Colbert Report Features Rutherford Free Public Library, NJ as a “Communist Library Threat”
On the night of October 7th, in the midst of financial calamity, unending war, and an election that is still way too close for my comfort, I was relaxed while enjoying my week-nightly fix of witty satire from the Colbert Report. Suddenly I sat bolt upright in my easy chair, scaring Batman, our snuggly black cat, who was cuddled up on my lap, and my husband Gary, who wasn’t. “Hey!” I shouted, “I know them! It’s Arlene and Jane!”
Colbert was spoofing reports that the current financial crisis was resulting in higher borrowing rates at libraries which were having a negative impact on market capitalism by providing free books and internet use. Colbert’s segment called “Communist Library Threat” was filmed at the highly regarded Rutherford Free Public Library and featured Jane Fisher (Library Director) and Arlene Sahraie (Library Services Director).
I’ve known and respected Jane Fisher, a Library Journal “Mover and Shaker,” for several years, first meeting her when she was at the New York Public Library and asked me to do a workshop on:“Everyday Assessment” for librarians (see more on the Library Journal blog post from 10/13/08). Several years’ running, Arlene Sahraie has been my worthy opponent, as a member of the “Library Goddesses,” in hot competition against my team, the “Alumni Avengers,” in the annual “SCILS Bowl” trivia championship at Rutgers.
The clip features first Arlene and then Jane in dialog with the overdubbed and menacing voice of an unseen Colbert, who interrogates them on library policy for providing free resources. He urges viewers to take out library books, not return them, and pay the fee for lost books in order to set the free market back on track.
If you haven’t seen the Colbert clip:”Communist Library Threat” posted on You Tube, here it is: www.youtube.com/watch?v=LvX1VLejk-0