Library Juice 2:38 - September 29, 1999


1. If You Like ...
2. Sandy's Berman article on hidden censorship
3. Gay Subject Headings
4. Books from EPIC
5. CFP: Journal of Communication Inquiry issue on Alternative Media
6. "Christian Fiction" discussion on PUBLIB
7. Holy Internet Resources
8. ALA may attend Seattle's WTO meeting / possible statement against

Quote for the week:

"A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine
picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not
obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human
soul." -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Homepage of the week: Hope A. Olson, PhD


1. If You Like ...

          Hennepin County Library has put online "a handy
          reference guide to authors and genres." Users may
          browse all the subject categories, which range from
          Christian Fiction to techno-thrillers, horror, and seniors.
          The database is also searchable by author or theme, and
          the recommendations include appropriate subject
          headings to search in the library catalog. There are also
          links to other resources from Hennepin County Library. A
          wonderful readers' advisory resource for librarians and
          book lovers alike! - ht
          Subjects: reader guidance | fiction genres

Carole Leita, cleita[at]
LIIWEEK Listowner and Coordinator of the
Librarians' Index to the Internet


2. Sandy's Berman article on hidden censorship

To contemplate this Banned Books Week:

"Three Kinds of Censorship that Librarians (Mostly) Don't Talk About"
Minnesota Library Association Vol. 23, No. 7 August/September, 1996


3. Gay Subject Headings

From: "Thrower, Jean" <Jean.Thrower[at]>
To: librarians[at]
Subject: Gay Subject Headings
Date: Fri, 24 Sep 1999 08:20:53 -0400

     I've just gotten an assignment to research gay and lesbian subject
headings.  Can anyone recommend any articles, books or other sources for
this interesting subject?  Thank you.


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Date: Fri, 24 Sep 1999 08:51:26 -0500 (EST)
From: "ANDREW H. LEE" <leea[at]>
Subject: Re: Gay Subject Headings
To: librarians[at]

One of my colleagues has written some very interesting things on
the subject of Queer Studies in libraries, including some
information about subject headings and what we have taken to
calling the "HQ" ghetto.  His name is Marvin Taylor and you
should be able to find them using Library Lit or some otehr
indexing service.  I am afraid I don't have the cites at hand.

Andrew H. Lee
Tamiment Library                 "Néant, la Mecque des bibliothèques!"
New York University                   Jules Laforgue, Salomé
70 Washington Square South
New York, New York 10012
(212) 998-2633
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From: "dodge, chris" <cdodge[at]>
To: librarians[at]
Subject: RE: Gay Subject Headings
Date: Fri, 24 Sep 1999 09:02:59 -0500


Cal Gough and Ellen Greenblatt's _Gay and Lesbian Library Service_
(McFarland, 1990) has a related chapter. 

Sanford Berman's _Prejudices and antipathies_ (McFarland, 1993) contains
pertinent material.

Dan Tsang's chapter, "Advocate for Sexual Freedom and the ALternative
Press," in Dodge & DeSirey's _Everything You Always Wanted to Know About
Sandy Berman..." has related material.

Check Hennepin County Library subject headings via its catalog.  (Access
via web page:

Also: I began a piece on this subject intended for a revised edition of
Gough/Greenblatt's book, so I have some materials on the topic at home
(and in my head)--contact me directly with questions.

Chris Dodge
Street Librarian

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Date: Fri, 24 Sep 1999 11:15:23 -0500
To: librarians[at]
From: Valerie Harris <vharris[at]>
Subject: Re: Gay Subject Headings

The University of Chicago Library compiled a list of our resources
including _Women's Studies: Guide to Sources for Lesbian Studies_ compiled
by Frank Conaway and Sem Sutter, 1999.

It's quite extensive (162 p.) and includes works in the following
categories: General, History and ethnology, Lesbian communities, Gay
liberation movement--Gay rights--law--politics, Military, Economic affairs,
Education--youth, Domestic relations, Sexual orientation--psychology and
physiology, Health--social problems--criminolgy--social services, Religion,
Music, Art and architecture, Media, Literature--film-theatre, Humor.

