Friday, October 2, 2009

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

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.