A letter sent to the Burley Public Library Foundation:
We had so much fun on today’s parade entry. The library staff did funny little skits and played silly. These were the characters of Thing 1, Thing 2, and the clown, of course. Olga & Brenda slapped high 5’s with about a million children and got a lot of smiles and cheers. Cari created the vision of our simple little entry and her husband welded and cleaned their ATV and trailer to make it shine.
This was a wonderful event for all of us. People cheered and clapped, reminding us all of the importance of their library in our community. Parents and grandparents made special efforts to point out to their little ones that the characters from Mary Poppins, Beauty and the Beast, Toy Story, Wizard of Oz, Moana, and my own Curious George were passing by. For me, this was exciting and humbling all at the same moment. It’s an honor to be trusted by our incredible community members. We played Jerry’s music clips that had anything to do with books or the library. All of our staff members participated to some degree creating this simple little entry. Just a fun, fun, fun day.
Thank you, BPL Foundation for making this day such a delight!!!!
This text is taken from the PDF found at: http://idaholibraries.org/intellectual-freedom-committee-newsletter/ Please check out the PDF to see the original formatting and to access all of the links. (Well, actually, now the links have been added below too)
This is the first newsletter from your ILA Intellectual Freedom Committee for 2017. You will receive a quarterly newsletter from us that will summarize what is going on in the world of intellectual freedom. Anything to do with Idaho will get priority, but we want you to stay informed with what is going on throughout the country too!
If you have any comments or questions, please email Shalini Ramachandran at email@example.com. And remember, we want to know what is going on in your library! Shoot us an email and let us know about any book challenges, concerns or activities in your area. All communication is confidential; we will consult you before talking to anyone else. Challenges can also be reported to the ALA national office, using this form.
Moeller, Katy. 2017. “5,000 attend Boise’s Women’s March.” The Idaho Statesman. Accessed January 25, 2017. http://www.idahostatesman.com/news/local/community/boise/article127984764.html.
Intellectual freedom and first amendment rights to expression and peaceful protest are important cornerstones of a democratic society. On Saturday, January 21, millions came together to exercise those rights in “Sister Marches.”
Marchers gathered around the world to represent issues at stake vis a vis the plans set forth by the new administration. Issues include a variety of concerns over human and civil rights, along with environment and freedom of information. Official marches were organized throughout the state of Idaho—in Boise, Driggs, Idaho Falls, Ketchum, Moscow, Pocatello, Sandpoint, and Stanley—with Boise’s march drawing a crowd of 5,000. Boise’s March was even mentioned in a variety of national news sources, including the Washington Post and New York Times.
According to the Women’s March on Washington website, a total of 673 marches took place around the world (in all 50 states, 80 countries, and all 7 continents), and the total number of demonstrators is estimated to be near 5 million (womensmarch.com/sisters).
Intellectual freedom empowers citizens to share information and to gather to participate in the formation of social and civil policies, without restriction or impediment. The Women’s Marches that took place around the country and world exemplify the integral place free speech and intellectual freedom occupies in the democratic process.
By Hailey Roberts, Meridian Library District
Wilson, Paula. 2017. “Librarian Takes It Off in the Stacks; Goes Viral.” Public Libraries Online. Accessed January 20, 2017. http://publiclibrariesonline.org/2017/01/librarian-takes-it-off-in-the-stacks-goes-viral/.
Fake news is a current buzzword, but a long-standing issue in journalism and public information. Read Paula Wilson’s “Librarian Takes It Off in the Stacks; Goes Viral” for an assessment of why “fake news” is (and has been) a problem, and what librarians can do to empower the public to filter through it.
Wilson reminds us to be wary of sensationalized statements and headlines, drawing a comparison between fake news and celebrity tabloids—both constructed to tickle the brain and make you just curious enough to read on. Oh, and turn a profit.
