Book Burning Party Revealed As Hoax

Group says campaign to close the Troy Public Library is a satirical appeal to voter emotion.

The committee that hatched a satirical campaign urging voters to close the and burn its books credited itself Friday for raising public awareness about the library's questionable future.

"There's no book burning party. There never was," a spokesperson for the committee, Safeguarding American Families (SAFe), wrote in a Twitter statement. "But now there's awareness. Vote YES Aug. 2."

The reversal announcement came with an endorsement for voter approval of a dedicated millage that would provide funding for the library from 2011-15. Rejection of the 0.7-millage request could effectively close the institution on Aug. 5, as General Fund contributions for library staff and supplies aren't included in the city's current and three-year budgets.

Members of Troy Citizens United, an anti-tax group opposing the proposed property tax, said during a community meeting Thursday evening they believe recent and additional budget cuts, combined with the city's existing fund balance, should be adequate to reinstate the library into the city's budget.

A statement released by SAFe prior to the TCU meeting explained its own campaign as catalyst for action among apathetic voters.

"This community has become numb to the rational conversation surrounding the library," the committee said in a statement. "It's time to turn the rational conversation into an emotional one. To remind the people of Troy just how important the library is."

A Facebook page started by the group further explained its position, as well as a link to a second Facebook page promoting further discussion.

"Today, people are talking," SAFe stated. "They're talking online, talking on the phone and talking over the fence. They're talking about books and what it means to lose a library."

Reaction to committee's ruse was minimal in comparison the attention drawn by signs planted around Troy l that stated "Vote To Close Troy Library Aug. 2nd/Book Burning Party Aug. 5."

Ian Anstice, who operates publiclibrariesnews.com in the United Kingdom, suggested in his response on the group's page that the committee work to provide information, not promote the use of deception.

"I have had people calling me from the USA saying their children were in tears that such evil people cold exist in the USA who could burn books," Anstice wrote. "I will repeat that. Your actions made children cry."

Phillip Kwik, head of public services for the Troy Library, said in a personal response that he's appalled the committee would try to take credit for raising awareness.

"You have never stepped foot into the Troy Library to see children streaming in, with their parents unable to catch up. Or the lines of unemployed waiting to register for computer classes," Kwik wrote on his own behalf at www.booksforwallsproject.org

Kwik, said his comment represents his personal view and not that of the library, which was refraining from a public response to the committee's actions.

"All you did was add more divisiveness and bickering in a community that should be united on its love and need for a library... You have done nothing to help support the Troy Library," he commented. "Do not take any credit from the hardworking women and men who have."

Audre Zembrzuski July 17, 2011 at 08:38 PM
The book burning most of us believed was a way for the people wanted a tax increase. A lot of these people are not even registered to vote that want to keep the Library open, which is a shame. Auge
Peter Grenader July 06, 2013 at 12:21 PM
This was the most brilliant campaign ever launched in political history. We are done with the Tea Party


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