“Fear” Strikes Out in Small West Virginia Library Flap

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As Fear, Bob Woodward’s new book about the first year of the Trump administration, climbs to the top of non-fiction bestseller lists, The Washington Post has published a story about a library in a small West Virginia town of 600 that has chosen not to carry the book, despite apparent objections from residents on Facebook.

According to the article by Ron Charles, Donna Crocker, director of the Morgan County Public Library in Berkeley Springs, confirmed that the library does not carry Fear, but she declined to answer any questions about her decision. “I don’t want to get in the middle of that,” Crocker tells the Post. “We have other Trump books.”

Berkeley Springs is the county seat of Morgan County, W.Va., which voted 75 percent for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

About 750,000 copies of Fear, according to publisher Simon & Schuster, have already been sold in all formats, and the publisher has ordered a ninth printing, bringing the number of hardcover copies to more than 1,150,000.

The Washington Post article describes how Berkeley Springs resident Rob Campbell wrote a letter to the local newspaper, the Morgan Messenger, saying, “Recently I called to offer Fear, the new Woodward book, but the library declined my offer saying they wouldn’t be putting books like that on the shelves anymore.”

The article notes that James LaRue, director of the office of Intellectual Freedom for the American Library Association, said public libraries should make selection decisions based on the reputation of the publisher and the author, the quality of reviews and the level of community demand.

According to the article, LaRue said he called the Berkeley Springs library himself and spoke with Crocker. She told him that her library carries Fire and Fury, Michael Wolff’s book about the first year of the Trump administration, but it has been checked out only a few times.

“Community demand is an interesting question,” LaRue says in the Post story. “It may well be that there is a majoritarian view on this issue, but that does not mean that a library should sacrifice its obligation to present the other side. Our whole credibility as an institution rests on our willingness to provide access to the most current information in our culture.”

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ABOUT BOB WOODWARD:

Bob Woodward is an associate editor of The Washington Post, where he has worked since 1971. He has shared in two Pulitzer Prizes, first in 1973 for the coverage of the Watergate scandal with Carl Bernstein, and second in 2003 as the lead reporter for coverage of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He has authored or coauthored 18 books, all of which have been national non-fiction bestsellers. Twelve of those have been #1 national bestsellers. He has written books on eight of the most recent presidents, from Nixon to Obama.

 

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