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Selling your DVDs and CDs in Madison? Police Want Your Photo and to Know What You’ve Been Watching

16 Sep

The Madison city council’s Public Safety Review Committee met on Wednesday to consider a change to the law governing the licenses of secondhand dealers. The ordinance change would create an electronic reporting system where secondhand dealers, such as used bookstores or pawn shops, would report daily to police what was sold and would include a digital picture of the person who brought in the items. The list includes things like jewelry and electronics but it also includes recorded materials such as CDs, DVDs and audiobooks.

Whenever a change to this law comes up, the ACLU of Wisconsin’s Madison Area Office pays attention. In 2007, a campus-area alder suggested that used book dealers report their book buy-backs to police after a rash of textbook thefts. Bookstores objected saying that the reporting would be burdensome and costly. Police said they needed more tools to fight crime. The idea of electronic reporting came back in 2009 when Madison police held a listening session with stakeholders and explained the need for modernization but also heard concerns about data security, cost and customer privacy.

This proposal is an example of how whenever the government has access to a list of what we read or what we watch or the websites we visit, the ACLU must respond. Remember how librarians fought back when the Patriot Act would have required them to offer our library records for inspection? They protected our right to read because it was a core privacy issue. Our choice to posses any expressive material, be it a book or a CD or a film on DVD, is something we may choose to keep private. Especially if that material is controversial.

Government inspection of lists of such materials, even after they have been sold to a secondhand dealer, can create a profile of an individual’s personal selection or possession of intellectual or entertainment choices. We have a First Amendment protected tradition in this country to allow people to pursue and exchange information anonymously, even if that information is controversial. The only exception to this is in the realm of child pornography, although in the surveillance culture of post-9/11 America, the government now labels some information sharing as suspicious activity. The infrastructure for intelligence gathering has grown exponentially in the past ten years and our government literally has more data than it knows what to do with despite the estimated 2,000 private companies it has hired to data mine all of the cell phone records, suspicious activity reports and other bits of surveillance it has gathered from innocent people in the homeland. Our government does not need another database to spy on our personal choices.

Also whenever the government imposes on the First Amendment or the privacy rights of individuals, it has the responsibility to prove a compelling justification for that imposition. Police say theft, particularly related to drug use, justifies the need for this database. But requiring secondhand dealers to maintain electronic records and digital photographs of media sales specific to sellers and turn those records over to police daily treats all customers as potential criminals without suspicion that any particular person has stolen the CDs, DVDs, audiobooks or other media. The best way to balance fighting crime and protecting privacy is through individualized investigations by police who obtain warrants to search dealers’ own records. Database hacking or fishing expeditions or through electronic lists of who sold what would become easier and no less unacceptable under this proposed ordinance change.

Madison residents should ask their Common Council Alder to support an amendment that exempts “audio tapes, compact discs, laser discs, records, videotapes, digital video discs, portable media players or other similar audio or audio-visual recording devices,” “computer games” and digital pictures of customers who sell them from the daily electronic reporting to local police. Such an amendment would allow secondhand dealers and the city to comply with state law without compromising innocent people’s rights to privacy and freedom to exchange expressive materials.

Read the proposed ordinance online.

Madison residents can find their city council representative’s contact information on the city’s website.

While thinking about controversial materials, remember that September 24 through October 1 is Banned Books Week. We take one week out of the year to acknowledge how the work to defend our right to privacy and our right to read happens 365 days a year. Join us in Madison for a Banned Books Week kick off happy hour at Mickey’s on Friday, September 23 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. We will co-host a reading of banned books at Woodland Pattern Book Center in Milwaukee on Wednesday, September 28 with a reception starting at 6:30 p.m. Both events are free, but donations are welcome.

Breaking News: Belleville School Board Votes Unanimously to Keep Challenged Book in English Curriculum

25 Jan

The American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin applauds the Belleville School District in their unanimous decision to keep a challenged book in the ninth grade English curriculum. Tonight the school board demonstrated patience and courage to recognize the importance of both due process and the need for relevant and contemporary literature in the classroom. Over 200 community members attended the hearing: the majority wore green “Keep the Book” stickers in a show of support.

