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Library Says Blog Moderated, Not Censored

by Karen Goff April 8, 2015 at 10:00 am 10 Comments

Reston Regional LibraryA Fairfax County Public Library spokesman said claims that library employees are being censored are coming from one employee upset that an intraoffice blog now has moderated comments.

“We support freedom of opinion and free speech,” said Mary Mulrenan, marketing director for the FCPL system. “No one here would ever support censorship.”

Earlier this week, the Fairfax Library Advocates distributed an email to supporters that said library administration was censoring contributions and comments to its “FCPL in the News” blog that were critical of library administration. FLA said “this is wrong and fundamentally against our basic beliefs in regard to freedom of thought and opinion.” The group also put up an online petition saying censorship has no place in the library system.

Mulrenan said the censorship accusations are the result of one employee upset that the blog now has moderators.

“This one employee’s posts were impairing other people from commenting,” she told Reston Now. “There were a lot of posts of a political nature. We have guidelines, such as you cannot post anonymously or of a political nature. So now the software is helping us stick to the guidelines.”

Meanwhile, Mulrenan said she appreciates FLA’s efforts in advocating for more money for libraries from the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

The FLA is planning a rally Wednesday afternoon at the 2016 budget meetings at the Fairfax County Government Center.

The Advertised Fairfax County Budget for 2016 includes $27,612,745 for public libraries. The 2015 budget included an adopted budget amount of $27,828,497, but an additional $2 million was later allocated. Read a detailed explanation of the 2016 library and parks budget on Fairfax County’s website.

Mulrenan said the contracting library budget has affected the system in recent years. The system has  had to cut library hours, materials and staffing since 2008, she said. The FCPL has recently eliminated 14 positions by attrition, she added.

“Every agency in the county is facing budget cuts,” she said. “The library continues to take a cut and it hurts. I encourage people to advocate on the library’s behalf.”

  • FULL TIME BOJANGLER

    I love how they say every department in the county is facing budget cuts, yet Board of Supervisors give themselves a raise. And if I remember correctly, it was about a 20% raise. But Hudgins deserves it? Bulova?

    • Ming the Merciless

      They need the extra money to pay for counseling due to the extreme emotional distress they suffer when apportioning the budget cuts.

  • Save Our Libraries

    Postings from several staff have been blocked

    It is done by people NOT software

    Anything critical of Admin is blocked

    The Fairfax County Public Library Employees Association and the County union support the effort to challenge this It is not just one person

  • Save Our Libraries

    Over 50 people have already signed the petition against censorship of library staff – including many current library staff and library retirees.

    • Ming the Merciless

      All of you should quit or shut up.

  • Save Our Libraries

    The
    petition about staff censorship was put up by the County union staff after a
    decision in a conference call involving the union leadership, the union
    legal team, the library Employees Association (FCPLEA) leadership, and several library staff whose posts
    and/or comments have been blocked on the staff blogs.. It was not
    something initiated by any one person.

    • Ming the Merciless

      An organization controls the content on its own website! Shock, horror! Employees must abide by the rules their employer sets! Unprecedented outrage!

  • Richard

    Obnoxious commenters who inject political commentary into every discussion? No. Can’t be true.

  • Save Our Libraries

    Library positions were not cut by “attrition” . Library Administration willfully blocked vacancies from being filled. They would not allow replacements to be hired for those vacancies for many months. Now they dismiss the staff cuts by saying the positions to be eliminated have long been vacant. Yes they have – but ONLY because branches were prevented from replacing needed staff.

  • clambj

    I can’t believe that people would ever use a comment board to leave unrelated political rants. This is what you got when you voted for Obama who wants to send Michelle personally to go to your house and take away your guns.

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