Our connected culture allows us to share information incredibly quickly. This is a great benefit. But, there are limits to the system, and the proliferation of information is often based on algorithms and advertising. If you don’t come across a piece of “news” because it was shared directly with you, you’ll probably run into it somewhere if you happen to be interested in any of the content’s subject matter.
Simply put: you can’t trust every article you encounter, even if it looks legitimate.
Wilson cites an article published by the BBC in December which profiles a group of teens in Macedonia who became rich by paying Facebook to promote their (plagiarized) fake news articles about the recent U.S. presidential election, which may or may not have swayed U.S. voter behavior.
The BBC article doesn’t make any estimates of how many people these fake articles reached, but the young writers earned substantial sums from advertising revenue after publishing. Wilson also refers us to a recently published study by the Stanford History Education Group which explores college students’ civic online reasoning skills, and claims that many experience difficulty in distinguishing credible sources from less savory ones among the flood of information.
Read “Librarian Takes It Off in the Stacks; Goes Viral” and join the conversation about what librarians can do to empower their communities to spot the red flags of fake news.
By Bette Ammon, Director, Coeur d’Alene Public Library
When I was a young adult librarian at the Pocatello Public Library (now Marshall Public Library) in the mid-1980s, “The Day They Came to Arrest the Book” by Nat Hentoff was fairly new. That was my first exposure to Hentoff. His depiction of the attempted censorship of Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” in a high school helped to form my ongoing deep belief in intellectual freedom, particularly in libraries.
Hentoff died this past January at the age of ninety-one. Most known for outspoken commentary in many arenas of speech and information, as well as his background in jazz, his “Arrest” novel struck a chord with me over 30 years ago. In the book, the characters come to understand both the responsibilities of the freedom to read and how critical it is to exercise that freedom.
I realize now that my opinions and staunch adherence to reading freedoms comes from authors like Hentoff, my first public library boss (children’s librarian Betty Holbrook), and my writing partner, Gale Sherman. Gale and I co-taught children’s literature for a time at Idaho State University and were proud and excited to expose our students to the variety and breadth of books for children and young adults. All these experiences verified the critical importance of allowing all readers of all ages the opportunity to read all sorts of materials.
One of my favorite personal stories is that of my then three-year-old daughter insisting to me that the character Mickey in Maurice Sendak’s “In the Night Kitchen” was a boy. When I asked how she knew, her reply: “Because he has that pot on his head.” For those who may not have looked at Sendak’s classic lately, this picture book comes under fire regularly because several of the illustrations feature a mischievous and nude little boy who does indeed sometimes sport a pot on his head.
It’s as important now as it ever was to recognize the importance of unfettered access to all sorts of books and information. We always speak about the existence of libraries in support of a democratic and informed citizenry and that is particularly critical now. People need to read and speak and read some more in order to understand and participate. I like reflecting back on reading Hentoff’s book and the subsequent development of my unshakeable conviction to promote the right, responsibility, and privilege to read freely.
Do you have a story that you want us to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
The Burley Public Library Foundation received an Email from the Smith’s Community Rewards program saying: “Your supporters (8 households) who shopped at Smith’s between 10-1-2016 and 12-30-2016(Cycle 3, Qtr 4) have contributed to your $47.09 total donation. Your organization will be receiving a Kroger check in this amount within 30 days from 1-11-2017.”
On behalf of the Burley Public Library Foundation we would like to THANK those 8 households who have married their Smith’s frequent shopper card to our charity. Thank you!
For those of you who would like to have Smith’s contribute to the Foundation on your behalf, you just need to create a digital account with them at their website. Here is the link explains how to quickly and easily create a digital account, and then how to choose the organization you wish to have Smith’s donate to on your behalf: https://www.smithsfoodanddrug.com/topic/community-rewards-5
Our Non-Profit Organization or NPO number with Smith’s is: 25869 You will need to load that number in at the end of the process to indicate which organization you are choosing to support.
Thanks for http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/ for the image of the family
Just thought I would share.
