Library Juice 3:14 Supplement - April 12, 2000

Core Values

The following is a thread from SRRTAC-L and PLGnet-L, bringing in messages
from the ALA Council list, and based on the recent release of the final
draft of the new Core Values statement of ALA.

Date: Wed, 29 Mar 2000 16:25:04 -0500
To: srrtac-l[at], plgnet-l[at]
From: Mark Rosenzweig <iskra[at]>
Subject: [ALACOUN:4502] ALA Core Values Task Force

Below is the final draft of the Core Values statement of ALA. I am very

I want to draw your attention to the fact that none of our concerns were
addressed or included.

I am particularly appalled by the section on "diversity" which doesn't even
begin to comprehend what is at issue. The word is used but the meaning of
it is lost. "Respect for the individuality and diversity of all people"
indeed! This is not made any better in the exegesis of that slogan.
Promoting equality and equity (for instance, racial equality/equity!), is
not even alluded to, and neither is empowering the disempowered,
recognizing how libraries can and must pro-actively serve special
marginalized communities, etc.

Elsewhere, the use of the term "equitable access" hardly sums up the need
for free, unimpeded, enhanced and enabled, access in usable, meaningful
form or that librarians are active advocates for open access in the face of
all those forces which militate against it.

No mention is made of social responsibility as a value or even of the
social role of librarianship in promoting democracy,community and a
pluralistic culture.

There is no recognition of the need to positively increase access to
different viewpoints. From our SR viewpoint, that completely negates the
significance of expanding  collections to include other voices, the
alternative press, etc.

There isn't even an endorsement of intellectual freedom and concrete
opposition to censorship! This is HIGHLY disturbing to me from a social
responsibilities perspective.

On other than social responsibilities grounds, it does not recognize our
commitment to the promotion of scholarship, research, inquiry, discovery
and to the promotion of a "learning society" as it was once called.

I believe it remains in this final form fundamentally flawed.

Mark Rosenzweig
councilor at large

>Date: Wed, 29 Mar 2000 14:16:27 -0600
>From: "Lois Ann Gregory-Wood" <lgregory[at]>
>To: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]>
>Subject: [ALACOUN:4502] ALA Core Values Task Force
>Councilor and ALA Core Values Task Force Chair Don Sager asked that the
>following message be forwarded to the Council list.
>Dear Colleagues:
>The ALA Core Values Task Force is charged with the development of a
>statement on the core values of librarianship, with a deadline of July,
>2000, for submission to the ALA Council. To fulfill this charge, the Task
>Force developed a first draft in November of 1999. This draft was posted
>on the ALA Council listserv, and several other discussion lists. We also
>distributed copies of the draft to ALA divisions, round tables, affiliates
>and chapters, requesting comment. The Task Force held a public hearing,
>and met with the governance of many ALA units at the ALA Midwinter
>Conference in San Antonio.
>Most of the comments we received were favorable, and several divisions
>approved the draft in principle. However, the Task Force received a number
>of recommendations for changes in the first draft. We focused on those
>revisions that appeared most frequently among the comments we received,
>and incorporated those changes that both strengthen the statement and
>reflect a consensus. The following statement is the result of this effort,
>and Task Force will recommend its adoption at the ALA Annual Conference in
>Chicago. Your comments and questions are welcomed. You can find a complete
>list of the members of the Task Force on our website
>( The members of the Task
>Force wish to thank the ALA units, affiliates, chapters and the many
>individuals who responded to our request for comments on the first draft.
>Don Sager, Chair, ALA Core Values Task Force
>Librarianship and Information Service: A Statement on Core Values
> (25 March 2000)
>The library and information profession is enriched by the skills and
>knowledge of its individual members. Through their specialized training
>and experience, they contribute to the varied missions of their
>institutions and organizations. Over time, they have refined their
>services to meet the unique and ever changing needs of their communities.
>Despite the multiplicity of these skills and roles, librarians and
>information specialists hold the following values in common:
>Connection of people to ideas
>Assurance of equitable access to recorded knowledge, information and
>creative works
>Commitment to literacy and learning
>Respect for the individuality and the diversity of all people
>Freedom for all people to form, to hold, and to express their own beliefs
>Preservation of the human record
>Excellence in professional service to our communities
>Formation of partnerships to advance these values
>These values encompass many principles and beliefs that may have special
>meanings or require a different emphasis in each of the varied
>professional associations representing librarians and information
>professionals. The following is one interpretation, which may be adopted
>or revised by these organizations, based on their individual goals and
>Connection of people to ideas. We guide the seeker in defining and
>refining the search; we foster intellectual inquiry; we nurture
>communication in all forms and formats.
>Assurance of equitable access to recorded knowledge, information and
>creative works. We recognize access to ideas across time and across
>cultures is fundamental to society and to civilization.
>Commitment to literacy and learning. We aid people to become independent
>lifelong learners by selecting and offering materials that support the
>differing needs of all learners and that entertain and delight the human
>Respect for the individuality and the diversity of all people. We honor
>each request for assistance promptly and with courtesy, meeting it
>equitably with the fullness of tools at our command while protecting each
>personàs common right to privacy and confidentiality.
>Freedom for all people to form, hold, and to express their own beliefs.
>All people have the right to seek, to know, and to find.
>Preservation of the human record. The cultural memory of humankind and its
>many families, its stories, its expertise, its history, and its evolved
>wisdom must be preserved so it may illuminate the present and make the
>future possible.
>Excellence in professional service to our communities. Our commitment
>requires integrity, competence, personal growth, effective stewardship,
>and service to our discipline as well as to our public.
>Formation of partnerships to advance these values. We believe in the
>interdependence of libraries and librarians and advocate collaboration in
>all areas and between all types of library, knowing that collections and
>services evolve successfully through such collaboration.

