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Spokesman-Review, The (Spokane, WA)

May 11, 2003


Patriot Act causing nationwide revolt

Author: Dan Webster

Edition: SPOKANE
Section: IN LIFE
Page: F5

Estimated printed pages: 3

Article Text:

NOT EVERYONE IS HAPPY with the U.S. Patriot Act. That sentiment applies especially to librarians and booksellers.

The Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association has even gone as far as drafting a petition calling on Congress to repeal what it considers the act's most egregious section.

The 342-page act was passed shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The section that has drawn much of the criticism, Section 215, allows government officials to seek out records that would indicate the reading habits of patrons.

``Some of this stuff is pretty scary, and we are very concerned that people's privacy is being violated,'' American Library Association President Maurice J. Freedman said at a national convention in January.

On March 13, the PNBA's board of directors unanimously approved a resolution that condemned Section 215. According to the resolution, the section is a ``present danger to the constitutional rights and privacy rights of bookstore customers and booksellers.''

The PNBA's action is just part of a nationwide revolt against the Patriot Act. In March, Vermont Congressman Bernie Sanders introduced legislation that would repeal Section 215. Nearly 90 cities have passed local resolutions that condemn the act.

And the Washington Post reports that as recently as April 21 the city of Arcata, Calif., not only passed a resolution ``urging local law enforcement officials and others contacted by federal officials to refuse requests under the Patriot Act,'' but city officials became ``the first in the nation to pass an ordinance that outlaws voluntary compliance with the act.''

The PNBA hasn't gone that far. But the board has sent a petition to members of Congress representing Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana asking them to support Sanders' House Bill 1157.

And several, including Washington's 7th District Congressman Jim McDermott, have signed on.

You have to wonder: What kind of list have they now been put on?

Go West, you readers

Mary Ann West, owner of Go West Bookstore in Chewelah, Wash., will hold a 10th-anniversary celebration of the store's opening at 7 p.m. Friday. Ten guest readers, including Auntie's Bookstore owner Chris O'Harra, have been invited to introduce their favorite books and read a short passage.

Other events are scheduled through May 24. Go West Bookstore is located at 101 W. Lincoln (509-935-4467).

Figments of fiction

Spokane author Michael Gurian's latest book ``The Miracle'' scored a positive review from Publishers Weekly.

According to the reviewer, ``Gurian, the best-selling author of numerous parenting and psychology books (`The Wonder of Girls,' `The Soul of the Child'), has written a riveting supernatural suspense novel that tracks the efforts of a psychic to find a serial killer in Spokane.''

Gurian is scheduled to read from ``The Miracle'' on May 30 at Auntie's Bookstore.

Stories from the Chambers

Dan Chaon, author of the short-story collection ``Among the Missing,'' will read from his works at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Spokane City Council Chambers, 808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd.

The appearance by Chaon, a professor of creative writing at Oberlin College in Ohio, is sponsored by the Inland Northwest Center for Writers, which is part of Eastern Washington University's creative writing program.

``Among the Missing,'' which was a finalist for the National Book Award, was ranked among the top 10 books of 2001 by such publications as the Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe and Entertainment Weekly, and it was listed by The New York Times as a Notable Book of the Year.

Unless otherwise listed, all events are free and open to the public.

Book Talk

Book discussion (``The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus,'' leader Tom Ledger), 7 p.m. Monday, Valley Hastings, 15312 E. Sprague Ave.(924-0667).

The reader board

Elizabeth Grossman (``Adventuring Along the Lewis & Clark Trail''), reading, 7:30 p.m. Monday, Auntie's Bookstore, Main and Washington (838-0206).

Rebecca Barnett Hovda (``One Shot: A Thousand Holes''), reading, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Auntie's Bookstore.

Mary Lou Morris (``Getting Everything You Want''), reading, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Auntie's Bookstore.

John Dalmas (``Otherwhens, Otherwheres''), reading, 7 p.m. Friday, Valley Mall Barnes & Noble (922-4104).

Dan Chaon (``Among the Missing''), reading, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Spokane City Council Chambers, 808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd.

Julie Monroe (``Moscow: Living and Learning on the Palouse''), David Johnson (``No Ordinary Lives''), signings, 11 a.m. Saturday; Richard Spence (``Trust No One: The Secret World of Sidney Riley''), Kim Barnes (``Finding Caruso''), signings, 1:30 p.m. Saturday, University of Idaho Bookstore (208-885-2517).

Dan Webster can be reached at (509) 459-5483 or by e-mail at danw@spokesman.com.

Copyright (c) 2003 The Spokesman-Review
Record Number: 0305100327