Libraries are supposed to be a place where everyone can go to research, learn and shape their viewpoint from the balanced collection that represents all sides of an issue. But the Morgan County Public Library in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia is throwing that principle out the door by refusing to buy Bob Woodward’s new book “Fear” for their collection.
Community interest can often play an important role in selecting materials for a library’s collection and even though the town overwhelmingly voted for President Trump in 2016, residents seem miffed that the director won’t buy – or accept a donated copy – of the book.
Director Donna Crocker told the local paper “we have other Trump books.” When a local resident offered to donate a copy, she told him they “wouldn’t be putting books like that on the shelves anymore.”
Whether or not you believe the book is true, it’s the top book in the country and it sounds like this librarian is letting her own political leanings get in the way of the fundamental principles of the library: to provide ALL points of view and let the readers decide for themselves what’s false and what’s true.
Censorship does not belong in the public library.
Crocker should buy the book. If she doesn’t, she’s not being a very good librarian and I can say this as one myself. The community will, in essence, decide whether or not the book stays in the collection as libraries weed materials out over time that don’t circulate well.
UPDATE: The library board has intervened and states that the library will carry the book.