Melissa: Don Wagner Wages War … on LIBRARIANS.

from 70th Assembly District candidate Melissa Fox:

In his role as president of the board of trustees for South Orange County Community College District, my opponent forced Irvine Valley College and Saddleback College to revoke their memberships in the American Library Association.

As a result, our community college librarians lose out on professional opportunities, access to journals, and access to a professional network of staff support; our community college students and faculty lose out on having better-trained librarians; and our community college district suffers national embarrassment.

My opponent’s reason for revoking our community colleges’ memberships in the American Libarary Association was, by his own admission, purely political.  According to him, the American Library Association is a group of “liberal busybodies.”

That’s nonsense.

In fact, the American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with more than 62,000 members.

Its mission is “to promote library service and librarianship” and its motto, adopted in 1892, is “The best reading, for the largest number, at the least cost.”

The American Library Association honored First Lady Laura Bush for her service to American libraries and hailed her as “an exemplary role model to women and men considering the profession of librarianship.”

That doesn’t sound like a group of “liberal busybodies” to me.

Donald Wagner claims that he’ll bring the same “leadership” he has demonstrated as a trustee at South Orange County Community College District to Sacramento.

This isn’t the kind of “leadership” we want.  Our district – which deeply values reading and education – doesn’t want the kind of “leadership” that revokes membership in the American Library Association, hurts our community college faculty and students, and embarrasses our district.

This issue is personal for me: my mother was a librarian in Orange County for more than 20 years and a proud member of the ALA.

She helped children and seniors, students and concerned citizens, find the books that would open up new worlds or help them make sense of this one.

My mother taught me that libraries are places of magic and inspiration, as well as the foundation for an informed citizenry that is essential to democracy.

Those are the values that I’ll take to Sacramento when I represent our district in the Assembly.


October 9, 2010

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