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Old 08-13-2008, 05:35 PM   #1
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PA author gets fired from job because of book

I have to run out the door, but I wanted to post this before I did. Here's an article about a librarian who lost her job at a small town library because her "fictional" account of life at small town library wasn't ficitonal enough.

Her publisher?

Why, PA.

http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=72228

Be back later. If this already had a thread, Mods, I apologize!

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Old 08-13-2008, 05:41 PM   #2
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Libraries are bastions are free speech unless you slander someone and:
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"The publisher, Publish America, is a grassroots group that publishes "people who are unknown, without charging the person thousands of dollars some self publishers charge," she said.
WTF?
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Old 08-13-2008, 05:51 PM   #3
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"The publisher, Publish America, is a grassroots group that publishes "people who are unknown
And after it prints their books, they're still unknown unless they get into legal trouble. Great publicity.
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Old 08-13-2008, 06:07 PM   #4
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Here's the link to the author's hometown newspaper with the original story:

http://www.ludingtondailynews.com/ne...story_id=41013

And this is what one reader posted on that same site on Aug. 11:

"Have any of you even read this book? I was able to pick out every character in this book. Her identity became known because she sent letters to everyone she knew saying she wrote the book..."

Aside from any issues the individuals she may have used as models for her characters might have; this is now a public issue in that community and will continue to receive a great deal of attention because she is appealing her termination.
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Old 08-13-2008, 06:44 PM   #5
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"The publisher, Publish America, is a grassroots group that publishes "people who are unknown, without charging the person thousands of dollars some self publishers charge," she said.
In other words, she knows it's self-publishing.

I love that in the article she can't figure out how people knew it was her because she used a pen name, when the pen name is her maiden name, her father (who of course bears that name) is something of a local celebrity, and she says she picked it so some people would know who she was and that PA sent out letters to her friends and acquaintances. And they used a picture of the library where she works on the cover. Clever!

This isn't a free speech issue; the woman has committed a potentially libelous act. Good luck getting legal backup from your printer.
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Old 08-13-2008, 06:46 PM   #6
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This is not a free speech issue. This is an issue of YOU DO NOT BREACH YOUR PATRONS' CONFIDENTIALITY. The ALA is absolutely crystal clear on that. If the library director is correct that her descriptions are detailed enough and not very fictionalized, then she absolutely should have been fired.

In a lot of places, it is pretty hard to get fired from a library job. But this would do it.

...I do find it hilarious that she defends herself by saying that hardly anybody would ever have known about the book, because while it's true, it's not what most people want for their novels!
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Old 08-13-2008, 07:04 PM   #7
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I like how she says that she couldn't come up with the characters on her own.
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Old 08-13-2008, 07:04 PM   #8
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Freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom from responsibility for what you say. If you're going to claim someone is a sex offender (as she apparently did in her book; claiming sex offenders were using the computers in the library) you'd better be able to back that up.
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Old 08-13-2008, 07:07 PM   #9
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seriously, how did she NOT think that anyone would find out and be upset?

sell the house and get out of town...
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Old 08-13-2008, 07:09 PM   #10
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Thank you, Susan, for the morning laugh. Geez. Where did that lady get her BS or MS in library science?
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Old 08-13-2008, 07:09 PM   #11
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No, not freedom of speech. And wasn't iUniverse or Xlibris sued because of a similar book? The publisher was also held liable for the ...uh...libel in the book they produced.

Hmm...
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Old 08-13-2008, 07:10 PM   #12
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I found this whole story hugely amusing. Thanks for posting.
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Old 08-13-2008, 07:14 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stormie View Post
Thank you, Susan, for the morning laugh. Geez. Where did that lady get her BS or MS in library science?
A cracker jacks box??

Here's the other thing. She's obviously a librarian who doesn't know how to do RESEARCH. A little research would have both informed her that people who write "novels" based on real people that are recognizable will get themselves into big trouble, AND that PA is not <ahem> the best option for publishing out there. A little research would have taught her how to submit to the big publishers -- the ones who publish MOST of the books on the shelves in her libraray.

<sigh>

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Old 08-13-2008, 07:15 PM   #14
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Quote:
“If It hadn’t gone in the paper only a handful of people announcements were sent to in this area would have known about the book.”

