109. Libraries refuse gift of Middle East Report

I read with great interest Ina Aronow's article of June 27 (New York Times Westchester Section) on the increased costs incurred by public libraries in Westchester county and the cuts in funding they have to sustain.

Noticing an imbalance in Middle East collections in the libraries I visit frequently and knowing their budget constraints, I offered a gift subscription to White Plains, Greenburgh and Tarrytown public libraries of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. Tarrytown accepted it, Greenburgh canceled the subscription after initially accepting it and White Plains turned my offer down. While all three libraries have Commentary, a magazine sponsored by the American Jewish Committee, only White Plains has also Tikkun and Midstream, representing the same side as Commentary, and Middle East Policy, formerly, American Arab Affairs.

My main concern was that the two sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict were not represented in a balanced way, especially if we take into account that the mainstream media tends to present the Israeli side more favorably.

The reason White Plains and Greenburgh gave for their rejection was not much of a reason. It was more like a pretext and that pretext was that the Washington Report is not indexed and therefore not useful to researchers --as if all the materials carried by these two libraries are indexed, which is not the case, and their patrons are all researchers, which is not the case either.

The Washington Report magazine was not only accepted by Tarrytown public library but it can also be found at Yonkers (Central Park Ave.), Mamaroneck and New Rochelle public libraries. Moreover, it is represented in 3,200 libraries throughout the United Sates. I have a hard time believing that all those libraries are wrong and only White Plains and Greenburgh are right.

July 25, 1993