William Bowen Thomas
Born May 29, 1920
Lived in Burley 1930-1937
A founder, CEO and President of Big O Tire Company
William Bowen Thomas, known early in his life as Bowen and later as Bill, was born May 29, 1920, in Castleford, Idaho. He lived in the Starrh’s Ferry area of Burley from 1930 to 1937. Those were important years for him. During that time he met and dated Wave Young, the girl he would later marry. He also learned to work hard, as did others who grew up during the Great Depression, and he absorbed the values of honesty, thrift, and courage that later would cause him and his contemporaries to be known as “the Greatest Generation.”
When Bill was fourteen years old, an accident occurred that would greatly affect his later life. As he came into the narrow outbuilding where the family car was, he stumbled over a pile of potato sacks. He fell forward, bumping his right arm. “The pants I was wearing were white,” he later wrote. “As I walked around the car, I could see my white pants were all black in front. As I walked out into the sunlight and raised my right arm, blood was shooting out and that black on my pants was red. That bump I had felt was a mower blade going into my arm.”*
Recently I learned that Governor Otter’s proposal to eliminate the tax on business equipment (the personal property tax), would reduce our Burley Public Library’s property tax revenue by 9.52%. The bulk of our library’s revenue comes from property taxes.
I then went to Idaho State Tax Commission’s Report and found that this proposed cut would damage much more than our library. The property tax revenue to these local units would be cut by the following percentages:
Cassia County 14.61%
Minidoka County 18.39%
City of Burley 9.52%
City of Rupert 23.03%
Cassia County School District 16.23%
Minidoka County School District 18.39%
College of Southern Idaho 10.79%
Other Mini-Cassia cities and property tax-supported entities such as highway and cemetery districts would also receive cuts. (To see the full report go to
http://tax.idaho.gov/n-feed.cfm?idd=358 and click on the link near the bottom of the page that says 2012 Personal Property Tax Analysis.)
Such cuts would either decimate essential services in our area or would force local tax payers to make up the shortfall through the proposed local option tax. The bulk of the money that would be taken from our local area would go to large corporations, which, though they may provide jobs in Idaho, send their profits out of the state. (Small business will no longer have to pay this tax when Idaho’s growth reaches 4% and the law passed in 2008 becomes effective.)
If you are as concerned as I am about what these proposed cuts would do to our local area, please contact our legislators. They are being bombarded by the lobbyists from the large corporations. They need to hear from us.
President, Friends of the Burley Public Library
“Milton Hermon (M.H.) King lost his father to typhoid pneumonia when he was eight. Until he was in the sixth grade, his schooling consisted of a few months of classes in a country school. When his family rented their farm and moved to Fort Scott, Kansas, he was enrolled in school full-time for two years. These were nine-month sessions. After he completed eighth grade, as was the tradition, he started working. His mother found him a good proprietor and he began an apprenticeship at a dry goods store eleven miles away. This was in 1889.”
Thus begins the family account of Lizabeth King’s grandfather, M.H., who in 1915 founded of King’s Variety Store in Burley, Idaho. M. H. King’s son, Hermon E. King, would expand the business to over thirty stores in six western states, primarily Idaho and Utah, and with his wife, Jean, make possible the construction of the King Fine Arts Center in Burley.
How was M.H. able to gain the knowledge that enabled him to start such a successful business? He tried to get as much information as possible from reading, mostly books and magazines from the public library. His reading always had a check mark where he laid it down to go to work, taking it up again when he had some spare moments. Lizabeth continued, “his struggle with and his persistence in educating himself by using libraries explained his keen interest in public libraries, where knowledge, in its many forms, was available to anyone who wanted it.” He, his wife Edith, all his children and his grandchildren were and are life-long learners, due in part to the example he set.
The King family has continued to support libraries, knowing how critical the public library was to their grandfather’s success. Jean King, wife of Hermon, served on the Burley Public Library board for many years. She was a member of the “greatest generation” – people who made possible the construction of the current Burley Public Library building in 1959. Hermon and Jean’s children still continue to support our local library, even though several have moved out of state.
