The American Dissident: Literature, Democracy & Dissidence

Mashpee Public Library—Free Speech in Peril

Mashpee Public LibraryAt the end of December 2013, I'd posed a challenge to the director of the Mashpee Public Library, Kathleen Mahoney. "How about being the ONLY library in the Clams Library System of Cape Cod willing to subscribe to The American Dissident (only $20!), a 501 c3 nonprofit published on Cape Cod?"


In that challenge I mentioned if she did subscribe whe would thus be abiding by the American Library Association policy statement that "Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view." The libraries in the Clams System included the statement in their own written policies.  

To my great surprise, Mahoney responded positively. It had been three years of my knocking in vain on area library doors.


"Why don't you send me a copy of the publication and an invoice for $20 for a year's subscription and I'll put it in our periodicals section, or local author's collection, whichever is a better fit. The Library's mailing address is Mashpee Public Library, P.O. Box 657, Mashpee, MA, 02649.   I will also forward you a W-9 form to fill out to provide your payment information.  This will be used by the town accounting department to set you up in the system as a vendor and allow them to cut a check. This is how all of our bills are paid, since we are a municipal library. I  will send the W-9 via separate email, and you can scan it and email it back to me, or fax it to my attention at 508-539-1437."


Needless to say I immediate filled out the form and sent it and a copy of The American Dissident. Two months later in the end of February, I received an envelope with the copy in it and a short note by Mahoney not even on library stationary.


"Thank you for forwarding a copy of your work, The American Dissident, to me. After reviewing your publication, I have decided that I will not make it part of the permanent collection, and am returning it to you."


And that was that. Period. No explanation at all was included as to why the change of heart and why the continual violation of written library policy. No explanation was provided as to why the points of view expressed in that issue of The American Dissident were to be banned from the library. Period.