10 June 2019
Apparently in defense of climate orthodoxy, the Northland Public Library of suburban Pittsburgh has banned from its shelves a best-selling book by a nationally recognized local author.
In a May 29 letter to local author Gregory Wrightstone, library executive director Amy Steele said a committee of three librarians had “concluded your book does not meet our standards.”
The book, “Inconvenient Facts: The Science That Al Gore Doesn’t Want You To Know,” disputes claims that global warming is largely a man-made phenomenon threatening the health of people and the environment. Asserting that current temperatures are neither unusual nor unprecedented, the book describes carbon dioxide as a “miracle molecule” whose increased levels have benefitted plants and made Earth greener.
The book has received rave reviews from readers, including respected scientists. Sales of the book have skyrocketed in recent months, reaching as high as #10 in overall Amazon sales as recently as March and #1 in sales in five categories.
A geologist of more than 35 years, Wrightstone supports his assertions with an extensive list of references to government agencies such as NASA and NOAA as well as peer-reviewed studies. He is often interviewed on radio and television, presents to professional organizations and academic and civic audiences and has testified before legislative
Wrightstone, who resides in the library’s North Hills service area, expressed frustration with Steele’s communication.
“In the letter she references the importance of ‘diversity of thought’ and ‘materials representing differing points of view,’” Wrightstone notes. “Yet, I went there and found 16 books related to climate change and all 16 toed the company line on man-made catastrophic warming. Not one book was available to offer a ‘non-consensus’ viewpoint. So much for diversity of thought.”
The book’s rejection is inconsistent with at least some of the library’s selection criteria.
Relevance to interests of the community: The Pittsburgh region is in the top 10 geographical areas for sales of “Inconvenient Facts.”
Local significance of the author: Wrightstone’s notoriety is well established, and he lives in Allison Park two miles from the library.
Significance of the subject: Is there a more hotly contested subject?
Relevance to the library’s existing collection: “Inconvenient Facts” would be the library’s only book with a contrarian view of the subject.
Wrightstone delivered three copies of the book to the library May 12 after hearing that readers found it unavailable there. Librarian Mary Lee Hart advised the author on May 14 in an email that the library had rejected the book because no independent reviews of it could be found.
On the same day, Wrightstone provided the librarian with links to several reviews and with information on book sales. The next day, he sought help from a member of the library board.
All, apparently, for naught.
A voice mail left for Steele was not returned.
This is not the first time Wrightstone has run afoul of those policing the apocalyptic narrative of climatic disaster. After initially accepting a smartphone app derived from his book, Apple removed it from the company’s App Store for reasons that were vague. Apple was met with numerous complaints, some of which noted Al Gore’s membership on its board of directors, and eventually returned the app to its offerings.
Wrightstone’s Facebook postings about the library’s actions quickly drew dozens of comments in support of him. One writer said, “Talk about Orwellian doublespeak. They ‘support diversity of thought’ so they are banning your book.”
A British fan of the book shared an email he sent the library: “I understand one of the central tenets of your Constitution is freedom of speech, so I am rather surprised at your refusal to accept Gregory’s donation of copies of his book.”
Noting that the library’s mission statement includes encouraging “lifelong learning and discovery,” Wrightstone’s says, “I’d say it’s more like indoctrination.”