Library Board Votes To Censure Gorton
An overflow crowd, estimated at 150 people, jammed the
Farmingdale Main Library building on Tuesday evening and
witnessed a vote of public censure against Carl E. Gorton,
trustee- elect, who will take office on July 1.
Gorton, who two weeks ago in an exclusive story in The
Observer, stated that he ran for the library post because
of discovering what he termed ' obscene* literature on the open
shelves of the periodical section of the South Farmingdale
branch of the Farmingdale Public Library.
Gorton appeared at Tuesdays monthly public meeting after
successfully defeating 15- year incumbent Myra Van Nostrand
1,915 to 1,703 and in a three way race on Wednesday, May 3.
The people crowded in among television cameras, microphones
and reporters from nearly every daily newspaper in
the metropolitan area. The crowd seemed even larger since
it filled the balcony and the first floor of the library. The crowd
pushed to find room in this sardine- like situation to hear what
the library trustees had to say. The atmosphere was tense.
Library Director, Orrin B. Dow recommended the vote of
public censure. The resolution was introduced by Trustee
Dr. Albert Meyer stein and seconded by Trustee Paul Tilford.
According to the Director's recommendation, a resolution
was passed " deploring Carl Gorton's action in confiscating
the library material and in setting himself up as an arbiter
of public tastes— a clear cut violation of the traditions of
American Library Service. His acts and statements clearly
tending to be a disservice to the library in creating dissension
in the community and in impairing its ability to carry
on it important public function."
Before the resolution was passed, Mrs. Khan Musa, President
of the Library Board of Trustees, who was chairing the
meeting, gave Library Trustee elect Carl E. Gorton an op-
. . ... r
Mrs. Khan Musa wrapped the
gavel and said, " You are out of
order for asking such a question."
Dow asked that the resolution
of public censure be passed.
Callahan withdrew his motion.
Meyerstein introduced the res- Dow had stated at the library
olution for a public censure, board meeting that he was treat-
Trustee Meyerstein seconded it, ing the ' confiscation' as a book
it was passed unanimously, and loan. The law provided that it
the meeting was immediately ad- be returned within 30 days, and
portunity to speak. He asked whether he was to sit down at
the trustees table. Library Director Dow said, ' no, there is
no chair*. ( There was a chair available but it had a tape recorder
Carl Gorton then stood to speak and asked that the board
members examine the photostatic copies of the one page
in the short story, " Sky Blue at the Dump by Dallas E. Wiebe
contained in the spring issue of " Paris Review", the only
Library copy had been taken from the library by Gorton on
April 5. He did not borrow the copy, but went to the reference
librarian and asked that he read it and said that he was taking
it out of the library or confiscating it. The Board members
told Gorton they had not read the magazine, nor would they read
his excerpt now. Trustee Tilford said " You are taking it out
of context". Trustee Robert Callahan said that he would like
to offer a motion to rescind the motion of censure if Gorton
would agree to return the magazine in question.
Gorton asked whether the magazine would be withheld from
the public library shelves, while the board was reviewing
There was considerable discussion and Callahan tried to
explain that the magazine would be examined by the trustees,
but did not promise that it would be withheld while it was under
consideration. He asked for _ a return of the book without conditions.
There were cries from members of the audience, " Does this
mean I can take books off the public shelves too I'll take two
or three". Others shouted " Me Too, Me too".
One man yelled out that Gorton had stolen the book and should
be thrown in jail like a common thief.
Gorton asked again, whether the trustees would withhold
the magazine from the shelves while deciding the issue.
ance term when he termed his
victory " An Act of God, whicn
the liberals did not have sufficient
insurance to protect a-gainst",
he did intend it to be
a " double entendre".
During the byplay of conversation
between Trustee Meyerstein
and Gorton, Dr. Meyerstein said,
" I as a Jew feel offended when
you play on your Christian religion".
Gorton said, that he,
as a Christian, was explaining
his action based on his Chris -
tian religious background and that
he expected Dr. Meyerstein to
act in accordance with his faith
and to be proud of it. One lady
in the audience defended Gorton
for expressing his faith in God.
Gorton explained that his quote
had been misquoted in a daily,
he was referring to an insur-after
a final overdue notice, the
library would invoke legal action.
Gorton had replied that he
was acting under another NewYork
State law which prohibits the
distribution of obscene material
to minors, would file a counter-suit
if a suit were to be instituted
Gorton had offered to return
the magazine to the Board if
they would agree to retain it
in their possession until their
review had been completed. The
board refused to do this.
According to Dow, it was not
right for an individual to take
the law into his own hands.
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Farmingdale OBSERVER^ Thursday, May 11, 1967
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