I found this article from Politifact, a segment of the St. Petersburg Times. It’s called Story of Banned Books is Murky, and it has no author or date.
Politifact did its own investigation into the story. It led to some suprising conclusions, too! Politifact interviewed Paul Stuart, the author of the authoritative Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman article .
This is what he had to say:
But the Frontiersman reporter who wrote that article in 1996 now says Emmons told him Palin did mention three books that she wanted removed from the shelves.
Paul Stuart is semiretired, though he still occasionally contributes articles to a weekly paper, the Mountain Ear, in Conway, N.H., where he lives.
Stuart told PolitiFact that in a conversation with Emmons after his article ran, she listed three titles. He said he could recall only two, and initially said they were I Told My Parents I’m Gay and I Asked My Sister. We looked for these titles; they don’t appear to exist.
“Mary Ellen told me that Palin asked her directly to remove these books from the shelves,” Stuart said. “She refused.”
Asked later if the first book could have been Pastor, I am Gay, a controversial book written by a pastor who lives just outside Wasilla, Stuart said that was it.
Howard Bess, author of Pastor, I am Gay and former pastor of Church of the Covenant in nearby Palmer, recalls that his book challenging Christians to re-examine their ideas about and prejudices against gays and lesbians was not well received in Wasilla when it was published in 1995 — the year before Palin was elected mayor.
Virtually every book store in Wasilla refused to sell it.
Bess said he gave two copies to the Wasilla Library, but they quickly disappeared. So he donated more copies.
The controversy over the book was part of the context of that time period, he said. “Knowing Sarah’s religious connections and the people involved, I would be surprised if my book was not one of those at issue,” Bess said. “But I don’t know that for a fact.”
“I don’t think anyone has the facts except Mary Ellen, and she ain’t talking,” Bess said.
Were titles really mentioned? The reporter’s memory is hazy, and it was 12 years ago – and there was already controversy surrounding the title at the time.
But a lot of this story does make sense, especially about the censorship of Pastor, I am Gay. Simple theft is the most common form of censorship of library materials. Books, ESPECIALLY dealing with sexuality, regularly disappear. Maybe this is the book that Palin thought might incite picketers outside of the library?
Makes you think…