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Sarah Palin, aspiring book banner?

September 4, 2008 | 11:00 am

Sarahpalin0904

Time magazine, in its reporting on John McCain's vice presidential choice, Sarah Palin, has uncovered some information that is making librarians uncomfortable.

[Former Mayor John] Stein says that as mayor, Palin continued to inject religious beliefs into her policy at times. "She asked the library how she could go about banning books," he says, because some voters thought they had inappropriate language in them. "The librarian was aghast." That woman, Mary Ellen Baker, couldn't be reached for comment, but news reports from the time show that Palin had threatened to fire Baker for not giving "full support" to the mayor.

Librarian Jessamyn West, who blogs at librarian.net, writes, "Usually I’m just happy to see libraries even mentioned in national level politics, but not like this."

This seems like a good time to mention Banned Books Week, beginning Sept. 27, which celebrates the freedom to read. 2007's most challenged book was "And Tango Makes Three," a children's book about a penguin with two dads; books by Mark Twain and Alice Walker appear, again, on the list. Exactly what books Palin might have wanted to ban have not been identified (other than some unsupported rumors), but it's safe to assume that she won't be joining in to celebrate the idea that no books should be banned at all.

— Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

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