You could contact your ILL to request a copy.
Hope this helps,

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     Thanks to all who have responded to my request so far!  I'm in the
middle of three very demanding courses in my first semester of library
school, and you're giving me a tremendous boost!  I have done some research
on my own, but that's in between the weekly Reference exercises and the
Principles of Management papers.  Keep the ideas coming, because they will
be put to good use!  Thank you again. If I can survive these three courses,
I can pick and choose my next subjects.  Unfortunately, none of the courses
offered deals with Anarchist Librarians.  :)


4. Books from EPIC

The Code Book : The Evolution of Secrecy from Mary, Queen of Scots to
Quantum Cryptography by Simon Singh

 "For millennia, secret writing was the domain of spies, diplomats,
 and generals; with the advent of the Internet, it has become the
 concern of the public and businesses. One cyber-libertarian
 responded with the freeware encryption program Pretty Good Privacy
 (PGP), and Singh similarly meets a sharpening public curiosity
 about how codes work.[. . .] Beginning with such simple ideas as
 monoalphabetic substitution, which can protect the communications
 of a boy's treehouse club but not much more, Singh underscores with
 stories how codemakers and codebreakers have battled each other
 throughout history. A tool called frequency analysis easily defeats
 the monoalphabetic cipher, and encryptors over time have added the
 Vigenere square, cipher disks, one-time pads, and public-key
 cryptography that underlies PGP. But each security strategy, Singh
 explains, contains some vulnerability that the clever code cracker
 can exploit, an opaque process the author splendidly illuminates.
 Instances of successful decipherment, as of Egyptian hieroglyphics
 or the German Enigma cipher system in World War II, combine with
 Singh's sketches of the mathematicians who have advanced the art of
 secrecy, from Julius Caesar to Alan Turing to contemporary
 mathematicians, resulting in a wonderfully understandable survey."

   -- Gilbert Taylor, Booklist

Also available from the EPIC Bookstore:

"The Privacy Law Sourcebook: United States Law, International Law, and
Recent Developments," Marc Rotenberg, editor (EPIC 1999). Price: $50.

The "Physicians Desk Reference of the privacy world." An invaluable
resource for students, attorneys, researchers and journalists who need
an up-to-date collection of US and International privacy law, as well
as a comprehensive listing of privacy resources.

"Filters and Freedom - Free Speech Perspectives on Internet Content
Controls," David Sobel, editor (EPIC 1999). Price: $20.

A collection of essays, studies, and critiques of Internet content
filtering. These papers are instrumental in explaining why filtering
threatens free expression.

"Cryptography and Liberty: An International Survey of Cryptography
Policy" Wayne Madsen and David Banisar, editors, (EPIC 1999). Price:

An international survey of encryption policies around the world.
Survey results show that in the vast majority of countries,
cryptography may be freely used, manufactured, and sold without
restriction, with the U.S. being a notable exception.

"Privacy and Human Rights 1999: An International Survey of Privacy
Laws and Developments" David Banisar, Simon Davies, editors, (EPIC
1999). Price: $15.

An international survey of the privacy and data protection laws found
in 50 countries around the globe. This report outlines the
constitutional and legal conditions of privacy protection, and
summarizes important issues and events relating to privacy and

Additional titles on privacy, open government, free expression,
computer security, and crypto, as well as films and DVDs can be
ordered through the EPIC Bookstore:

