Norma Garrison has been in charge of The Muskingum County Public Library in Zanesville, Ohio since 1974. “Education and culture are the most important gifts we can give our young people — within limits,” said Garrison from her hospital bed. The 62-year-old librarian is recovering from severe 3rd degree burns suffered as the result of a fire authorities say she herself set in the library, trying to burn books she found unsuitable for public viewing.
“I’ve done this for years and nobody ever noticed ‘til now,” explained Garrison. “Used to be just a few I had to get rid of back when, but now with that Kenyan in office, telling us what to do and the way he’s turned the country radical — I can’t keep up.”
When asked who she was specifically referring to by “that Kenyan,” Garrison replied, “Don’t get cute. You know exactly who I’m talking about and I’m not afraid to say it — the President. And did you see where now his wife is forcing us to feed our children what she feeds her own? I don’t have children, but who does she think she is? Maybe it’s just fine for her kids to read that filth Fifty Shades of Grey, but it’s not okay for regular American kids who grow up around here. Someone has to speak for them.”
Fire Chief Robert Sutherland commented, “The entire back end of the building is gone. The alarms were disconnected so that explains why there was so much damage. We’re lucky no one was killed. The nursing home is right next door. I don’t know what Miss Garrison was thinking.”
Reaction from town residents is mixed. “There were rumors that Norma did this type of thing,” said local florist Sarah Donaldson. “We just joked about it ‘cause Norma is just so quiet and reserved.”
Resident Paul Fowler remarked, “Sometimes you would go in and look for a certain book and it wouldn’t be there. Norma would say she never heard of it, or that it was checked out and never brought back, or it got lost. Mind you, I’m not defending what she did, but I understand. She got real withdrawn after McCain lost. She changed. You could see it in her. She really liked that Sarah Palin and always had plenty of her books on display.”
“When I go back to work I guess I’ll have a lot of cleaning up to do,” remarked Garrison, seemingly unaware of the severity and consequences of her actions.
Garrison was charged with malicious damage to public property, and was removed from her position last week. She will be taken into custody after her release from Zanesville’s Genesis-Bethesda Hospital within the next few days.
Insurance investigators estimate damage to the library structure to be in the tens of thousands of dollars, not including the value of over 1,800 volumes of literature destroyed in the fire.