..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  .. ..  ..

Date: Fri, 31 Mar 2000 14:40:08 -0500
To: alacoun[at]
From: Mark Rosenzweig <iskra[at]>
Subject: More on ALA "Core Values Statement"
Cc: srrtac-l[at], plgnet-l[at]

The "Aesopian" language in which the core values statement is written - if
Councilor DeCandido's response (see below) to my comments is to be taken to
heart, a response in which one is advised one has to literally "read
between the lines" or infer or simply hope that things which many of us
believed to be explicit core values are "reallly' in there - the ostensibly
"simplified" (if ambiguous) language which allows the Task Force to realize
its goal of reducing our credo and its justifications to the Public
Relations world's dream of "putting it on one page" (why that should be a
primary goal for ALA, if it is done at the expense of content and meaning,
escapes me!), in the end creates a document which, in my opinion,
eviscerates the sense of what we stand for, for ourselves and for others.

In effect, the document rewrites the credo of librarianship, as previously
reflected in the ALA Policy Manual as a whole, the brilliant and succint
ALA introduction/mission statement which begins it, the Library Bill of
Rights, the Freedom to Read statement etc., at such a level of generality
as to drain the statement (and therefore the presentation of the values of
librarianship) of almost all significance.

It certainly adds nothing to one's understanding of our values (and
clarifies nothing!), and much can be argued has been subtratcted or
minimized or re-prioritized.

I know it is considered "bad form" to honestly and, above all, publicly
criticize the well-intentioned work of an ALA committee, but this
particular bit of work, whose creation in all good faith and, I'm sure, as
the result of much hard labor, promises to become a PRIMARY POINT OF
REFERENCE for a good long time in matters of much moment to the profession
and its publics, must be addressed forthrightly and I am willing to risk
(once again, I'm afraid) being considered ungracious and uncollegial in
bluntly voicing my reservations,

Despite the effort geared to making it a more effective presentation of our
values for professionals and laymen alike, it is, in my opinion, a weak and
uninspiring document, restating things which are much better and just as
succinctly stated elsewhere in our policies, leaving out key values which
we have historically held (unless, of course one is inclined to believe
"it's in there" even though you don't see it).

Among things I have not mentioned previously, it nowhere refers to the core
value of ours that libraries are key institutions and librarians key actors
in maintaining a public space which actively contributes to
self-development, social improvement, cultural advancement,and the
promotion of free public discourse, i.e. that it is our primary value that
it is important, crucial, that libraries and librarianship and librarians
be publicly (and privately!) promoted and supported and developed.

The document at hand doesn't deal, in a related vein, with our commitment
to the value of the profession advocating through the political process for
public funding and library-enhancing legislation in the interests of our

Nor does it allude to the increasingly important value of gearing our work,
political and professional, to overcoming the growing "information gap".

It doesn't address our newer and highly pertinent value of using
ourindividual and collective resources to shaping the direction of the
development of information technology so that remains a key constiutuent to
the unhampered expansion of a free public forum and resource base.

These above are absent, but somehow, rather arbitrarily, on a list of only
eight core items "the formation of partnerships" between libraries,
something which (important though it is) is perhaps more of a "goal" or a
"strategy" than a value is included. No commitment to fighting for
legislation and funding, but "the formation of partnerships" is included? I
don't get it.