>From EPIC Alert 6.15

5. CFP: Journal of Communication Inquiry issue on Alternative Media

Forthcoming theme issue, October 2000, Volume 24, Issue 4

Alternative media publish and broadcast messages of resistance, humor,
entertainment, and information that do not fit into traditional media
perspectives. Alternative media may be seen as sources of diversity running
counter to the increasingly commodified, corporate, standardized meanings
made by the more traditional media industry. From pirate radio to online
zines to printed publications, dissident publishers and broadcasters have
taken advantage of technological and cultural changes to offer alternative
views, entertainment, and information. Given the current of corporate
mergers, commodification, and standardization in traditional media, the
continued viability of alternative media demands further consideration.
-- How have alternative media developed historically?
-- Has "alternative" become traditional?
-- How might one most usefully define "alternative" media?
-- What sorts of worldviews and meanings are represented in alternative
media in the United States and internationally?
-- How have traditional media and authorities responded to alternative
The journal invites submissions of papers on these and other topics that
explore alternative media. The Journal of Communication Inquiry emphasizes
interdisciplinary inquiry into communication and mass communication
phenomena within critical, cultural, and historical perspectives. Such
perspectives imply that an understanding of these phenomena cannot arise
solely out of a narrowly focused analysis. Rather, the approaches emphasize
philosophical, evaluative, empirical, legal, historical, and/or critical
inquiry into relationships between mass communication and society across
time and culture. The journal is blind-reviewed, widely circulated and read,
and abstracted in all relevant bibliographic indexes. The journal is
student-edited and is produced by the Iowa Center for Communication Studies
and published by Sage Publications, Inc.

Maximum length of papers is 7,000 words, including notes and references.
Manuscripts should have a detachable title page listing author=B9s name,
address, and phone number. The title, but not the identity of the author,
should also appear on the first page. Other than the title page, the
author=B9s name should not appear anywhere in the manuscript. Manuscripts=
be prepared following the "B" style in The Chicago Manual of Style, 14th
Edition, with references and endnotes. The author is responsible for making
her or his work conform to style requirements. Manuscripts will not be
returned. Please submit three (3) copies of your paper to:

Matthew Cecil, Editor, Journal of Communication Inquiry
School of Journalism and Mass Communication
The University of Iowa
W615 Seashore Hall
Iowa City, IA 52242
(319) 335-3341 / jci-editor[at]

6. "Christian Fiction" discussion on PUBLIB

Date: Thu, 23 Sep 1999 15:50:09 -0700 (PDT)
From: James Asbury <jamesasbury[at]>
To: publib <publib[at]>
Subject: Re: labels

"Karen G. Schneider" wrote:

> My issue with "Christian fiction" is that this is an industry title applied
> to a very specific type of fiction and is not necessarily representative of
> fiction produced from the broader, more inclusive framework of Christian
> spirituality.  It's misleading, like the repeated use of the phrase "the
> Christian right" when what is meant is a handful of folks who are not
> particularly spiritual but have very distinct political opinions.
> Having said that, whatever helps people find what they like to read, I
> spoze, is what's best for our readership.

I agree. While to me the term Christian Fiction implies that other fiction is
somehow necessarily unchristian, meaning immoral or bad, or that this is what
Christians read, and if you don't you must not be one, it nonetheless defines a
particular genre targeted to a particular audience, and deserves attention.
While some may question whether or not it should be highlighted (I think it
should if there is a large enough audience for it), there is no question
that it
should at least enter into collection development considerations.


James Asbury

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Date: Thu, 23 Sep 1999 15:52:27 -0700 (PDT)
From: Larry Gainor <lgainor[at]>
To: publib <publib[at]>
Subject: Re: labels

On Tue, 21 Sep 1999, Karen G. Schneider wrote:

> My issue with "Christian fiction" is that this is an industry title applied
> to a very specific type of fiction and is not necessarily representative of
> fiction produced from the broader, more inclusive framework of Christian
> spirituality.

I just wanted to second Karen's comment.  Books like Morris West's
"Shoes of the Fisherman," Ernest J. Gaines' "In My Father's House," or
Mailer's "Gospel According to the Son" could all be reasonably considered
"Christian Fiction" as could C.S. Lewis' Perelandra trilogy, but I'm not
sure they would appeal to Janette Oke's or Frank Peretti's audience.

Larry Gainor
Fort Worth Public Library

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Date: Thu, 23 Sep 1999 15:53:18 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Mary Ann Meyers" <ljmmam[at]>
To: publib <publib[at]>
Subject: Christian Fiction

<. . .They're just looking for
<a good story that's mayhem-free and devoid of four-letter words,
<violence, and explicit sex.  Clean fiction?  Gentle fiction?  Something
<those lines...

