USA Today: Palin did not ban books in Wasilla as mayor





Despite a national discussion about whether Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin sought to ban books as mayor more than a decade ago, the city says there is no record of any books being yanked from the shelves.

Since being selected as John McCain's running mate, Palin has faced questions over discussions she had with Wasilla's librarian in 1996. In recent days, a bogus list of"banned books" has been widely circulated on the Internet.

But on its website, the city of Wasilla posted a statement asserting that no books at the library have ever been banned.

The statement notes that the library has a policy to handle requests to remove books. During a period of more than two decades four books have been challenged by library patrons, including a book in 2005 by television comedian Jon Stewart, America (The Book), according to the city.

Related Commentary & News Links

  • AP: GOP campaign downplays Palin book-banning inquiry (9/12/08)

  • Historian Juan Cole:

    Despite the whitewashing attempt being made by the Republican Party, it is obvious to me that the allegation stands, that Palin inquired pointedly and repeatedly with the Wasilla librarian about how to remove objectionable books from the library.

    "Mary Ellen Emmons was Wasilla's librarian at the time. She told a local newspaper, the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman, in December 1996 that Palin repeatedly had asked her about removing books from the library, but said Palin never mentioned specific titles, according to the Anchorage Daily News.

    Palin has cast her questions about the library's policy, including at a 1996 City Council meeting, as theoretical. Her critics, including a city resident who attended the meeting, say the questioning was more direct.

    "There was no way that I thought it was rhetorical," said Anne Kilkenny, who said she attend ed the meeting where Palin raised the issue but says she did not remember Palin's exact words."



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