Letter Sent to Cheshire Register

I am a Cheshire resident, father, and a librarian.  As a librarian, I understand that the public library’s collection development policy presumably practically required the purchase of the controversial book about the Petit murders.  The library is supposed to meet the needs of the community and, as I understand it, eleven members of the community requested that the library purchase the book.  The library also has a responsibility to collect material about Cheshire.  In one-hundred years, historians looking for information about the murders will look to the CPL.  What does it say when they can’t find this book. Others have mentioned that the library already has a book on this subject and I expect it to buy more in the future.

A functioning democracy requires an informed citizenry.  Public libraries play an important role in informing us.  Democracy trusts citizens to choose the best among competing claims. Silencing some views does a disservice to us citizens and to our democracy.  Libraries are where the ideas are.  All of them.  Intellectually, libraries are and should be a most dangerous place. All ideas must be free to jostle in the marketplace of ideas.  Limiting a library to what makes us comfortable is dangerous.  A democracy requires constant reflection and renewal. It is ironic that the movement to ban the book took place shortly after banned book week and during book month.

An understanding of the purpose of a public library would, I thought, be a prerequisite for membership on the library board, but from what I can tell, in Cheshire it is not.  Please stand up for America: preserve the freedom to read!


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