I am trying to imagine (in terms of reader's advisory) what  works/authors
might fit into this kind of description AND are not necessarily restrained
and their content defined (censored) by the demands of a particular
religious or philosophical agenda.  I am not being facetious when I ask that
librarians on this list please suggest authors/works who/which fit the
criteria of  "mayhem-free and devoid of four-letter words, mind-numbing
violence, and explicit sex" and who/which are not pedantically promoting a
particular lifestyle, religious viewpoint, or institutionally-approved value

I would be interested in such a bibliography because I know we have patrons
who request these works, in effect asking us to censor their reading for
them.  In terms of  our professional call to public service, I feel the need
to provide what they require;  yet I'm queasy at the notion of  being a
participant in providing more than access to such sterile literature.  Are
we simply providing access or are we being asked to provide a rating system
for literature?  (I might--not seriously--call this genre "fictional

BTW I cast my vote for the "religious fiction" genre designation over
"Christian fiction"  (although, mea culpa [too papist for Christian
fiction?], I created an "Adult Christian Fiction" bibliography three years
ago for the branch where I was assigned).  "Religious fiction" seems to
serve the purpose while not promoting a particular faith or sect.

Mary Ann Meyers
No title, No branch

Paraphrased from the film "Smoke Signals," screenplay adapted by Sherman
Alexie from his collection of short stories *The Lone Ranger and Tonto
Fistfight in Heaven*--Suzy Song:  "Do you want the truth or a lie?"  Thomas
Builds-the-Fire:  "I want all the truths and all the lies."

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Date: Thu, 23 Sep 1999 15:53:39 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Daniel Cawley" <prisonerwttn[at]>
To: publib <publib[at]>
Subject: The trouble with labels

A great many of our patrons ask for books without strong language, sexual
situations, or ultraviolence.  We buy heavily in these areas. I've heard
reader advisors refer to this type of fiction as "warm milk."

If libraries set up such a section of materials, shouldn't they also arrange
an area for books with lots of four-letter words, wild sex, and crazy
mayhem?  Maybe call it "shot and a beer."

Personally, I think Maeve Binchy should share the shelf with Jim Thompson.
Just a thought.

Daniel D. Cawley
Watertown Public Library
Watertown, WI

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Date: Thu, 23 Sep 1999 15:54:14 -0700 (PDT)
From: Gail Hardenbergh <gailhardenbergh[at]>
To: publib <publib[at]>
Subject: Christian fiction alternative

Ann Arbor Public Library has stickers which say "Gentle Read" rather than
giving the books a religious designation.


Gail Hardenbergh, Library Director
Milan Public Library
151 Wabash St.
Milan, MI 48160
(734) 439-1244 phone  (734) 439-5625 fax-5625 fax

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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 23 Sep 1999 15:57:26 -0700
From: Louise Stephens <lstephe[at]>
To: plib2[at]
Subject: Re: [PUBLIB] Christian Fiction (fwd)

Vegan fiction--very interesting!!  What authors can I look for?

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Date: Thu, 23 Sep 1999 19:39:25 -0700 (PDT)
From: Anne Sharp <plorre[at]>
To: publib <publib[at]>
Subject: Re: Christian fiction

My understanding is that "Christian fiction" refers to
a very specific genre written and read by the
protestant Christians we know as "evangelical,"
"fundamentalist," "charismatic," or "born-again"
Christians, as opposed to members of traditional
Catholic and Protestant Christian churches, but who
prefer to identify themselves not by any specific
denominational name but as "Christians." These
Christians have their own authors, publishers,
bookstores, even their own organization of librarians,
as I understand it!

I still think it makes sense to take this Christian
genre as it comes, identify it and perhaps even label
and display it as such, rather than trying to make it
into a big ecumenical lump with other "religious"
fiction. For one thing, Christian fiction has its own
specific themes, e.g. the apocalyptic Rapture-oriented
stories of Tim Lahaye and Frank Peretti, which are as
distinct from C.S. Lewis as William Gibson is from
Agatha Christie.

Put it this way. If we took the needs of the
Christians a little more in earnest rather than
exasperatedly telling them to get in line behind the
Presbyterians and Wiccans, maybe they'd spend more
time in their local libraries and less time trying to
organize pickets outside them.


