In this final week of 2011, Enfield Patch will be looking back at the stories that were read most often during the year. Twice a day for the next six days, we will re-publish the top story of each month, plus include links to the next three most-read news stories, a sports story and a feature piece.
We begin the retrospective with an article from Jan. 25:
The swirling controversy over the abrupt cancellation of the screening of a controversial film at the Enfield Public Library last week has been resolved, after considerable discussion between the town's library director and the town manager.
Town Manager Matt Coppler met with Library Director Henry Dutcher on Wednesday, the day after questions about the showing of Michael Moore's "Sicko" were raised by a resident at a Town Council meeting.
Several members of the council, including Mayor Scott Kaupin, echoed the resident's concerns about the selection of Moore's film, a scathing attack on America's health care system.
"The town manager and I have sat down and worked on this issue, and we have come to an agreement about the way that this should move forward that I am in complete agreement with, as is he," Dutcher said Tuesday.
Dutcher said the library's Friday afternoon film series, formerly called "Fun Flicks", had recently changed to a more "hot topics" format, retitled "Friday Flicks."
"The criterion we used in setting up this hot topics series is award-winning or award-nominated films, maybe huge box office, popularly known titles and reasonably well-respected like a PBS Frontline," Dutcher said. "This film series has been going on for years, but obviously when we moved over to the hot topics series, we left out one thing: that criterion. We now realize we did not have a balance, so we have to step back and change our criterion to allow for titles that don't fit those categories. This library completely believes in balanced presentation. If you look at our collection, without any doubt you will see that we believe in a balanced presentation."
Kaupin said Dutcher had agreed there was not enough balance in the program, and would begin working toward achieving that goal. "The way it was presented to Matt was to make sure there's an opportunity for discussion," the mayor said in an interview Monday. "Postpone it for now and ask Henry for more balance in the film series. If changes aren't made for balance, are we prepared to start putting on programming that may lead to controversy?"
Dutcher said he believes the film will eventually be shown at the library, followed by open conversation about all sides of the issues raised. "For the purposes of a library, for the way a library has to run in our society, "Sicko" needed to be shown," he said. "Matt never had a problem with that, he truly didn't, as long as we put it under the kind of criterion that we're now going to use for the hot topics. As the director of the library, I need to be able to run the library in the same manner it's been run for the last 11 years. Matt has indicated he has no intention of changing the way the library is being run. When you have all of those elements together, you have a solution. There is nothing else needed as far as I'm concerned. We have the library we need to have, we're not restricted in any way with what we're going to show. We just need to look at the way we select some of our materials, and use the same selection criterion that we use with the materials we put into the entire collection."
Similarly, Kaupin said, ""Sicko" will be shown at the library eventually, and it should be shown."
Other Top Stories in January
At noon Monday, check out the top stories from February