“It was inspiring to watch the Belleville community speak out against the book challenge and in support of their teachers,” said Community Advocate Stacy Harbaugh. “In the end, board members all agreed that peer-reviewed, modern selections of fiction are appropriate for their ninth graders and that options are available for parents who want alternatives for their children to read. We’re glad the board did the right thing to keep the book.”

The book in question was “Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes” by Chris Crutcher, a work of young adult fiction that depicts teens who face contemporary problems including bullying. Tonight, the Belleville School District’s Board of Education heard testimonies from a parent who challenged the book’s place in the English curriculum on the basis of her religious beliefs and from district superintendent who defended the selection of the book by addressing the claims made by the book challenger. Students spoke in favor of the book and parents asked the board to keep the book as a part of their children’s education.

“The parents and the students who stood by their teachers deserve applause and recognition too” added Harbaugh. “During this fall semester when the book was being challenged, the book was being closely read, parents were talking to their children about their education, and students were learning about intellectual freedom. What a great learning experience for all.”

The ACLU works to defend First Amendment principles, such as supporting students and parents who want to defend an inclusive public school curriculum: authors have the right to free expression in what they write and all of us share the right to read books. We support Belleville Schools in keeping “Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes” because all of their students should have an education that gives them the tools for critical thinking, including works of contemporary literature that is relevant and compelling to teens.

David Douglas from News 3 was on hand to cover the story. Read more on the Channel 3000 website or check out Douglas’ live tweets from the event @News3David.

Read more about the ACLU’s observation of Banned Books Week from 2011.

Other comments from the hearing
Many people thanked the English teacher for her grace in the line of fire and many thanked the parent who challenged the book for prompting the rigorous public discussion. Student Dylan Paris said that the book allowed him and his classmates to discuss real-life issues in the safety of a classroom. Parent Bob Smith said that when he asked his son what he thought of the possibility of a book removal he said, “are they crazy? This was the first book I read that meant anything to me.” Student Patrick Blair said that the characters in the book taught him to be humble because his daily experiences in Belleville are miniscule compared to what other teens face.

Other letters of support came in from Belleville high school graduates, students in college who had read the book at some point in the past eight and a half years that it had been taught, and other teachers who stood in solidarity with the staff. Mike O’Connor, Associate Principal for the Oconomowoc high school (speaking for himself and not on behalf of the school) wrote a letter in support of English teacher Peg Kruse. He said that upon hearing that there was a misguided attack on the curriculum, he was prompted to read the book for himself to form his own opinion. The book represented the actual and sensitive issues students face in high school and the author allows readers to draw their own conclusions. O’Connor said the book was compelling reading and that Kruse has a strong sense of selecting books that stir the soul.

Community member Sandy Walejko put it best by saying that “it was a great night for freedom. The decision is important and the board members are good people. Concerned parents have good intentions. This is not about good vs. evil: this is an example of the free speech that our country stands for and I’m glad good citizens are engaged in an open debate.”

The last word of the night was from the lively and irreverent student Lexi who was enthusiastic about reading the book for her English class. Said Lexi, “for a kid to actually get into a book? That’s the stuff!”

Madison ACLU Celebrates Banned Books Week

4 Oct

Thanks to everyone who came out to the ACLU’s Banned Books Week happy hour. A part of the Wisconsin Book Festival’s line up, the happy hour was a time for book lovers and free speech supporters to gather and celebrate the right to read.

Co-sponsored by the Wisconsin Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Roundtable, the event featured IFRT board member Val Edwards who helped us toast the librarians and book defenders who keep even controversial books available to the public.

Val introduced ACLU of Wisconsin Community Advocate, Stacy Harbaugh, who asked everyone to raise a glass and shout out their favorite book on the challenged book list. Harbaugh shared the stories behind some high-profile book challenges in Wisconsin over the past year (such as in Fond du Lac and West Bend) and thanked ACLU members for their passionate and dedicated support.

As a thank-you to those who attended the event, we were able to give away some ACLU t-shirts, stickers and hats for door prizes. Other generous contributions included fair trade coffee from Just Coffee, a gift certificate for A Room Of One’s Own Bookstore. We also thank Jesse Russell from Dane 101 for donating two tickets to the Freakin’ Halloweekend bash which were the first of the door prizes to go.