Anne Sharp
Livonia Civic Center Libraries

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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 23 Sep 1999 22:58:13 -0400
From: Karen G. Schneider <kgs[at]>
To: PUBLIB <plib2[at]>
Subject: Christian Lit

I'm sure it was a touch of humor that inspired one of our last posters to
distinguish between Presbyterians and Christians... (or was that a
predestined comment?).  Though that's the problem with the "Christian
Fiction" label--it puts a lot of us out in the cold.  I doubt that tossing
in a few other religious writers would alienate the readers of Jeannette
Oke--and an umbrella label for all spiritual fiction might help readers find
writers they weren't aware of--writers that the so-called "Christian"
publishers wouldn't lead these readers to.  (Remember, the whole "Christian
fiction" publishing area is a for-profit industry, not a mission.)  Maybe
for once libraries could inspire positive change--after all, someone made up
the label called "Christian Fiction," and like the word "family," it's not
universally agreed that it is appropriate for *one* group to own that

And we have room in our collections for all kinds of spiritual fiction,
whether it is from Peretti or Lewis, or from writers far from our Western
experience... just as we have room for all patrons, as long as they
believe... in LIBRARIES.

Which leads to a reminder that PUBLIB has an archive at
http:/ , and to a notice that due to the travel
schedules of the moderators, there will be a brief hiatus in service from
Friday mid-afternoon to Saturday evening (9-24 -- 9-25).  (You might say
that this week, PUBLIB is observing the Sabbath!)  Messages sent to the list
during that period will sit marinating in the Internet broth until our

Happy Friday!

Karen G. Schneider kgs[at]
Assistant Director of Technology
Shenendehowa Public Library, Clifton Park, NY
Happiness is a new hard drive!

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Date: Fri, 24 Sep 1999 16:30:18 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Susan Taylor" <Susan.Taylor[at]>
To: publib <publib[at]>
Subject: Re: Christian Fiction

>.  I am not being facetious when I ask that librarians on this list please
suggest >authors/works who/which fit the criteria of  "mayhem-free and
devoid of four->letter words, mind-numbing violence, and explicit sex" and
who/which are not >pedantically promoting a particular lifestyle, religious
viewpoint, or >institutionally-approved value system.

We haven't had complaints from patrons looking for this kind of fiction when
we suggest these authors :  Philippa Carr, Pearl Buck, Catherine Cookson,
Sara Hylton, Grace Livingston Hill, Emily Loring, Ruth Moore, Elisabeth
Ogilvie, Miss Read, D. E. Stevenson, Mary Stewart, Jessica Stirling, Malcolm
Macdonald, Rosamunde Pilcher, or Jan Karon.

Susan Taylor
Edythe Dyer Library
Hampden, ME  04444

Commit random acts of kindness and senseless beauty

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Why not try Inspiration Fiction?  Some of the mass market
romances are already called inspirational romances.  We need to be
inclusive and "Christian" fiction certainly may exclude  a great
deal if we hold it to the narrow definition  decreed by some sects
or groups.  .>

. . . . .

They may be light and pleasant, but some of our patrons who want
"christian" fiction will NOT read Binchy nor Pilcher..  I personally
like the books integrated.  Doing a lot of subgenres can get
tricky..for the librarians, patrons , and shelvers.  I think it may
depend on the on the size and scope of each individual library how
the material gets shelved and/or marked.  Just so it gets out and
moves.  I think the whole area and concept of "christian" books can
be exceedingly tricky .  Different meanings for different people.>

Laura Hibbets McCaffery
Readers Services
Allen County Public Library
Fort Wayne, Indiana
                "All opinions are mine alone.  Others are
                      free to agree..or disagree."
"...all things are to to be examined and called into question. There
are no limits set to thought."  Edith Hamilton, THE GREEK WAY.

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Re: Christian fiction...that label makes me want to take to heavy
drinking--which, as an Episcopalian, I could do, and still attain unto
the Heavenly Places, *and* it's probably also the Anglicanism which
arouses my response to "Christian Fiction."  BUT...I like the idea,
presented in publib, of using *Religious* Fiction as an alternative.
Here I am NOT being facetious.  Madeleine L'Engle has written (_Walking
on Water_) that there is no *Christian* writing or *Christian* music or
*Christian* art--there's either bad writing/music/art, or good
art/music/writing.  That's kind-of a side comment, but it leads me back
to the "Religious Fiction," which, while still a label, is not as
specific a label as the alternative, and leaves more room for
interpretation.  (And, as a kind of anti-jargon contrarian, I am sick to
death of the word "inclusive," but I guess I'm talking--pardon me,
_writing_--about inclusivity here.)

