My new book (written with my friend Megan Fox) is coming out next week: SHUT UP! The Bizarre War that One Public Library Waged Against the First Amendment.
This book tells the story of the lengths that local government goes to (with the help of national lobbying groups) to silence the First Amendment rights of Americans when they criticize and petition the government for change. Something is very wrong with this country when even local library boards and villages out in the suburbs believe that they can throw everything and the kitchen sink at Americans to chill free speech, silence them, and shut them up.
Back in 2013, Megan and I stumbled upon years’ of unreported crimes in the Orland Park Public Library. It happened by accident, after a library staffer tipped us off that they “got a lot of that” in there. Curious what “a lot of that” meant, Megan and I used the Freedom of Information Act to look into the Library’s internal incident reports and legal invoices, to see what problems that Library had through the years. Immediately, the Library Director chose to involve the Orland Park Police Chief, Village staff, and the law firm Klein Thorpe Jenkins to try to scare Megan and me away so that we would not be interested in the incident reports she wanted to keep hidden.
The Library illegally redacted reports and hid other documents entirely. Some records appear to have been destroyed completely, but what we found shocked us: years and years and years of sex crimes happening in that Library, with staff never calling the police. In the instances where something bad happened at the Orland Park Public Library and police were called, it was library patrons (not staff) who called the police. A pattern emerged where it seemed that Library staffers were doing all this on purpose, as if they knew that if they called the police then what happened in that Library would make the news…and they didn’t want that bad publicity.
Very quickly, Megan and I were targeted for destruction. The American Library Association (a lobbying group that is funded in large part by George Soros) sent “crisis managers” to advise the Orland Park Public Library on how best to silence and scare Megan and me away. We did some digging and saw that the ALA does this to every mom or dad who discovers something awful happening in a Library and complains about it. The ALA targets the parents who complain and chases them away. This has been happening for years.
Figuring out who was behind all this — and who in Orland Park wanted the sex crimes to keep happening in the Library and to keep going unreported — took several years to figure out. FOIA requests gave us some insight and Megan and I took to attending board meetings to petition the library board to address its many problems. Instead of listening and doing the sensible thing, the Library decided to go to war against us…even encouraging a Library staffer to sue us in a bogus SLAPP (strategic litigation against public participation) suit.
Along the way, Megan and I became experts in the Freedom of Information Act, the Open Meetings Act, and SLAPPs. We lived to tell the tale, which oddly was a story that the local media refused to ever report on accurately. You see, if you ever find yourself up against local government (especially an entity like a library board that no reporter wants to write a negative story about, no matter what happens in there), you will realize that the media is too chummy with government to ever tell the real story.
In our book, we document run-ins we had with reporters from the Chicago Tribune, the Daily Southtown, NBC, CBS, the Orland Park Prairie, the Orland Patch, and other outlets. Not a single one of these people ever wanted to report on the sex crimes that were covered up in the Orland Park Public Library for years and years (which all appeared in their incident reports, which reporters chose to ignore). No media outlet wanted to report on the female employees of the Library who were sexually harassed on a daily basis by men masturbating to porn in the Library. None of this was happening in downtown Chicago and these were derelicts doing any of this…this was all happening in an upscale, affluent suburb of Chicago…where local politicians and police seem to have decided that they were all going to deliberately look the other way and never stop any of this (because someone wanted this to keep happening at the Orland Park Public Library).
Every terrible thing that a local government entity can do to you to shut you up and scare you away was done to us. Sometimes twice. Sometimes eleven or more times.
The book goes on sale next week. I hope you buy it because in addition to telling our story of what the Village of Orland Park, the Orland Park Police, the Orland Park Public Library, and the American Library Association did to us it’s also an account of ways that you can fight back against entities like this when they come after you.
The First Amendment Right to Petition our government for change and redress of grievances is under attack in this country. Washington DC is largely a lost cause, depending on how you look at it…but your local government can still be changed, if citizens are brave enough to do that. I hope Orland Park goes down in history as an example of how wrong local government is when it thinks it can silence its critics.
Because even if the local media refuses to report on any of it, someone could always write a book about every terrible thing that happened. And if irony holds, the very same public library that declared war on the First Amendment might very well be forced to carry a book on its shelves all about every awful thing it did to try to silence people!
– Book will be released last week of May 2016 –
© 2016, Kevin DuJan. All rights reserved.
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