OAKMONT, Pa. — Anti-Semitic images and hate speech are not what one local woman expected to see when she opened her library book, but unfortunately, that is what she says happened.
“It was just right there,” said Chelsie Hart, a patron at the Oakmont Carnegie Library.
Hart said when she opened her copy of Issa Rae’s The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, she was shocked by what fell out.
“As I was flipping back to the front of the page it went right to this,” said Hart as she showed a two-sided sheet of paper covered with Anti-Semitic images and phrases including the words “TAKE BACK THE SWASTIKA.”
“I opened a book that is written by a Black woman, basically about a Black woman’s life, to see a bunch of Swastikas,” said Hart.
Hart said she immediately notified the library.
“Bring the paper in when you bring the book back, and that was where it was left,” Hart who is a mental health specialist said she was unsatisfied with the library’s response.
So, she posted the images on social media to bring attention to the matter, and that’s when Channel 11 got involved in making calls to the library.
“That makes me so angry even to think about it,” said Beth Mellor, the Director at the Oakmont Carnegie Library.
Mellor said when Channel 11 called, it was the first time she had heard of the incident, as another employee had handled Hart’s call.
“I called all the libraries in the county, sent them an email to let them know this is what’s going on,” said Mellor.
“That’s almost like a threat to somebody opening the book,” said Mellor, adding that no one should feel unsafe when using the library.
Mellor explained what a typical book inspection looks like, “Look at the cover, and the front and back, and then we open it up a little bit to look for mold,” said Mellor.
But now she says she’ll do more, she even filed an incident report in this matter to put other libraries on notice.
“We’re going to have to start shaking the books, looking through a little more thoroughly,” said Mellor.
Hart said while this is incident is upsetting, she is glad to bring awareness to the issue.
“I was happy that I was the person that found this instead of a young kid,” said Hart. “It’s just really scary to see something like that.”
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