Stay tuned to the Cap City Liberty blog for the announcement of our next happy hour. Slated for February, we are planning on an event with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin to invite people to be a part of the reproductive freedom agenda for 2011.

Didn’t get a chance to donate to the ACLU of Wisconsin at the happy hour? Your support is always welcome – you can give back on our website or through Community Shares of Wisconsin and their workplace giving campaigns.

Milwaukee ACLU Celebrates Banned Books Week

2 Oct

The ACLU of Wisconsin Foundation, Woodland Pattern Book Center, the Wisconsin Center for the Book and Art Night Books co-hosted, co-presented the 2nd annual Banned Book reading in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on the evening of October 1st at Woodland Pattern.

About 45 attendees enjoyed wine, food and challenged book readings by guests Vince Bushell, Daisy Cubias, Tom Montag, La Shawndra Vernon and Scott Walter.

Vince Bushell, botanist & publisher of the Riverwest Currents, read from Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughter House Five.

Daisy Cubias, celebrated poet and native of El Salvador, chose to read selected poems from a Salvadoran poet Roque Dalton. Poet, printer and Wisconsin Center for the Book board member, Tom Montag, read from Ulysses by James Joyce. La Shawndra, activist and well known performer, read from The Color Purple by Alice Walker.

University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee professor and lecturer, Scott Walter, appropriately read 1984 by George Orwell.

Asking the audience, “where would we be as a people and a society without many of these wonderful books we grew up with?” Angie Trudell Vasquez invited people to imagine how our lives would be different without such great literature. Co-host and poet, Vasquez read from Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger.

Another co-hosts, ACLU of Wisconsin Youth & Program Director, Emilio De Torre, dressed this year as Lord Byron and read from his much enjoyed original poem combining Banned Book titles and pleas for donations to our represented worthy organizations.

After the event people thanked the ACLU of Wisconsin for supporting their freedom to read said what a good time they had hearing celebrated works, banter and conversation. Many people commented on their literary favorites being on the banned book list. An English teacher in the audience said much of what she assigned showed up on the classics lists.

HOWL Film a Hit In Milwaukee – Answers the Question, "What Are Angel-Headed Hipsters?"

17 Sep

Over sixty people were unable to get seats to the “HOWL” film in Milwaukee Wednesday night. The sold-out event was filled to capacity with people who enjoyed a special advanced screening of the feature film about Allen Ginsberg’s poem and obscenity trial.

“The movie was an excellent blend of a depiction of the trial, an interview with Ginsberg as a monologue by Franco, and a staging of the first public reading of the poem,” said ACLU of Wisconsin staffer Marion Ecks. “I liked how it combined animation and film in a creative and moving way. The cast did an excellent job and Franco really captured Ginsburg’s manners and voice.”

The ACLU of Wisconsin Foundation co-presented the event along with the Woodland Pattern Book Center, the Milwaukee Public Library, Milwaukee LGBT Film Festival and the UW-Milwaukee Libraries. ACLU staff and volunteers were on hand to meet fellow card-carrying members (who got a discounted ticket price) and give updates about our activities in the state. We met librarians, faculty, activists and local politicians who seemed to all have a story to share about a beloved, challenged book or a civil liberties issue they cared about.

“It was a bit of a love fest for literary folks, book lovers, poets, Beat fans and libertarians,” said staffer Angie Vasquez. “I got to meet the Kenosha-area author of “Dharma Lion: A Critical Biography of Allen Ginsberg,” Michael Schumacher, who led a Q & A after the film. Raised in Milwaukee, Schumacher went to parochial school and when his teachers said ‘don’t read this book, “Howl,”’ he went out and bought it right away and became a life-long fan of the Beat Generation. What a story.”

Vasquez was a part of the program before the film started. She thanked the audience and told them that we were excited to be a part of the evening, especially since the ACLU played such an important role in defending HOWL in the trial. She read a segment of Ginsberg’s work which is also used as an example of the power of poetry in a workshop Vasquez presented at last year’s Youth Social Justice Forum in Milwaukee.

