Home / Government and politics / Libraries’ Denial Of Anti-Clinton Book Draws Frustration

Libraries’ Denial Of Anti-Clinton Book Draws Frustration

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Ann Lhota said she’s been waiting on Alachua County’s libraries to purchase a book for 40 days.

In mid-August, Lhota, a Newberry resident, requested that the Alachua County Library District purchase “Clinton Cash: A Graphic Novel.”

The graphic novel — which sits at No. 6 on the New York Times best-seller list for hard-cover graphic books — is a story about Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton that suggests she has used her governmental power to achieve personal gain.

It’s inspired by the book “Clinton Cash,” and because of the upcoming presidential election, Lhota stressed the importance of the related graphic novel’s content.

But soon after she made the request, it was denied by members of the library system’s staff charged with reviewing purchase requests.

Lhota said she offered to write a check to the library to pay for the book herself, but she was still denied.

After the denial, the library district purchased “A Child’s First Book of Trump,” a satirical picture book that mocks Clinton’s Republican opponent, Donald Trump, Lhota said.

So now she said she’s angry.

“We want the people to make the decision,” Lhota said of the library’s purchases. She said she’s talked to 20 to 30 people who have also requested the graphic novel.

“If you do not permit one specific book and one specific title,” she added, “then what you’re doing is not allowing the people who pay taxes to make the decision to freely read what they want to read.”

However, Shaney Livingston, the library district’s director, said “Clinton Cash” — the book but not the graphic novel — is already available to the public.

The graphic novel specifically hasn’t been purchased because it’s a retelling of the original book, Livingston said. Alachua County’s libraries have 11 copies of the book in four different formats: print, e-audio, e-book and CD

“What we try to do is make sure that we have a balanced and fair collection,” she said of the library’s collection policy manual.

Livingston said that of the 39 titles Lhota has requested in the past two years, the library district has purchased 35.

The library system started allowing patrons to make purchase requests a few years ago, Livingston said.

“Not all libraries allow their patrons to be able to put in purchase requests,” she said.

Though public libraries are government entities funded by taxpayers, libraries aren’t obligated to buy a book in all forms, said Clay Calvert, the director of the Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project at the University of Florida. (In this instance, those forms would be a textual book and a graphic novel.)

“The big rule that would be at play here is that the public libraries would have to be viewpoint neutral when it comes to the selection of books,” he said.

A library cannot discriminate against a book because of its political viewpoint, Calvert said. However, if the content is the same in both versions, the requirement of content neutrality is most likely satisfied, he said.

Meanwhile, Lhota said she has continued to push for the book’s purchase by emailing city officials.

“It’s called freedom of speech and intellectual freedom,” she said. “We as a community want to read this book.”

About Cecilia Mazanec

Cecilia is a reporter for WUFT News and can be contacted by emailing mazanecc@ufl.edu.

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  • Surprisingly editorial decision by a government institution.
    Wait, did the graphic novel have a Jesus fish on it? Because that would be just offensive.

  • Carolyn smith

    Not sure why this is a story. The library purchased 11 copies in a variety of formats. Certainly we have more important issues to discuss.

  • Lucy Libre

    Why is the library making such a strong effort to keep this great popular graphic novel away from the people? We want to know why. This book is a really cool colorful picture version of Clinton Cash which is a book that describes Hillary Clinton’s scams, dirty dealings and her corruption and fraud in a really funny comic book format. The US presidential election is very important to many people and a lot of us want to see this book. Hillary Clinton is running for president and this book describes her negatives. We use the library and we want to see this book. The library MUST buy this book if the people want to read it. It only costs $11.99 on amazon.
    Hey library, just buy the book and let the people read it.

  • Sylvia McIntyre-Crook

    The Alachua County Library system is a nationally recognized, award winning library system. They do incredible outreach on so many levels for our community including purchasing 35 of 39 books that Ms. Lhota has requested. The content of the book she is currently making at issue about is presented in the 11 copies that the library has. Read or listen to the books that the library has!

    • only1creator

      This is a graphic novel, a novel that young people are likely to read, since it looks like a cartoon, and this book would be a lot easier for young people to understand, not a lot of words and a cartoon format, they are trying to sensor books that would be for young people, they have Trumps book which is a graphic novel on the shelf, why not clinton cash? These degenerates need to stop thinking they can sensor any reading material, once they get the power to sensor one book then they will do it to any other book they wish to. The american people fund the library so we should be able to decide which books go in them period end of story! This is sensorship.

  • Sue Bellcamp

    Unfair liberal bias showing! Just be fair!

  • booklover

    How as it censorship or political bias when the library owns copies of books titled False choices : the faux feminism of Hillary Rodham Clinton, Armageddon: How Trump Can Beat Hillary, Hillary’s America: the Secret History of the Democratic Party, and Partners in Crime: the Clintons’ Scheme to Monetize the White House for Personal Profit? They made a choice not to offer a fifth format of the same content in favor of other titles with the same point of view. They have to make decisions about what to put on the shelf, purchased or donated, every day, and they no doubt have to turn down other requests as well. There’s no political interest behind it when there’s so many other books in the collection on the same topic with the same perspective.