Teton County Library draws fire for book on pot-growing

An Anonymous Patron writes "A short One From Wyoming says The county library is being criticized for carrying a how-to book on growing marijuana.

"I do not understand why, when so much of our county resources are devoted to dealing with the problem of substance abuse, you have chosen to spend tax dollars to purchase a how-to crime manual," Robert Gathercole said of the "Marijuana Grower's Handbook" in an e-mail to library Director Betsy Bernfield and the Teton County Commission.

He demanded an explanation and wondered if the library would also carry books on bomb-making, assassination, how to make methamphetamine and child pornography.

Bernfield said she will put the book on hold once the current borrower returns it."

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Hey kids...let's start a bonfire!

All the books on liquor--history, mixology, etc. While not illegal to consume liquor, we all know the bad that can come of it.

Material about homosexuality....those sodomy laws are still on the books some places. Can't have any acceptance of such unholy unions.

Let's see....probably about 3/4 of the fiction section. When was the last time you read a good novel where someone wasn't doing something really naughty or illegal?

Swimwuit issue. I'm guessing that it's illegal to whack off in a public bathroom--having such material available just encourages criminal behavior (at least at my library).

Re:Hey kids...let's start a bonfire!

You're absolutely right...people can find just about anything objectionable in a library'scollection.Sad thing is these materials are usually checked out then never returned...and at least some of the people who take the stuff long for the chance for publicity if they are sued...which they rarely areSo certain patrons become censors and there may not be much we can do about it...even repeated replacement of the materials seems pointless after awhile

Re:Hey kids...let's start a bonfire!

Growing pot is illegal.It's not illegal to consume liquor.Homosexuality != sodomy.Fiction is just that, fiction.Swimwuit issue != whacking off in a public bathroom.These are things that could be offensive for some people.There's a line somewhere, and for me this one goes over it. This is not just an offensive book, it's a how to guide to do something that is not legal. It might have a place in an academic library, but I've not seen an argument that makes sense to have it in a public library.Offensive is almost never an argument that I'll buy, but illegal is.

Re:Hey kids...let's start a bonfire!

So much for the echo chamber, I completely disagree! The author wrote the book, the publisher published the book, it's in the public canon, it's about a substance used legally by some physicians and their patients; a substance that is completely legal for adult use in many countries other than the US. The book should not be withdrawn from the library--it should be available to the public!

What About the Collection Development Policy?

My concern is whether or not a collection development policy was being followed. The library makes reference to having one, but I wonder what it actually says as it is not available on the web. If the library was following its policy when it obtained the book, then it is justified. If it was not, there are questions to be raised. A bit more openness about collection development policy might be helpful in this library's case so that the community understands how the library actually acquires items.

a question

Okay. Let's say this book is not in your library because you have a ship-shape collection devel policy that disallows such titles. If someone requested it on interlibrary loan, would you order it for them? Or do you say, "No way, bub. I think that you are going to engage in illegal activities upon receipt of this book, and think it is in the best interest of our community that I not allow you access to such materials."

We have a handful of hemp activists in town--they have requested quite a few titles along these lines (mostly political stuff, and not much about growing). I don't ask them what they're going to do the with the materials. I just do my job and request them.

Re:a question

If it meets the policies defining interlibrary loan, I would go along with it. I would not necessarily agree with it but if it meets policies I would let it through.

Re:Hey kids...let's start a bonfire!

Now now, it may be illegal to grow pot, but is learning about it equivalent to growing it? Perhaps a policeman or would want to know how to investigate such things, or a parent suspects his kid is involved somehow in growing pot.

Re:Hey kids...let's start a bonfire!

Until the recent US Supreme Court decision, it was illegal in many states to engage in homosexual sodomy. Would you have banned "The Joy of Gay Sex" on the same grounds?

Re:Hey kids...let's start a bonfire!

Great answer!You are correct in stating that only the user knows what they will and will not do with the knowledge gleaned from the book.

Cops

I was watching an episode of "Cops" that I think was filmed in L.A. The police had a helicopter equipped with an infrared camera that could detect heat emissions. They were flying around and they pointed out on their monitor what a normal house looked like in infrared. The doors and windows had a red tint because of heat escaping. Then they flew to a house that they thought was growing marijuana. On the screen you could not even see the house because all that showed up was a big white ball from all the heat emissions. The police made some comment like, "He is either running an industrial operation out of his house or a grow lab." They obtained a warrant and went to the house. The basement was chuck full of grow lights and weed. The other funny thing was that the grower had kept detailed logs of the growth of the plants. When he feed them how much light he used etc...
The police mentioned that this was going to be a very solid case in court because not only did the criminal have the illegal items in his house he kept excellent records of it.
In regards to the book in question I think the library should have it. Pot growers can buy the book from Amazon and I don't think they are going to want to check the book out from the library. Not so much out of fear that the library will turn you in as being seen with the book.

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