She reminded the crowd that the ACLU of Wisconsin will be recognizing Banned Books Week at an event at the Woodland Pattern Book Center on the evening of October 1st. A Banned Books Week happy hour will happen in Madison on October 1st at Mickey’s Tavern. “HOWL” will have selected release dates across the country this fall including in Madison at the Sundance Theater on October 29th.

“HOWL” is just one of the controversial works the ACLU has defended in court. Read more about the history of the ACLU’s work to defend banned books.

Happy ACLU Day! Ninety Years, Taycheedah Prison Conditions, Banned Books and More…

15 Sep

Happy ACLU day!
In NYC, Mayor Bloomberg issued a proclamation honoring the American Civil Liberties Union’s 90th anniversary. It’s a proclamation worth reading because it summarizes the long-term work for basic equality and protections for Americans by the ACLU. What a great milestone: our members and supporters all know that defending civil rights takes time, but the ACLU continues to take the long view to work for justice.

ACLU of WI Update
Here in Wisconsin, we’re getting geared up for Banned Books Week. Listen in on a 20-minute interview on WORT-FM with ACLU of Wisconsin Madison Community Advocate Stacy Harbaugh talking about Banned Books Week plans, our legal victory for equal and adequate health care at the Taycheedah women’s prison, the work to support public schools in implementing comprehensive sex ed and more. The interview was a part of WORT’s commitment to spotlighting organizations like the ACLU of Wisconsin Foundation which are members of Community Shares of Wisconsin which provides fundraising and support for organizations dedicated to addressing social, economic, and environmental problems through grassroots activities, advocacy, research, and public education.
** One correction: the Madison Banned Books Week happy hour will be on Friday, October 1st. See below.

Tonight in Milwaukee, the ACLU of Wisconsin is co-presenting the feature film HOWL starring James Franco. The film will play at the UWM Union Theatre, 2nd level, 2200 E. Kenwood Blvd., 7:00 p.m. and ACLU members will get a discount on their movie tickets. The special advanced screening of HOWL depicts the life of Allen Ginsberg including Ginsberg’s arrest and prosecution for obscenity. Ginsberg was successfully defended by the ACLU in 1957 in this historic defense of a banned book. The ACLU of Wisconsin joins the Milwaukee LGBT Film Festival, the Woodland Pattern Book Center, the Milwaukee Public Library, Milwaukee Film and the UWM Libraries as co-presenters of this event in preparation for the 2010 Banned Books Week (September 25 – October 2) and the Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival (October 21 – 24). For more information about the Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival and HOWL admission cost, visit their website. You can view the trailer of the film on line or read more about the HOWL trial on the ACLU website.

Banned Books Week is coming up! Join us for these events:
October 1 , 2010 – Happy Hour: Banned Books Week kick-off
Mickey’s Tavern, 1524 Williamson St., 5:30 – 7:30 p.m., Madison
A part of the Wisconsin Book Festival’s line up, this celebration of the right to read will bring together readers, librarians and book defenders to socialize and hear some of the stories behind the most challenged books in Wisconsin and across the country this year. Join us for this free, fun event. RSVP for the event on Facebook and invite your friends.

October 1, 2010 – Banned Book Reading
Woodland Pattern Book Center, 720 E. Locust St., 6:30 p.m. reception, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. program, Milwaukee
Join the ACLU of Wisconsin Foundation, Woodland Pattern Book Center, the Wisconsin Center for the Book and Art Night Books for a reading of challenged or banned works of art. Readers will be announced soon. To co-sponsor the event or to donate funds to help provide food and beverages, contact or call 414-272-4032 x 11. To see pictures of last year’s event, visit our blog.

Privacy Rights: Selling a Book to a Resale Shop in Greenfield? "Say Cheese!"

14 Sep

The City of Greenfield Common Council approved a ordinance in April that puts the civil liberties of sellers of books and CDs to resale shops in jeopardy. While it may be well-intentioned, Greenfield’s ordinance (PDF) threatens the privacy rights of anyone trying to sell a long list of used items, including books and CDs, at commercial, resale establishments.

Common Council resolution No. 2695 re-wrote the pawnbrokers’ ordinance. It requires all types of secondhand article dealers to electronically record information in a database about used items and the people who sold the items to the store. The stores would then have to report this information daily to the Greenfield Police. And most troubling from a civil liberties perspective, the merchants have to take photographs of the seller and provide them to police as well.