Finally (although I'm afraid this hardly exhausts my list of reservations
about the document), it is a very curious formulation to head up the list
to say our (principal?) core value is the "connection of people to ideas".

Yes, granted it has a nice, high-toned ring to it (and I personally find it
preferable to using the term "information" the way we do so promiscuously
of late), but philosohically  and practically it is problematic even if it
is nice as an advertising slogan. Is it only "ideas" we connect people to?
Don't we connect people to other institutions, to other resources, to other
people? And is "connecting" someone to a recording of a Furtwaengler
performance of a Beethoven symphony, or a reproduction of a painting by
Malevich, or the originals of the personal letters of Lillian Hellman, or a
photograph of George Bernard Shaw, or the address of an abortion clinic,
connecting them to "ideas" ?

I think that, as wedded to this admittedly pretty formulation as the Task
Force may be, it should be reconsidered and hopefully reformulated or
dropped. It does no justice to the variegated services of libraries.

Mark Rosenzweig
ALA Councilor at large

From: "GraceAnne A. DeCandido" <ladyhawk[at]>
To: iskra[at], ALA Council List <alacoun[at]>
Date: Wed, 29 Mar 2000 17:11:35 -0500
Subject: Re: [ALACOUN:4503] ALA Core Values Task Force
CC: Don Sager <dsager[at]>

It may not be a fruitful exercise to respond to Councilor
Mark Rosenzweig's criticism by saying "this is why we
did that" but I am going to attempt to do so anyway. I
am speaking of course not for the whole committee, but
for myself as a member of the committee, based on my
own thinking and what I recall from our in-person and
online discussions.

We strove mightily to keep the Core Values document,
even with some interpretation, to one page. We strove
to keep the language clear and uncluttered, and to make
it accessible not only to all kinds of librarians but to all
kinds of people.

I obviously see things in what we wrote that Mark did
not see, but here goes:

Along with the phrase "equitable access" we wrote "We
recognize access to ideas across time and across cultures
is fundamental to society and to civilization." That's an
advocate's position.

Mark says we do not mention social responsibility or
access to different viewpoints. I disagree. We wrote "we
guide the seeker in defining and refining the search; we
foster intellectual inquiry" and "we honor each request
... with the fullness of tools at our command" and make
a point of mentioning "the cultural memory of
humankind and its many families." We also wrote "All
people have the right to seek, to know, and to find." I
see this quite clearly as an endorsement of intellectual

Mark says we do not recognize a commitment to the
promotion of scholarship. I disagree. We wrote, besides
what I quoted above,  "we nurture communication in its
myriad forms and formats" and "that support the
differing needs of all learners."

Some other members of the Core Values Committee are
on Council. They will perhaps also respond.

GraceAnne A. DeCandido
Blue Roses Consulting ~ Writing ~ Editorial ~ Web Content
What's Ladyhawk reading now?

All shall be well / and all shall be well
and all manner of things / shall be well.
Julian of Norwich

..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  .. ..  ..

Date: Fri, 31 Mar 2000 14:04:26 -0600
To: SRRT Action Council <srrtac-l[at]>
From: Al Kagan <akagan[at]>
Subject: [SRRTAC-L:4364] Re: More on ALA "Core Values Statement"

I think Mark has done a good job in summarizing why the Statement is
not worthy of endorsement, however I fear that our opinion makes no
difference whatsoever.  It seems to be more a PR move than a needed
document.  If we are lucky, everyone will forget about it in a year
or two.

..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  .. ..  ..

Date: Tue, 4 Apr 2000 01:07:39 -0400
To: srrtac-l[at], plgnet-l[at]
From: Mark Rosenzweig <iskra[at]>
Subject: ALA Core values: is the fix in?

Why is this "core values" thing important? Because the next time we refer
to the core values of librarianship in our arguments, say, about
outsourcing or about including the alternative press or whatever, ALA's
power elite is going to say: "Well, let's see: I don't see THAT in our list
of core values." Go try to argue that our core values are not just what
appears on the page of the pathetic statement which is being promulgated!

I IMPLORE you to voice your opinion on this invidious and insipid
statement! Or else THE FIX IS IN and the whole ballpark is going to change.

PLEASE send me your comments that I can forward to the COuncil.

Let's not just let this slide.

..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  .. ..  ..

