The Booklist

There’s been considerable talk on blogs and in the media over a central question: Is Sarah Palin a censor?

It’s of particular relevance to the creatives in the entertainment industry, where partisans on both side of the aisle tend to steer clear of any candidate who outright advocates limits on free speech.

So a list of supposed books that Palin wanted banned from her local library has been circulating as if it were actually true.

The St. Pete Times tries to set the record straight: The list of books is actually a list of tomes that are routinely on banned booklists, and not from the minutes of any public body in Wasilla.

What actually happened is a bit more murky.

Here’s the account from the local paper in December, 1996, which shows that there was some kind of inquiry on Palin’s part, but no evidence that she requested that actual titles be taken off the shelves.

“The most definitive record for much of this issue comes from a Dec. 18, 1996, article in the Wasilla newspaper, the Frontiersman.

“In that story, Wasilla library director Mary Ellen Emmons (now Mary Ellen Baker) said that after Palin was elected mayor, she twice inquired about censoring library books.

“I’m not trying to suppress anyone’s views,” Emmons told the Frontiersman. “But I told her (Palin) clearly, I will fight anyone who tries to dictate what books can go on the library shelves.”

“This is different than a normal book-selection procedure or a book-challenge policy,” Emmons said.

“She was asking me how I would deal with her saying a book can’t be in the library.”

“Palin told the Frontiersman that she had no particular books or other material in mind when she posed the questions to Emmons.

“In a written statement to the newspaper, Palin “said she was only trying to get acquainted with her staff” and that the question was “rhetorical.””

What is interesting is that Palin, because she is such an unknown, is now being subjected to the same types of rumor and innuendo e-mails that Obama has endured throughout his campaign. But Palin did make some kind of inquiry, even if there was not a list.

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