The ACLU of Wisconsin is concerned that the new ordinance treats all sellers as potential criminals even though there is no particular suspicion that they have done anything wrong and there apparently is little, if any, evidence that the items they are selling (like used books, exercise equipment or baby clothes) are items that are typically “fenced.” It is especially troubling that “expressive materials,” such as used books or films on DVD or video, when sold will result in a record of the sellers’ tastes and opinions.

The Greenfield Common Council is likely to take another look at this new ordinance as soon as the Tuesday, September 21, 2010 meeting at 7:00 p.m. Check the council’s online calendar for the meeting’s agenda and location. Alders have heard complaints from area businesses and need to hear from residents about why this ordinance is too broad to implement.

For residents of Greenfield, please contact Mayor Michael Neitzke and your Council member to encourage them to amend the ordinance so that it will not threaten civil liberties. The City Clerk’s Office can provide you with the name of your alderperson and their contact information. Contact the City’s Clerk’s Office at 414-329-5219. You can find a complete listing of alderpersons online.

Email us at liberty@aclu-wi.orgif you have contacted your alder and he or she is willing to fix this overboard and intrusive ordinance.

Fond du Lac School Rejects Book Challenge

19 Feb

The American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin applauds a book reconsideration committee of the Fond du Lac Theisen Middle School for voting unanimously in support of keeping a book from being banned from their school library this week.

“One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies” by Sonya Sones is recognized as being age-appropriate in youth literature peer reviews for 12-year-olds, an average age for sixth graders. According to a WISN-TV report, statements by the school librarian defending the book selection and a letter from the book’s author read by Superintendent Jim Sebert were among the majority of support given to keeping the book in the library collection. Sones is no stranger to controversy as some of her other publications have been on the banned books list in the past.

The ACLU of Wisconsin also recognizes the bravery and leadership of 13-year-old Shelby Berg for originally suggesting the book be added to her library and for defending the book in the recent challenge. The effort to protect peer-reviewed, age-appropriate youth literature in Fond du Lac is not over: six more titles will be individually considered by the committee for withdrawal from the library shelves.

This weekend the ACLU of Wisconsin will honor West Bend, WI activists who successfully fought back censorship in their public library. The William Gorham Rice Civil Libertarians of the Year recognition will be awarded at the ACLU of Wisconsin Bill of Rights Celebration to the West Bend Activists for Free Speech who stood up to book burners and censorship in their community.

The story got video coverage on FOX WLUK-TV in Green Bay and an article in the Oshkosh Northwestern details the software system that is now in place for parents to restrict what books their children can check out. Other coverage included a preview article and a hearing summary article in the Fond du Lac Reporter.

For more resources on the field of youth literature and how to effectively address book challenges, please contact the Children’s Cooperative Book Center at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. For updates on book challenges and censorship issues in Wisconsin, contact the ACLU of Wisconsin or join the Banned Books Reading Club on Facebook.

Milwaukee ACLU Celebrates Banned Books

20 Oct

The scoop on the ACLU of Wisconsin’s October 14th Banned Books event in Milwaukee – written by our office manager and resident literature and poetry enthusiast, Angie Trudell Vasquez:

In 2007, the ACLU of Wisconsin organized a Banned Book Event in Madison but not in Milwaukee. The event in Madison was well-attended and we really wanted to do one here. This year I joined the Woodland Pattern Book Center Board of Directors and during one of my early meetings, I suggested we do a joint collaboration between the bookstore and the ACLU of Wisconsin. The culmination of brainstorming meetings and research resulted in one of the highlights of my tenure at my job with the ACLU of Wisconsin…

But “let me begin at the beginning” to quote Rudolfo A. Anaya’s “Bless me, Ultima,” #78 of the American Library Association’s 100 most frequently challenged books between 1990 to 1999.