Today some of us in the Mini-Cassia area are aware of how much we owe the King family for helping to build our community. All of us who attend the performances and other activites in the King Fine Arts Center know of its value. But we also need to recognize that we owe a debt to a public library somewhere in the Midwest that enabled M.H. King to advance his early education, and to the Burley Public Library where he continued his studies for the 36 years he lived in our community. With the education that came from public libraries, he established the business that started it all.
(Written by Kathleen Hedberg)
Forgive me! I did not intend to wander away. I meant to keep to my
subject–but the moment I began to talk of politics in the country I was
beset by a compelling vision of Charles Baxter coming out of his shop in
the dusk of the evening, carrying his curious old reflector lamp and
leading the way down the road to the schoolhouse. And thinking of the
lamp brought a vision of the joys of Baxter’s shop, and thinking of the
shop brought me naturally around to politics and presidents; and here I
am again where I started!
Baxter’s lamp is, somehow, inextricably associated in my mind with
politics. Being busy farmers, we hold our caucuses and other meetings in
the evening and usually in the schoolhouse. The schoolhouse is
conveniently near to Baxter’s shop, so we gather at Baxter’s shop.
Baxter takes his lamp down from the bracket above his bench, reflector
and all, and you will see us, a row of dusky figures, Baxter in the
lead, proceeding down the roadway to the schoolhouse. Having arrived,
some one scratches a match, shields it with his hand (I see yet the
sudden fitful illumination of the brown-bearded, watchful faces of my
neighbours!) and Baxter guides us into the schoolhouse–with its shut-in
dusty odours of chalk and varnished desks and–yes, leftover lunches!
Baxter’s lamp stands on the table, casting a vast shadow of the chairman
on the wall.
“Come to order,” says the chairman, and we have here at this moment in
operation the greatest institution in this round world: the institution
of free self-government. Great in its simplicity, great in its
unselfishness! And Baxter’s old lamp with its smoky tin reflector, is
not that the veritable torch of our liberties?
This, I forgot to say, though it makes no special difference–a caucus
would be the same–is a school meeting.
You see, ours is a prolific community. When a young man and a young
woman are married they think about babies; they want babies, and what
is more, they have them! and love them afterward! It is a part of the
complete life. And having babies, there must be a place to teach them to
Without more explanation you will understand that we needed an addition
to our schoolhouse. A committee reported that the amount required would
be $800. We talked it over. The Scotch Preacher was there with a plan
which he tacked up on the blackboard and explained to us. He told us of
seeing the stone-mason and the carpenter, he told us what the seats
would cost, and the door knobs and the hooks in the closet. We are a
careful people; we want to know where every penny goes!
“If we put it all in the budget this year what will that make the rate?”
inquires a voice from the end of the room.
We don’t look around; we know the voice. And when the secretary has
computed the rate, if you listen closely you can almost hear the buzz of
multiplications and additions which is going on in each man’s head as he
calculates exactly how much the addition will mean to him in taxes on
his farm, his daughter’s piano his wife’s top-buggy.
And many a man is saying to himself:
“If we build this addition to the schoolhouse, I shall have to give up
the new overcoat I have counted upon, or Amanda won’t be able to get the
That’s _real_ politics: the voluntary surrender of some private good for
the upbuilding of some community good. It is in such exercises that the
fibre of democracy grows sound and strong. There is, after all, in this
world no real good for which we do not have to surrender something. In
the city the average voter is never conscious of any surrender. He never
realises that he is giving anything himself for good schools or good
streets. Under such conditions how can you expect self-government? No
service, no reward!
The first meeting that I sat through watching those bronzed farmers at
work gave me such a conception of the true meaning of self-government as
I never hoped to have.
“This is the place where I belong,” I said to myself.