John Richmond, Director
Palestine Public Library
Palestine, TX
.where Dynix seems to have gone haywire on calculating fines, and
where I attended [last night] a community Y2K (or YK2, as one of the
speakers put it, all unawares) meeting sponsored by a city councilwoman,
where two local clerics on the panel--why were they there, I
wonder--talked about the end of the world, sin, and gloom, while the
reps from the utilities and phone cos., e.g., gave very sane
presentations...never a dull moment....

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Date: Sat, 25 Sep 1999 07:22:22 -0700 (PDT)
From: Fred G Hill <hill[at]>
To: publib <publib[at]>
Subject: Re: Christian Fiction

 Does anyone wonder about the sheer volume of e-mail generated
by the mention of the word, 'Christian'? ...Fred

      Fred G Hill                    hill[at]
      Fletcher Free Library                    802 863-3403 vox
      235 College St, Burlington, VT 05401     802 865-7227 fax


7. Holy Internet Resources

All Things Spiritual

Search or browse this directory of spiritual resources.

For additional background, see the about page at

Submitted by:
The ResPool Listowner

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Master's Seminary On-line; Links to Research Sites:

>From the sites explaination:   "Provides resources for
Biblical and Theological Studies, as well as useful
geneeral information sites. To that end the below links
have been provided. They are broken down by category.
Inclusion of a link here does not necessairily mean that
The Master's Seminary endorses all of the material that
may be found there, nor links to other sites that they
may provide."
  This is a very large site and takes time to load, but
is a mother lode of sites for biblical and theological
Submitted by:
Trescott Research                Information Consulting
  Buisness/Library/Archive Development  -  Publishing
   Venture Capital and Grants Research         

From ResPool -
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InterFaithNet(sm) is a defined search engine currently providing access to reviewed websites for Judaism, Islam and Christianity. All resources are categorized by particular faith, and by topic. They can be searched by keyword or browsed by topic.

Melody Lewis

From ResPool -
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From the Philosophy, Religion & Theology Librarians List:

Date:         Mon, 16 Aug 1999 10:14:00 -0700
Reply-To: "PRT-LIBN   Philosophy, Religion & Theology Librarians List"
        Charles Bellinger <ckb[at]REGENT-COLLEGE.EDU>

From: Charles Bellinger <ckb[at]REGENT-COLLEGE.EDU>
Organization: Gary Klein,
              editor of BUSLIB-L & PRT-LIBN / Hatfield Library / Willamette
              University / Salem, Oregon 9731 / phone #503-370-6743
Subject:      Wabash Center Internet Guide

Many of you on this listserv are probably already aware of this site,
but just in case you aren't, you can check it out here:

It is a comprehensive annotated guide to Internet resources in religious
studies. Any comments you wish to make about it would be welcome:


Charles Bellinger
Public Services Librarian
Regent Carey Library
5800 University Blvd.
Vancouver, BC V6T 2E4
phone 604-221-3341

= - = - = - = - = - = - = - = - = - = - = - = - = - = - = - = - =
  You can search through PRT-LIBN's archives at:

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Church and synagogue Library Assoc.

_Christian Librarian_

Librarians Christian Fellowship Newsletter

Evangelical Christian Publishing Association

Evangelical Church Library Assoc.

Church Libraries


8. ALA may attend Seattle's WTO meeting / possible statement against

Date: Sat, 25 Sep 1999 22:28:13 -0500
To: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]>
From: Al Kagan <akagan[at]>
Subject: World Trade Organization

The following point 21 is from Bill Gordon's report. [A report to ALA
Council on ALA activities. -Ed.]  I think it is important that ALA
has status at the WTO Seattle Meeting.  The Canadian Library
Association has taken a principled stand against the Multilateral
Agreement on Investment, and the ALA Social Responsiblilites Round
Table has voted a resolution and produced a factsheet modeled on the
Canadian fact sheet. The WTO is trying to implement similar policies.
Please see the fact sheet following and attachement.  I hope the ALA
IRC,  Executive Board, and President will have a look at this and
join forces with our neighbors to the North in Seattle.