I am a poet, a social poet. I found Woodland Pattern Book Center when I first moved to Milwaukee from Seattle in 2005 and I participated in their annual Poetry Marathon in the midnight hour. I knew Woodland Pattern would be a perfect place for a live reading and working with staffers Chuck Stebelton and Anne Kingsbury was easy. I also serve on the Riverwest Coop and Café finance committee and was able to secure a donation of the most heavenly pastries this side of the Rocky Mountains for our event. While my job at the ACLU of Wisconsin staffer usually involves financials and organizing, working on the details of a Banned Books Week event could combine my love of literature, my community involvement and our work to fight censorship.

With food, libations and location secured, now we had to come up with some readers who would bring the banned books to life. We agreed to approach a previous poet laureate Peggy Hong, local Alderman Nik Kovac, artist and renaissance woman Kiki Anderson, and the ACLU Student Alliance at UW-Milwaukee President Angela Lang. Woodland Pattern Executive Director Anne Kingsbury was to be a reader as well as myself. Our MC for the evening would be the ACLU of Wisconsin’s Emilio De Torre reading his original poem on banned books – check out the pictures on the Ode to a Banned Book blog post.

Now to the books! It wasn’t hard for anyone to decide what to read as the best books have been banned or challenged at one time or another. Peggy read from the “Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas” by Gertrude Stein.

Nik read from James Baldwin’s “Go Tell It on the Mountain.”

And Kiki is shown below sharing the pictures from the “Night Kitchen” children’s book.

Angela chose to read from 1984, particularly in light of current controversies with government blanket surveillance since 9/11.

Mark Peterson, UW-Washington County Professor, blogger of The Motley Cow, among many other of his current endeavors, came and opened the event with his own true life experience with censorship (pictured below in Beatnik style to honor poets like Allen Ginsberg).

He delighted us with his anecdotes, grounded our event in the present, and reminded all 45 of us of that book burnings aren’t as far fetched as we may think they are in the 21st century.

I would advise readers to check out the American Library Association’s Banned Book page and see if one of their favorites is on the list and start their own Banned Book Club readings around the state or join us next year.

– Angie Trudell Vasquez

Ode to a Banned Book

20 Oct

At the Wednesday, October 14 Banned Books event at Woodland Pattern Book Center, ACLU of Wisconsin Youth and Program Director Emilio De Torre donned a costume in the spirit of Geoffrey Chaucer and welcomed the audience for an evening of live reading of banned books. His opening poem on the theme of censorship set the tone for the evening of humor and a celebration of literature…

“On behalf of Woodland Pattern Books and the ACLU of Wisconsin, welcome to our Banned Book Event. We are most pleased you soudry folk are here in support of intellectual freedom, to raise awareness of censorship — and to promote the free exchange of ideas.”

“turn over the leaf and choose another tale”
Ladies and Gentlemen, scholars, students and rogues,
I pray thy mercy for my New York brogue,
For although the guise of Geoffrey Chaucer I wear,
It is not MY dulcet tones that you’ve come to hear,
Nor my pinched verse, kitchen prose or gutter rhyme,
Rather, the immortal men and women who’ve taunted time,
With works of art, beauty and thought,
That even now influence what we’ve wrought,
Their printed words filling schools, libraries and nooks,
Brave drafters and authors of the printed word —- Books.

Sadly, some would have us burn our literary friends at the stake,
And force us to read only their unique take,
Denying young folk access to vital information,
Whilst wielding the torch of intellectual cremation.

And although some may balk and blow their fuses,
To see books writ to other Gods, reason, or Nine Muses,
Let us not to the marriage of true minds impede,
Our Bodies Ourselves, or Voltaire’s Candide.

Where’s Waldo, Scary Stories, Lord of the Rings?
Is NOW the time to purge pagan, agnostic and atheist things?
Strike from these lists Morrison, Chbosky, and Hemmingway,
You CANNOT censor a theme ’cause it’s black, brown or gay!

Schindler’s List, Beloved, & The Great Gatsby.
Lolita, Ulysses and Tango Makes Three,
Baby Bebop, Atlas Shrugged, Go Tell it on the Mountain!
Native Son, Winnie the Pooh, even the Maltese Falcon…

So I put it to all of you my dear friends,
To boldly our 1st Amendment rights defend,
We cannot let others rob parents of the right to decide
With loutish attempts at self-righteous libricide.

Over time and in other places,
McCarthy, Genghis Khan, the Spanish Inquisition,
Have sought to suppress thoughts,
And hold civil liberties in submission.

