphemism for ‘enforcing leftist censorship’. Following the example of the most dogmatic regimes on earth, such as the Taliban, the library’s selection committee has constituted itself into the Westport Library Committee for the Promotion of Socialist Virtue and the Prevention of American Rights.
Fortunately, residents of all political leanings have come out to oppose the blatant censorship that is taking place at the Westport Library and have convinced the Director to reverse this particular decision.
Now, he has to show that he is serious about eradicating censorship from the Westport Library.
A good starting point would be to take back from the library bureaucrats the selection of library resources, by asking the Board of Trustees to nominate a new committee composed of residents strongly committed to the true mission of the library.
Mr. Harmer stated in his response that the “inclusion of any materials in the Library collection does not constitute or reflect an endorsement of any particular opinion, idea, or viewpoint by the Library.” And he did it several times, almost as a caveat to protect himself from possible attacks from those who would not be happy with his decision.
We know that reordering Abigail Shrier’s book will not please Westport’s leftist ideological masters. Nevertheless, we will always support the Executive Director in his commitment to maintaining a library free of censorship.
Camilo Riano is a technology and management consultant who has worked for several management consulting firms, the state of Georgia, the city of New York, and the United Nations. He lives in Westport, CT with his wife and four children, and is strongly committed to the fight against indoctrination and the relentless attacks on their American values.