Precinct 333

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Jameson Book Returned To Houston Public Library Shelves

I mentioned Mayor Bill White's act of censorship a couple of weeks ago, after complaints about the book from one member of City Council.

That action has been overturned.

A library system internal memo dated Feb. 1 said a review committee recommended that the books be relocated to the fine arts and recreation section on the third floor of the central library. Books in that section include celebrity biographies.

Michel said Friday that White's decision last month was a temporary measure designed to address community concerns quickly, and that White always anticipated that a library committee would make a final decision.

But no city officials made that claim when the Houston Chronicle published a story Jan. 27 revealing White's decision.

At the time, [Mayor's Office spokesman Frank] Michel said, "We're trying to take action quickly, and we didn't see a need to go through a long bureaucratic process."

Also at the time, Toni Lambert, interim director of the Houston Public Library, issued a news release calling White's decision "a reasonable solution."

Holm said she never was told White's decision was temporary, adding she is "in the dark" about why the committee that issued the Feb. 1 memo was formed.

Does anyone believe that the memo was really written on February 1? Or that a committee really made the decision? I suspect that any close inquiry will show that Mayor White caught so much heat that the new policy was devised as a cover. That seems to be his modus operandi when faced with public criticism.

But regardless, I'm glad to see the censorship of the book end -- not that I have any interest in reading it.

But apparently others do want to read it. Since Mayor White's censorship decision was reported, the number of request for the system's twelve copies has increased from 20 to 41.


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