Friday, January 28, 2011

Library Threatened over Screening of "Sicko"

The Journal-Enquirer, North Central Connecticut's newspaper reported last week that The Enfield Public Library was faced with a hard decision.  

The planned screening of Michael Moore's controversial documentary "Sicko," which is very critical of the US health system came under fire from Enfield's mayor and a number of town council members, following a complaint from a resident.  The library had begun a new nonfiction film series and Moore's 2007 documentary which had been nominated for an Academy Award was considered a poor choice by resident Kevin Fealy who pressured the library to cancel the showing.  Fealy's concern was that he didn't want the town "“to promote material such as this on my tax dollars.”

Library Director, Henry Dutcher, was asked to cancel the film by the town manager, his supervisor.  Funding to the library was threatened by Mayor Scott R. Kaupin who is quoted as saying, "...if they don’t reconsider, then they’re going to have the repercussions of the council....I mean, in the end, when budget time comes and Mr. Dutcher is asking for funding he’s going to have to answer for it.”  It is Kaupin's opinion that the library should steer clear of "controversial" material and "Do nice stuff.  Do uncontroversial...."

The only council member to speak against the decision was Councillor Cynthia Mangini, calling it censorship.  

The Connecticut Library Association is deciding upon its response which could include suing the town.

It is time once more for the Banned Book Challenge.  Celebrate Canadians' freedom to read by reading a banned or challenged book.  Sign up now. 

Update:  Following the controversy raised by the Town of Enfield's decision to pressure the library to pull the showing of "Sicko," the Town reversed its decision.  Read more about it at the ALA website

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