January 22, 2013
Lance Armstrong: The scandal that keeps on giving
by Dennis Johnson
It was supposed to be a joke, but a worker at the Manly Library in suburban Sydney, Australia got into trouble after posting a sign in the stacks saying that Lance Armstrong‘s books — in which he expounds upon his theories about cycling and life — had been moved to the fiction section. “All non-fiction Lance Armstrong Books, including Lance Armstrong – Images of a Champion, The Lance Armstrong Performance Program and Lance Armstrong: World’s Greatest Champion, will soon be moved to the fiction section,” read the sign.
Unfortunately for Jack Dee, a photo of the sign was taken by a library patron and went viral.
As a Guardian report notes, the sign “sparked heated debate online over whether Armstrong’s fight against cancer and motivation of people outweighed his drug cheating in a sport rife with doping,” and led the the library to issue an announcement saying that “Libraries can’t arbitrarily reclassify categories of books,” and an investigation was underway.
According to a report in the Manly Daily, Dee — who has the wonderful job title of “casual library assistant” — was “shocked to see how fast it had spread online, and deactivated his Facebook account after media outlets started contacting him.” He tells the paper “I took it down straightaway.” But, according to the Manly Daily, he remains “frustrated to read media reports and tweets suggesting that the library was actually reclassifying the books.”
He issued an apology to the town council that runs the library and said he “felt bad about them having to field hundreds of media calls from all over the world.” The council said he’s in no danger of losing his job, but it is “reviewing procedures.
The library patron who took the photo (on his phone), Dane Murray, said “I think Jack is a very clever, witty, up-and-coming librarian in the Australian community.”
Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House. Follow him at @mobylives