But if you’re inspired by the words that you hear,
And censorship makes YOU tremble with rage and with fear,
Then gift envelopes can be found in the rear,
5 dollars for students, otherwise 20 per year.

You can follow up on Emilio’s invitation to membership by joining the ACLU of Wisconsin.

Madison ACLU Celebrates Banned Books Week With Panel on Current Issues in Censorship

2 Oct

The American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin Foundation wishes to extend a special thank you to the speakers and supporters who participated in the Madison area Banned Books Week panel. Moderated by Wisconsin Public Radio host Jim Fleming, the panel had a lively discussion on current issues in censorship from the world wide web to the local library.
Our guest speakers:

Jim Fleming, the panel moderator, is a host for Wisconsin Public Radio. He majored in English at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and has had a long career in public radio including work as a host of classical music programs and the award-winning To The Best of Our Knowledge.

Bob Bocher is a Technology Consultant in the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. He works primarily with the state’s public libraries and with schools on such programs as BadgerNet, the state’s telecommunications network. Bob is a Fellow of the American Library Association’s Technology Office and developed the ALA’s Internet Access Principles and its position on Net Neutrality. Mr. Bocher has a special interest in privacy issues related to technology co-authored the book “Privacy in the 21st Century: Issues for Public, School, and Academic Libraries.

Erlene Bishop Killeen works part-time as the District Media Coordinator for the Fox Prairie Elementary, Stoughton Area School District. With 35 years of experience, her credits include: being named library media professional by WEMA and awardee of a Kohl Fellowship in 1998, a reviewer of professional and children’s literature and a member of the advisory board for Teacher-Librarian, membership on the committee that wrote the National Professional Teacher Certification Library Media Standards as well as the 2003 Caldecott Committee. She currently chairs the ALA Publishing Committee and is a member of the Stoughton Public Library Board. Erlene is the mother of two grown children who started watching The Simpsons at age 3!

Pamela Westby is the library director for the Middleton Public Library. Pamela has over 20 years of experience as a librarian in Sparta and Middleton, Wisconsin as well as in her earlier career in Minnesota where she experienced book challenges from patrons. She also teaches a course on public library administration for continuing education.>

Nationally, Banned Books Week is an awareness campaign sponsored by the American Library Association which celebrates the freedom to read and the right to open, accessible libraries. Banned Books Week was officially recognized from September 26 through October 3, 2009. The ACLU of Wisconsin also organized a reading of banned books at Woodland Pattern in Milwaukee.

The ACLU works nationally to fight censorship and protect the freedom of expression, even when free speech is unpopular. This year, the ACLU of Wisconsin Foundation announced that it will be representing a supper club owner in Crivitz, WI who is in a dispute with police who confiscated the flag the man was flying upside-down as a form of protest. The ACLU of Wisconsin was also involved in supporting the librarians at the public library in West Bend, WI after books with gay and lesbian characters were challenged by local residents.

Nationally, the American Civil Liberties Union has joined a coalition of authors, publishers and groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation to urge a federal judge to reject a proposed settlement in a lawsuit over Google Book Search. The ACLU is concerned that the settlement will leave open the possibility that the browsing and readership history of digitized books on Google Book Search will not have privacy protections.

Thursday! Madison celebrates Banned Books Week

30 Sep

Banned Books Week Panel, moderated by Jim Fleming, Wisconsin Public Radio host
Thursday, October 1, 6:00—7:30 p.m.
School of Library and Information Science—4th floor commons
Helen C. White Hall—600 North Park Street Madison, WI 53706

Featuring special guests Bob Bocher, Library Technology Consultant, WI Dept. of Public Instruction and two local librarians with experience working with public and youth library collections. The panel will discuss current issues in censorship including book challenges, net neutrality and free access to the Internet, and youth free speech rights. The event is free and open to the public. Co-sponsored by the School of Library and Information Studies at the UW-Madison and A Room of One’s Own feminist bookstore.


And check out the display at A Room of One’s Own bookstore window – thanks for being loyal defenders of the right to read!

For more on Banned Books Week, visit the American Library Association website or check out the national ACLU’s website on intellectual and artistic freedom.