It was wonderful in that school meeting to see how every essential
element of our government was brought into play. Finance? We discussed
whether we should put the entire $800 into the next year’s budget or
divide it paying part in cash and bonding the district for the
remainder. The question of credit, of interest, of the obligations of
this generation and the next, were all discussed. At one time long ago I
was amazed when I heard my neighbours arguing in Baxter’s shop about the
issuance of certain bonds by the United States government: how
completely they understood it! I know now where they got that
understanding. Right in the school meetings and town caucuses where they
raise money yearly for the expenses of our small government! There is
nothing like it in the city.
The progress of a people can best be judged by those things which they
accept as matters-of-fact. It was amazing to me, coming from the city,
and before I understood, to see how ingrained had become some of the
principles which only a few years ago were fiercely-mooted problems. It
gave me a new pride in my country, a new appreciation of the steps in
civilisation which we have already permanently gained. Not a question
have I ever heard in any school meeting of the necessity of educating
every American child–at any cost. Think of it! Think how far we have
come in that respect, in seventy–yes, fifty–years. Universal education
has become a settled axiom of our life.
And there was another point–so common now that we do not appreciate the
significance of it. I refer to majority rule. In our school meeting we
were voting money out of men’s pockets–money that we all needed for
private expenses–and yet the moment the minority, after full and honest
discussion, failed to maintain its contention in opposition to the new
building, it yielded with perfect good humour and went on with the
discussion of other questions. When you come to think of it, in the
light of history, is not that a wonderful thing?
One of the chief property owners in our neighbourhood is a rather
crabbed old bachelor. Having no children and heavy taxes to pay, he
looks with jaundiced eye on additions to schoolhouses. He will object
and growl and growl and object, and yet pin him down as I have seen the
Scotch Preacher pin him more than once, he will admit that children (“of
course,” he will say, “certainly, of course”) must be educated.
“For the good of bachelors as well as other people?” the Scotch
Preacher will press it home.
“Certainly, of course.”
And when the final issue comes, after full discussion, after he has
tried to lop off a few yards of blackboard or order cheaper desks or
dispense with the clothes-closet, he votes for the addition with the
rest of us.
It is simply amazing to see how much grows out of these discussions–how
much of that social sympathy and understanding which is the very
tap-root of democracy. It’s cheaper to put up a miserable shack of an
addition. Why not do it? So we discuss architecture–blindly, it is
true; we don’t know the books on the subject–but we grope for the big
true things, and by our own discussion we educate ourselves to know why
a good building is better than a bad one. Heating and ventilation in
their relation to health, the use of “fad studies”–how I have heard
those things discussed!
How Dr. North, who has now left us forever, shone in those meetings, and
Charles Baxter and the Scotch Preacher–broad men, every one–how they
have explained and argued, with what patience have they brought into
that small schoolhouse, lighted by Charles Baxter’s lamp, the grandest
conceptions of human society–not in the big words of the books, but in
the simple, concrete language of our common life.
“Why teach physiology?”
What a talk Dr. North once gave us on that!
“Why pay a teacher $40 a month when one can be had for $30?”
You should have heard the Scotch Preacher answer that question! Many a
one of us went away with some of the education which we had come,
somewhat grudgingly, to buy for our children.
These are our political bosses: these unknown patriots, who preach the
invisible patriotism which expresses itself not in flags and oratory,
but in the quiet daily surrender of private advantage to the public
There is, after all, no such thing as perfect equality; there must be
leaders, flag-bearers, bosses–whatever you call them. Some men have a
genius for leading; others for following; each is necessary and
dependent upon the other. In cities, that leadership is often perverted
and used to evil ends. Neither leaders nor followers seem to
understand. In its essence politics is merely a mode of expressing human
sympathy. In the country many and many a leader like Baxter works
faithfully year in and year out, posting notices of caucuses, school
meetings and elections, opening cold schoolhouses, talking to
candidates, prodding selfish voters–and mostly without reward.