Stern-Hamilton had contacted the Daily News asking for a review of the book,
Or, we could shorten that to: "If I hadn't contacted the Daily News and asked for a review of my book, the paper wouldn't have known about it."

Lady, if your book is any good at all, own your words, use the PR.

ETA: and just maybe you'll be able to afford the lawsuits.
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Old 08-13-2008, 07:16 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christine N. View Post
No, not freedom of speech. And wasn't iUniverse or Xlibris sued because of a similar book? The publisher was also held liable for the ...uh...libel in the book they produced.

Hmm...
It was something to do with, I believe, a husband writing a nasty tell-all about his ex-wife, if I remember correctly. She was a romance writer.
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Old 08-13-2008, 07:21 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DecemberQuinn View Post
. . .
This isn't a free speech issue; the woman has committed a potentially libelous act. . . .
Those whose interest is piqued by this thread might want to read Insult to Injury: Libel, Slander, and Invasions of Privacy, by William K. Jones (University Press of Colorado, 2003). It is a scholarly book, but written for serious general readers. Good book for writers.

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Old 08-13-2008, 07:22 PM   #17
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Thank you, Susan, for the morning laugh. Geez. Where did that lady get her BS or MS in library science?
If you're talking about a true small town, the library may not have required one.
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Old 08-13-2008, 07:40 PM   #18
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It was something to do with, I believe, a husband writing a nasty tell-all about his ex-wife, if I remember correctly. She was a romance writer.
Rebecca Brandewyne. He claimed all sorts of nasties about her, including plagiarism. No real publisher would have touched it because he couldn't back anything up.
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Old 08-13-2008, 07:42 PM   #19
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It was something to do with, I believe, a husband writing a nasty tell-all about his ex-wife, if I remember correctly. She was a romance writer.
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Old 08-13-2008, 07:43 PM   #20
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Old 08-13-2008, 07:55 PM   #21
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I feel sorry for the people in that small town who are able to identify themselves from what is written. If I was one of those people and what the author had written was not true, I would sue her. I wonder why she wrote negative things about people, when there must have been so many positive things she could have said about the community in which she lives. Then the author might have excited positive media interest which is much more worthwhile.

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Old 08-13-2008, 08:47 PM   #22
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It's such a violation of trust, and ethics. It's a bit shocking.
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Old 08-13-2008, 09:25 PM   #23
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I feel sorry for the people in that small town who are able to identify themselves from what is written. If I was one of those people and what the author had written was not true, I would sue her. I wonder why she wrote negative things about people, when there must have been so many positive things she could have said about the community in which she lives. Then the author might have excited positive media interest which is much more worthwhile.

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Old 08-13-2008, 09:59 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christine N. View Post
No, not freedom of speech. And wasn't iUniverse or Xlibris sued because of a similar book? The publisher was also held liable for the ...uh...libel in the book they produced.

Hmm...

It was AuthorHouse. To the tune of $200,000. August of 2006.
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Old 08-13-2008, 10:34 PM   #25
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I dug this image up just now. Read the quotes from the news article below.





Quote:
The Ludington Library is not the purported setting, however a small picture of the Ludington Library is on the cover.

...

Stern-Hamilton was notified of her termination in a formal letter from District Library Director Robert Dickson July 25. In that letter Dickson refers to a prior letter of “Suspension Pending Investigation” that he wrote to Stern-Hamilton July 15 in which he stated:

“The cover of your book includes a picture of the Ludington Library. Each chapter is devoted to a specific library patron or patrons. Your book portrays these people in a very unflattering manner. You describe individual patrons as mentally ill, mentally incompetent, unintelligent, and unattractive. You label several as ‘perverts.’ While you stop short of naming the individuals you targeted in your book, your detailed descriptions of their unique characteristics and mannerisms make them easily identifiable in our small community.”

...

She said she chose to use a picture of the Ludington Library because, “It’s a great picture. It looks just like a library. It epitomizes the American idea of a library. It’s a Carnegie library,” said Stern-Hamilton referring to more than 2,500 libraries built worldwide with money donated by businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie between 1883 and 1929.
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