Date: Tue, 4 Apr 2000 11:56:31 -0500
To: SRRT Action Council <srrtac-l[at]>
From: Al Kagan <akagan[at]>
Subject: [SRRTAC-L:4384] Re: ALA Core values: is the fix in?

Maybe we should start a discussion on how to try to amend the core
values.  The following is just my initial reaction to looking at the
document again after several months.  Please comment.

1. Connection of people to ideas. This leaves out the political
orientation of the materials that we give to people. Don't we also
want to make sure they get alternative viewpoints, and shouldn't we
also teach them about evaluating sources, not just accept what we
give them as "fact."?

2. Assurance of equitable access....  This leaves out the need for
cost-free access.  And what about the need for "the Right to Know"
which we have heavily promoted over many years now (since Pat Schuman
was President).

4. Respect for the individuality and the diversity of all people.
Shouldn't we also support redress of historical discrimination?
Shouldn't we be doing outreach to communities?

5. Freedom for all people to form,hold and to express their own
beliefs.  This is much too passive.  We also support the right to
advocate beliefs in strong ways such as in demonstrations, street
theater, and other organized activities.

7.  Excellence in professional service to our communities.  There is
a disconnect between the "value" and the explanation which really
addresses leadership qualities: "integrity, competence, personal
growth, effective stewardship, and service to our disciplines as well
as to our public.  There are actually apples as well as oranges in
the list.  I would label the value "Leadership Qualities."

8. Formation of partnerships....  This is a mode of working not a
value.  The value should be "Institutional Cooperation."

Al Kagan
African Studies Bibliographer and Professor of Library Administration
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]
..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  .. ..  ..

Date: Tue, 4 Apr 2000 15:12:29 -0400 (EDT)
From: Frederick W Stoss <fstoss[at]>
To: SRRT Action Council <srrtac-l[at]>
cc: SRRT Action Council <srrtac-l[at]>, josey[at],
        freedman[at], mmalinco[at], ber[at],
Subject: [SRRTAC-L:4385] Re: ALA Core values: is the fix in?


This is a great idea and I think might serve as an outstanding article for
Leonard Knipfel to consider for American Libraries. I would initially
suggest a working title of ALA Core Values: One Small Step in Search of a
Giant Leap.

The inventory you have initiated makes a sound and constructive
contribution and is very much in keeping with SRRT's mission. This
approach is a positive response.

..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  .. ..  ..

Date: Tue, 4 Apr 2000 17:45:48 -0400
To: SRRT Action Council <srrtac-l[at]>
From: Mark Rosenzweig <iskra[at]>
Subject: [SRRTAC-L:4386] Re: ALA Core values: is the fix in?

I think Al's thoughtful comments are very valuable.

But I don't see the point of "amending" a document whose whole purpose is
dubious! And which they're clearly NOT going to amend, no matter what, in
any way to meet our demands. The core values statement strikes me as a
clear attempt to trump the values embedded in ALA policy for the purpose of
narrowing the options and issues we consioder and the basis for the
justification for alternatives to the party line.

If anything we should craft an alternative document. I can't even see why
to buy into this being a good-faith attempt. Do you kinow that by version 4
of the document the word "diversity" didn't even appear and that only by
virtue of Dr E.J. Josey's efforts was it included, but in a manner hardly
to his satisfaction (as you can imagine -- we have corresponded about this
but I hesitate to forward his posting to this list).

I think Al's critique is excellent, but his recommenndation- amend it -
leaves me cold.


..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  .. ..  ..

Date: Tue, 4 Apr 2000 23:55:28 -0400
To: SRRT Action Council <srrtac-l[at]>
From: Mark Rosenzweig <iskra[at]>
Subject: [SRRTAC-L:4393] Esprit de "core"

Is it the intention of the producers of the document, the Core Values
Statement, to present it as a resolution to Council to be included in the
ALA Policy Manual, alongside the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to
Read statement?

Since it is "core", will it "trump" those documents and other statements of
values already fully articulated in our policies (and which I think
represent the real core values we have developed over time) in subsequent

What, after all, could be more basic, more fundamental, than what we call a
"core values" statement?

To me, however, it is especially suspicious when the leader of the group
says they were seeking something "universal" and "timeless",

UNIVERSAL AND TIMELESS??? What in the world is "univeral" and "timeless":
certainly not values of ANY sort! The premise was absurd.

I implore the Council to pause to debate whether this should be considered
as something which should be incorporated in our Policies.

