Rick Speer Gets It Right

October 9, 2007

I was catching up reading the H20boro library blog  and I found an entry on the theft of two copies of the sex ed book It’s Perfectly Normal from the Lewiston Public Library in Maine. Here are two more links about the issues: in herzogbr.net blog and an article in the Portland Press Herald.

I was impressed with Rick Speer’s response to the patron who sent in a check covering the replacement costs of the book – he returned the check to her along with the library’s form for reconsideration of library materials. The Lewiston Public Library is my home town library, and I was an enthusiastic patron there for many years, especially during high school, when I sought refuge in the New Books section at least twice a week. It’s the library that first taught me what a public library was supposed to be and how it was supposed to serve its patrons, and Rick Speer is still doing just that, demonstrating how to resolve a conflict over contested materials even when the patron doesn’t recognize that their approach is wrong.

I haven’t yet handled an issue of contested materials at either of my libraries, but I hope that when I do, I’m able to follow Rick Speer’s model and represent my library as well as he did.

2 Responses to “Rick Speer Gets It Right”

  1. Sam Says:

    Does that mean I shouldn’t storm into the public library and burn the Left Behind series in front of the librarians?

  2. thedonofpages Says:

    Well, almost right. Returning the check impressed me. Libraries need the money, but doing the right thing is sometimes priceless. Sending a request form instead of a “Thanks for the thought” letter is a sign the bureaucracy rules.


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