Tuesday, September 23, 2008

AK Paper: G/L Titles Donated
to Wasilla Library

The newspaper of record for Wasilla, Alaska, is the Frontiersman and today's edition includes an extensive front-page story about my donation of two gay-themed books to the local library. Click here to view the PDF of the front-page image.

Michael Rovito wrote the page 1 story and will likely follow developments, as the librarians decided whether to accept the books or pass them along to a library support group to be resold.

A big shout-out to E. Ross and Tim Stallard, two gay Alaskans supportive of the book giving project, for their public endorsement getting gay books on library shelves up north, and to reporter Rovito, for his story and mentioning Ross' web site and using a quote from Stallard, who operates the gay wilderness and travel business Out in Alaska.

From the Frontiersman article:

Responding to news reports about then-Wasilla Mayor Sarah Palin asking a librarian how she would feel about banning books, a San Francisco man has donated two children’s books dealing with homosexuality to the Wasilla Library . . .

The news — old news in the Mat-Su Valley, but new in the Lower 48 — prompted Petrelis to send to Wasilla “Heather Has Two Mommies” and “Daddy’s Roommate,” both children’s books that explain gay lifestyle.

“I said, ‘I’m going to send copies of both books just to make sure they’re on the shelves,’” Petrelis said . . .

There is no evidence that Palin ever banned any books from the library, although many Outside media outlets have incorrectly reported to the contrary . . .

Library Director KJ Martin-Albright said she has received the books but, like any donation, they have to go through a process that determines what to do with them.

There are two options for donations, she said. Either the library puts the book on the shelves or gives it to Friends of the Library to be sold. Martin-Albright said factors such as the author’s reputation, importance of the subject matter to the library’s collection, space availability in the library and a litany of other factors are used to determine the fate of donated materials.

As of Monday, there is no timeline for when a decision on the books Petrelis sent will be made, and Martin-Albright stressed every donated book goes through the same process . . .

Bent Alaska, a blog chronicling gay news and events in the state, praises the donation on its Web site.

Tim Stallard, owner of Out in Alaska, a gay and lesbian guide service, said he thinks Petrelis’s effort is well-placed.

“I think it’s a good statement,” Stallard said. “I think in a free society like ours, openness and education and information are always important.”

Stallard added the timing is right after the Wasilla Public Library was thrust into the spotlight when Palin was named to the Republican ticket.

Gratuitous beefcake shot. Two gay men enjoying a rafting trip organized by Tim Stallard's Out in Alaska wilderness experience agency.


Andrés Duque said...

Classic! Love it...

Ben Stock of Brainpower said...

Genius ! very cool, even for Alaska. Open a small parcel and out pops 2 books, 1200 bloggers and 4000 news aggregators!