Occasionally they are elected to petty offices where they do far more
work than they are paid for (we have our eyes on ’em); often they are
rewarded by the power and place which leadership gives them among their
neighbours, and sometimes–and that is Charles Baxter’s case–they
simply like it! Baxter is of the social temperament: it is the natural
expression of his personality. As for thinking of himself as a patriot,
he would never dream of it. Work with the hands, close touch with the
common life of the soil, has given him much of the true wisdom of
experience. He knows us and we know him; he carries the banner, holds it
as high as he knows how, and we follow.
Whether there can be a real democracy (as in a city) where there is not
that elbow knowledge, that close neighbourhood sympathy, that conscious
surrender of little personal goods for bigger public ones, I don’t know.
Be it far from me to pretend that we are always right or that we have
arrived in our country at the perfection of self-government. I do not
wish to imply that all of our people are interested, that all attend the
caucuses and school-meetings (some of the most prominent never come
near–they stay away, and if things don’t go right they blame Charles
Baxter!) Nor must I over-emphasise the seriousness of our public
interest. But we certainly have here, if anywhere in this nation, real
self-government. Growth is a slow process. We often fail in our election
of delegates to State conventions; we sometimes vote wrong in national
affairs. It is an easy thing to think school district; difficult,
indeed, to think State or nation. But we grow. When we make mistakes,
it is not because we are evil, but because we don’t know. Once we get a
clear understanding of the right or wrong of any question you can depend
upon us–absolutely–to vote for what is right. With more education we
shall be able to think in larger and larger circles–until we become,
finally, really national in our interests and sympathies. Whenever a man
comes along who knows how simple we are, and how much we really want to
do right, if we can be convinced that a thing _is_ right–who explains
how the railroad question, for example, affects us in our intimate daily
lives, what the rights and wrongs of it are, why, we can understand and
do understand–and we are ready to act.
It is easy to rally to a flag in times of excitement. The patriotism of
drums and marching regiments is cheap; blood is material and cheap;
physical weariness and hunger are cheap. But the struggle I speak of is
not cheap. It is dramatised by few symbols. It deals with hidden
spiritual qualities within the conscience of men. Its heroes are yet
unsung and unhonoured. No combats in all the world’s history were ever
fought so high upward in the spiritual air as these; and, surely, not
And so, out of my experience both in city and country, I feel–yes, I
_know_–that the real motive power of this democracy lies back in the
little country neighbourhoods like ours where men gather in dim
schoolhouses and practice the invisible patriotism of surrender and
David Grayson (Adventures in Contentment)
Part of chapter XIII “The Politician”
The Burley Public Library needs your help. Pledges have been made toward a new library and depend on the passage of a $3.2 million dollar General Obligation bond on Tuesday, May 15. If the election fails, the pledges expire on this date.
Our 1959 building is well taken care of, well loved, and previously served our community needs. However, it is also overcrowded and needs more space for library programs, books, computers and volunteers. Electrical, plumbing, lighting, ventilation, and access for the disabled require upgrades. Since 2006, community focus groups and the Library Board have researched ways to expand or relocate our seriously overcrowded library.
Times have changed… and in tough times more people turn to their library for a source of entertainment, information, resources, jobs, computer classes, and many other programs. As evidence, the library had over 95,000 visits in 2011!
This great community is OVERDUE for a new library! If we pass the bond now, with construction costs and interest rates at all time lows, the new library will cost the average homeowner ($120,000 home) less than $25 per year. Obtain additional information and visit with the architect at one of the open houses scheduled at the Library on April 24 and May 8 from 6-8 PM.
The public library is for everyone: brother, sister, aunt, uncle, nephew, niece, and neighbor. Do the right thing. Support your community and vote ‘IN FAVOR OF’ the library bond election on Tuesday, May 15. You will be helping the people of Burley now and for generations to come.
Tommie Dean, Trustee
Burley Public Library Board
Welcome, bloggers! The excitement is building in the community for a New Burley Public Library! Join in blogging about this great project!