Library Meeting Room Guidelines

A reader asked about the library meeting room guidelines, because there’s going to be a white supremacist group meeting there tomorrow from 7:00pm-9:00pm in the Saxe Room.  (Just in time for Black Culture Movie Night!)

The meeting room guidelines are here.  Of interest:

Open Access

All meetings must be open to the public.

No admission fees may be charged. The Board of Directors may waive this regulation for library-sponsored events held at times other than normally scheduled hours of opening. The Board of Directors may permit The Friends of Worcester Public Library or the Worcester Public Library Foundation to charge admission for programs held to benefit the Library. If there is a charge to enter a program during hours that the library is open, this activity may not restrict access to regular library services.

Permission to a group to meet at the library does not in any way constitute or imply an endorsement of its policies, beliefs or program by the City of Worcester, any library official, or the Board of Library Directors.

Let it be known that I am not a representative of the library and that the opinions expressed below are my own.

I believe that public libraries are one of the greatest inventions of the past 300 years.  I believe that freedom of assembly is one of the greatest freedoms we have.

There are some folks out there who would like to pressure the Worcester Public Library to not allow the white supremacists to meet at the library.  I respectfully disagree, and I will absolutely fight for the right for these jerks to meet.

These white supremacists are professional assholes.  I’m sure — despite the fact that I’m more up on actual Anglo-Saxon language and culture than they ever will be — that they consider me somewhere between “dirty” and “mud person.”  So much for being from the ethnic group that brought you democracy!

But those assholes deserve the right to have their meeting just like other folks have the right to watch The Souls of Black Girls.

If you’ve got an issue with what they stand for, protest it.

But don’t play games with their first amendment rights just because they make you uncomfortable.

Would you rather these folks be on the DL or would you rather they come out in the light so that you can confront their misbegotten ideas?  Would you rather drive them underground so that it looks like they’re oppressed by the big bad liberals, or would you rather expose them for what they really are — hatemongers who are opposed to everything good about this country we live in?

The library is not about making nice ideas available to nice people.  It’s about providing knowledge — good, bad, and ugly — to the citizenry.  It’s about educating the people-with-a-capital-P. 

We live in a world that some people think is color-blind.  Some folks even think that racism doesn’t exist anymore.

Thank goodness we’re going to be schooled on that tomorrow night.

5 thoughts on “Library Meeting Room Guidelines

  1. Emily says:

    Of course, I agree with you about the right to freedom of speech. I’m a little less clear on the library’s obligation to host them. The guidelines state that the rooms are “open to organizations or individuals engaged in educational, cultural, intellectual, civic or charitable activities.” Does the NEWP really fall under these guidelines? Hmm… maybe in a sick, twisted way they could be considered “cultural?”

    To me, the more important issue is for the public to be aware of this group and this meeting. It seems like they were trying to keep it quiet– listing it only by its initials on the library website (I hoped that it was a meeting of the New England Wetlands Plants or New England Wood Pellets companies). I just read that the meeting has been postponed and I would like to think that it was the increased public awareness (and outrage) that caused them to cancel the meeting.

    • Nicole says:

      The Democratic City Committee has elections and meetings all the time in the library. They’re not charitable, they’re not educational, not cultural, not intellectual…but they are civic. One could make a similar argument about this group of nazis.

      If you scroll down the library event listings, there’s a group called WCAC. Now, I can make the assumption that that stands for Worcester Community Action Council, but there’s no indication that that’s what it’s for. Are they, too, trying to keep it quiet, or are they making the assumption that this would only be of interest to people in the know?

      I’ve seen religious groups have discussions at the library. If it’s a conservative religious group that, say, believes that homosexuals are going to hell…do they have a right to use the library?

      The Democrats are a “partisan” group, insofar as they lean in a certain direction and oppose some in another direction. If they have a right to meet at the library, why shouldn’t the white power people?

      I’m really not happy about defending the nazis, but I’m more unhappy at the number of folks who think it’s ok to host certain political groups but not others at the library.

      • Emily says:

        OK, OK you got me! I wasn’t really trying to argue with you, but I can see both sides of the issue. I’m glad you are so firm in your convictions!

  2. zed says:

    Local library financed by local taxpayers. Local group or members?

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