21) The World Trade Organization (WTO) has informed OITP that ALA has
been credentialed as an official NGO (Non-Government Organization)
with observer status to attend the upcoming Ministerial level trade
meeting in Seattle.  International trade agreements are increasingly
influencing intellectual property policy, universal service and other
telecommunications policy, and even local procurement policies for
information goods and services, and OITP has been trying to raise the
visibility of library concerns in these areas.  The fact that we have
been granted such status is recognition of our growing voice.


WHEREAS the Multilateral Agreement on Investments (MAI) is a pending
global trade agreement which will require signatory governments to
relinquish a degree of sovereignty to multinational corporations; and

WHEREAS the MAI is being negotiated in secret under the auspices of
the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a
grouping of the world's 29 wealthiest countries; and

WHEREAS the MAI will require governments to provide equal treatment
for domestic and foreign businesses, meaning that laws offering
preferential treatment to businesses or organizations in a given
locale or situation would be subject to lawsuits to be heard in
courts and as-of-yet unnamed international tribunals, opening them up
to unlimited liability for the continuation of democratically created
laws; and

WHEREAS the MAI is intended to apply to all levels of government
(national, regional, local, community) regardless of whether or not
the governmental body in question ratified the treaty, meaning that
local ordinances may be challenged by multinational corporations; and

WHEREAS many public and academic libraries receive the majority of
their funding from governmental bodies, who will be constrained in
the policy-making arena by the threat of foreign corporations taking
legal action against them if they feel local interests are being
placed ahead of their "rights"; and

WHEREAS the MAI will apply retroactively to contracts and laws
implemented before the MAI is ratified; and

WHEREAS the MAI is anti-democratic and gives multinational
corporations rights that citizens to not have while absolving them of
most responsibilities; and

WHEREAS libraries and librarians are vital components in maintaining
democratic systems by providing the information needed to maintain an
informed and involved populace, and so have a significant stake in
rebuffing attacks on democracy and the power of citizens to control
their lives; and

WHEREAS the British Columbia Library Association Executive has
already voiced its opposition to MAI; therefore be it

RESOLVED that the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American
Library Association declares its opposition to the continued
negotiation of the MAI until such time as the negotiations are opened
up to representation by developing countries and by non-governmental
organizations dedicated to protecting intellectual freedom,
environmental, labor and consumer interests; and be it further

RESOLVED that SRRT urges the ALA Council, current President, and
Presidents-Elect to publicly oppose MAI as a threat to democratic
values, local autonomy, and human rights.

Passed by SRRT Action Council, 6/27/98 Washington DC


The Canadian Library Association, British Columbia Library
Association and Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American
Library Association have recently passed resolutions against the
adoption of the MAI. Read on for more information.


The MAI, or Multilateral Agreement on Investment, is a treaty being
negotiated by Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development
(OECD) countries to facilitate the flow of capital across borders and
around the world. Paving the way for the "global economy," the MAI
proposes to create a "level playing field" by drawing up investment
guidelines and by standardizing the treatment of foreign investment
globally.  But this treaty would be devastating for the citizens of
the signatory countries.  All sectors of society would be affected as
capital finds itself free to flow everywhere, even into areas that are
now considered public.

Often referred to as "NAFTA on steroids," the MAI is a similar type
of treaty, but one that goes well beyond NAFTA in granting
transnational corporations incredible powers. Most notably it would
prevent governments from creating new laws in conflict with the
articles of the MAI and enable corporations to take governments to
court for trying to enforce existing laws.

Sounds incredible.  But it's true. 

The MAI would affect all countries, starting with the OECD member
states and working its way into the developing world. Western
Governors Association resolution 97-010 (June 24, 1997) states the
following state sovereignty concerns that must be addressed before
adopting the MAI:

o Ability to favor local businesses,

o Ability to use investment incentives and performance requirements
to achieve legitimate public purposes,
o Ability to preserve current regulatory authority over economic
activity, land use, and the environment,
o Ability to protect states and state officials from private lawsuits
and damages awarded by international tribunals.


