ABC’s Brian Ross reported yesterday that Sarah Palin’s repeated questioning of the Wasilla librarian about banning books, and then Palin’s firing of the librarian just weeks later, did not occur in a vacuum. Palin’s pointed questioning occurred at the same time Palin’s church was spearheading an effort to remove books not just from the local library but also from local bookstores. Excerpts from Ross’ report (video at bottom):
BRIAN ROSS: Good morning, Robin. As the mayor of the town Wasilla, Sarah Palin raised the questions about removing books in the public library. And then tried to fire the town librarian. She says the two were not connected. Sarah Palin was elected the mayor of Wasilla in 1996, with the strong backing of her church, Wasilla Assembly of God….
Around the time Palin became mayor, the church and other conservative Christians began to focus on certain books available in local stores and in the town library, including one called “Go Ask Alice,” and another written by a local pastor Howard Bess called “Pastor, I Am Gay.”
HOWARD BESS, PASTOR, CHURCH OF THE COVENANT: This whole thing of controlling of, you know, controlling information, censorship, yeah, that’s a part of the scene….
ROSS: A few weeks after the council meeting, the mayor fired the librarian, although she was reinstated after a community uproar.
FORMER WASILLA DEPUTY MAYOR JUNE PATRICK: You’d like to hope the elected officials understand the role of the librarian in a democracy, that is to provide access to information to everybody in the community….
BRIAN ROSS: The mayor did raise the question, how to get books off the shelf. If people were picketing the library, would you take books off the shelf? The librarian was offended by that, as were members of the Alaska Library Association who to this day remain very wary of Sarah Palin.