19 June 2006

Southbridge library displays Oz collection

This weekend I stayed at the home of fellow Oz fan and cataloguer Dee Michel while I attended a historical conference. I had no idea until I got home, however, that last week Dee's display of his Oz collection kicked up a tiny cyclone in another Massachusetts town, Southbridge.

Dee's display is called "Wizard of Oz: A Cultural Touchstone." He first assembled his collection this way for the University of Massachusetts library last year. With 2006 being the 150th anniversary of L. Frank Baum's birth, the Jacob Edwards Library in Southbridge is hosting the exhibit.

This exhibit is also connected with Gay Pride Month since
Dee's working on a book about the appeal of the Oz series for gay men. On 21 June, the library hosts him and Gregory Maguire, author of latter-day Oz novels Wicked and Son of a Witch and a gay father of I've-lost-track-of-how-many. They'll speak and mingle with guests at a fundraising reception for the library.

All that seems to have been too much for one town council member, who used meeting time to suggest boycotting the library. T
he Jacob Edwards Library gets no money from the town for its displays and speaker programs, and even if it did Massachusetts leads the nation in ending anti-gay legal discrimination. So the town councilman seems to be using public resources to promote his personal viewpoint on a private matter.

The Worcester Telegram & Gazette broke the story. (Thanks to Blair Frodelius's new Daily Ozmapolitan roundup of Ozzy news for this link.) The American Library Association also picked it up.

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