Yes.  In the worse case scenario, it is possible that public
libraries could disappear altogether. Under the MAI's "national
treatment" clause, foreign corporations have the right to the same
treatment as national companies.  They must not be discriminated
against and must receive the same perks as nationals.

Because libraries receive government funding, and because such
funding falls within the provisions of the MAI, libraries could find
themselves in jeopardy. 

Consider the following scenario: a foreign information services
company enters the United States and sets up operation.  The company
defines its services as similar to those offered by libraries.  It
then demands equal treatment with existing libraries under the MAI.
Equal treatment would include government funding, and the government
would then be faced with the following options in response to this

1. Subsidize information services companies to the same degree as

2. Decrease funding to libraries, and then extend this decreased
level of assistance to the foreign corporations as well.

3. Cut funding to libraries altogether and thereby avoid subsidizing
information services companies in competition with libraries.

Libraries are already struggling under current funding levels. The
worst case scenario could be a complete closure of public libraries
due to lack of funds.  Another possibility is that libraries would
take the initiative and greatly increase their own fund-raising,
including fee-for-service schemes, a trend that has already found
roots in many library systems.

The end result would be reduced service to the public. Citizens could
potentially lose access to libraries and have to pay the information
services companies for the information they need. Alternatively, the
public would be required to pay libraries for services that were once
free.  Libraries would be in competition with corporations, and
information would be a commodity in the marketplace.

At the moment, there is some attempt at equitable access to
information for all citizens. If the above scenario were to play
itself out, information access could be restricted to all but the
richest in our society.

Consider the possibility of increasing the privatization of
education, including schools and post secondary institutions vying
for paying "customers."  How will academic libraries fare?  One day
academic libraries might serve only those who can prove they've paid
the price of admission.  What about cooperation between libraries?
Will interlibrary loan become a thing of the past? 


Copyright legislation could come under fire, specifically the fair
use clause that allows library users to make a copy of a part of a
work for personal use.  A corporation (such as a publisher) could
easily see such copying as interference in its ability to make a
profit, and could challenge it at an international tribunal under the
MAI's "expropriation" clause. 

Another concern stems from the MAI's lack of performance requirements
for transnational corporations.   At the moment, some libraries are
required to use local distributors to acquire their materials.  Given
the above scenario where information services companies could be
competing with libraries, the foreign corporations would not be
required to use local distributors, buy local materials, or support
local authors.  Clearly, the collections in libraries could suffer,
to say nothing of the book trade and the health of our literary

The scenarios presented here could play themselves out the world
over, differing in details but having the same overall effect. There
would be a reduction in the quality of life of the general population
and the health and vitality of the society, all in the name of the
global corporation's right to make a profit.


Concerned citizens are welcome to submit briefs stating their
concerns. Voice your opposition to the treaty by contacting Charlene
Barshefsky, United States Trade Representative, 600 17th St., N.W.,
Washington, DC 20508. The USTR also has a website with feedback form

In Canada, the following provinces that have spoken out against the
MAI: Prince Edward Island, British Columbia, the Yukon and
Saskatchewan. The British Columbia Library Association (April 1998)
and Canadian Library Association (June 1998) have passed strong
resolutions against the MAI.  There is no reason why states and state
library associations could not organize in the same way here.

Finally, stay informed on the issues of globalization and the MAI.
Spread the word and educate others. Contact your representatives in
Washington!  Urge the Library of Congress to establish and assign

Knowledge and public outcry are the world's best weapons against this
treaty and others like it.  The following Public Citizen website
contains up-to-date information on the MAI, including the draft text
of the agreement:

The Alliance for Democracy can supply useful pamphlets and
information packets:

Check out the resolutions of the Canadian Library Association,
British Columbia Library Association, and Social Responsibilities
Round Table of the American Library Association at

Social Responsibilities Round Table, American Library Association,
September 1998

Al Kagan
Africana Unit, Room 328
University of Illinois Library
1408 W. Gregory Drive
Urbana, IL 61801, USA

tel. 217-333-6519
fax. 217-333-2214
e-mail. akagan[at]

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