Library display offends

911 display at Vernon library questioned

I am a regular patron of the Vernon branch of the Okanagan Regional Library and normally note the books displayed in the window at its entrance.

I was taken aback to see on Sept. 10, and again the following Sept. 11, a display of what can only be construed as taxpayer-funded publicity for the “vernon911truth” organization, the existence of which is often advertised through their notices in The Morning Star.

When I enquired as to how use of that library display space is decided, the head librarian informed me that the library’s role is to present a range of viewpoints, that the so-called 911truth organization had requested the display, and that the executive director of the Okanagan Regional Library was aware of this presentation.

I consider this to be poor judgement on the part of the library, and this letter is an attempt to explain why.

I am not writing to argue the merits of any particular conspiracy theory, but rather to question the use of publicly-funded space to publicize a view which can charitably be described as unconventional and not generally accepted.

Perhaps, next, should be a display in the library presenting the argument that the moon landings were really faked in Hollywood or that the Holocaust was a hoax? Where does one draw the line?

And why does 911truth fall on one side and not the other?

For those philosophically inclined, the principle of Occam’s razor should always be applied.

Merely having a display in a public space can give credibility to any crackpot theory, credibility which would be very difficult to attain otherwise.

I completely understand and agree that arguments can be made for any viewpoint, and should be freely accessible in a library. But that, to my mind, is very different than providing a public and publicly funded platform for a particular worldview.

This is particularly true when, as in this case, the view has little, if anything, to do with the functions of a library.

Personally, I and others found the presentation of this propaganda in a public space to be highly offensive at the time of the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

Our library, like all public institutions, is ultimately accountable to the electorate.

This taxpayer and voter seriously questions the judgement of the library in this instance.


Wynn Polnicky, Vernon