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Niagara Falls
Thursday, April 18, 2024
Letter: Library board should have supported Simpson
Letter to the editor. File

Dear editor:

The only people who should have been fired over Cathy Simpson’s column about Freedom to Read Week are the members of the NOTL Library Board for not standing with her during this controversy.

As with most censorship issues, those who want to ban books or stop people from sharing opposing viewpoints see only what they want to see and are determined to stamp out anyone who does not comply with their view of the world.

We are not talking about protecting hate speech or deniers of the historical record as we have laws on the books that protect us from the truly troubled.

As a retired chief librarian I’m shocked and dismayed that the library board would turn tail and run from protecting free speech based on a letter to the editor and some disgruntled underlings.

Ironically, library trustees cannot be sacked or forced to resign by a municipal council that appoints them.

Why? Because smart people did not want politicians being able to select or censure the collection of library materials.

Simpson’s article in and of itself only requested that a democratic society listen to opposing viewpoints, not adopt them.

The claim that the board had no idea their chief librarian would discuss freedom to read or freedom of speech issues as a CEO is beyond belief.

The board chair admits that Simpson is an exceptional librarian and well-regarded in the profession; she is.

The board hired a professional librarian to lead its public library and no doubt agreed to support the library industries’ Statement on Intellectual Freedom.

Shame on the entire board.  Book banning and related censorship issues are alive and well south of the border and that’s why the short documentary “The ABCs of Book Banning” was up for an Oscar this year.

I sincerely hope that the board is putting away lots of money for the wrongful dismissal suit that should follow. The NOTL community should be up in arms about this injustice and condemn the lack of principled leadership by the library board.

Murray McCabe
Retired chief librarian
Hamilton

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