Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Rejecting the Flag

Courtesy of LIS News, here's the infuriating story of a former employee of the Boulder, CO, Public Library:

Just in time for Flag Day, a former Boulder librarian has come out with a self-published book about the infamous post-9/11 flag flap that caught national attention and he says cost him his job.

When Boulder's library director nixed his idea for a large American flag in the front entrance, but approved a display of 21 ceramic penises, his star started falling, said Christopher J. Power, author of Long May they Wave.

Power, who wrote the library's master plan, said he found himself snubbed by library officials and ultimately laid off.

After 9/11, when America was in a patriotic fervor, Power proposed to library director Marcelle Gralapp that they hang a 10-foot-by-15-foot American flag in the foyer, which is mostly glass and has a 41-foot-high ceiling.

Gralapp gave an initial OK but later nixed the idea after a library manager with extreme anti-American ideas had a talk with her, Power said.

The story reached the press, and Gralapp initially told reporters that an American flag "could compromise our objectivity. We want people of every faith and culture walking into this building, and we want everyone to feel welcome."

(emphasis added-DD)

Yes, because nothing makes everyone feel welcome like 21 ceramic penises. In addition, I find it fascinating that Ms. Gralapp felt that some of her patrons might be offended by the sight of the American flag. I'm also puzzled by her conviction that her library should remain neutral in the struggle between America and Salafist-Jihadism.

During World War II, ALA and libraries in general openly participated in the nation's war effort, adopting the slogan that "Books Are Weapons in the War of Ideas." Today, America is at war with an adversary rivaling the Nazis in barbarism and hatred of intellectual freedom. Yet, as the Boulder episode helps show, it is impossible to conceive of today's libraries playing a similar role.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for pointing out some of the absurdity that takes place in the LIS world. It ridiculous and a tragedy that the flag idea was nixed.

3:54 PM  

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