Just as we hesitate to change the "Library Bill of Rights" or the "Freedom
to Read" documents, we should hesitate and THINK HARD,, not about how this
"sounds" but about what, in its vagueness, it REPRESENTS; what its
significance is; how it will actuallly be USED.

I urge Councilors who are impressed by the aesthetic values of this
one-page document - and inclined to be grateful for the time and effort
spent on its compression to that page  - a document  which supposedly sums
up ALL we commonly believe so incredibly "economically" - to reconsider
whether this should be a FORMAL or an INFORMAL statement, something which
is policy or something which is a  public relations hand-out.

Above all, I don't want this to be railroaded through Council with any
illusions that it represents anything more profound than the earnest
efforts of a group of eminent ALAers to come up with a public relations
vehicle having to do wit the "image" of librarianship. To take it more
seriously than that, despite all good intentions amd very, very hard work,
would be unwarranted.

Just the criticisms of how the question of how "diversity" alone is handled
should be sufficient to give us pause...

Mark Rosenzweig

>I just returned from the PLA conference and am once again all inspired about
>being a public librarian.  After a particularly difficult week just
>before. S?
>PLA, I needed that shot in the arm!
>While catching up on email I came upon the revised Core Values Statement and
>loved it.  I like the fact that it is concise.  I like the fact that there
>is room for each person to interpret it in their own way, yet the broad
>value is stated.
>The committee did  a fine job on it and I know I will vote to support the
>statement when it comes before Council.
>Christine Lind Hage
>ALA Councilor at Large
>Director, Clinton-Macomb Public Library
>43245 Garfield Road
>Clinton Township, MI 48038-1115 USA
>Voice:  810 226-5010
>Fax:  810 226-5008

..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  .. ..  ..

Date: Wed, 5 Apr 2000 21:38:54 -0400
To: alacoun[at]
From: Mark Rosenzweig <iskra[at]>
Subject: Re: [ALACOUN:4547] Core Values
Cc: srrtac-l[at], plgnet-l[at]

Dear Colleagues,

This is in response to Councilor Sager's recent assertions about the Core
Values statement, in answer to concerns I've expressed on behalf of my

In his response, both this time and previously, Mr Sager has,
unfortunately, seized upon entirely periheral matters but has avoided the
specific content-based concerns I have brought to your attention and the
attention of the Task Force.  Below I have attached my two primary postings
in which, among other things, are enumerated specific concerns about values
which we are assured "are there" but which our eyes do not see, nor the
readers' interpretation necessarily construe.

In effect, Councilor Sager says that the document can mean whatever you
want it to mean, that we are free to interpret it as we wish. Then why the
document? Who does it represent? Librarianship "as a whole"?.

In my opinion, far from it. And it is unreasonable to say that the
selection and elaboration of 8 principles (the last of which isn't even a
"value" in any meaningful sense) doesn't already define to a large degree
the field in which interpretation is possible i.e. it can't mean what you
want it to mean?

I maintain that the burden is on the committee to show that this document,
whose necessity and purpose still remains ambiguous, is an adequate
reflection of all that is "core" to librarianship.

I would maintain that a reading of the following documentation,
representing the profession as a whole, would show how far from that goal
this document is:

1) ALA Policy: The preamble, mission statement, priority areas and goals
which comprise Section One, 1 - 1.4 of our Policy;

2) Section Two :
53 in its entirety (53 - 53.7)
60 in its entirety (60 - 660.6)
61 in its entirety (61 - 61,1)

I know it to be a fact that Mr Sager has heard deep concerns from
proponents of Diversity which I suggest have either not effected, nor have
influenced only to the most negligible degree,this document.

Mr Sager has heard deep concerns from proponents of various aspects of
social responsibilities in librarianship which had no effect whatsoever on
the document presented to us. With respect to this I should point out that
Section One.1.1 of our ALA Policy says clearly, boldly:

"ALA recognizes its broad social responsibilities. The broad social
responsibilities of the American Library Association are defined in terms of
the contribution librarianship can make in ameliorating or solving the
critical problems of society; support for efforts to help inform and
educate the people of the United States on these problems and to encourage
them to examine the many views on the facts regarding each problem; and the
willingness of ALA to take a position on current critical issues with the
relationship to libraries and library services set forth in the position

This is the second paragraph of our policy stement! Where is this reflected
in the document?

We cannot have compression over content, form over substance, when we are
dealing with announcing our entire profession's core values for times to

Mark Rosenzweig
..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  .. ..  ..

Date: Wed, 5 Apr 2000 23:07:08 -0400
To: SRRT Action Council <srrtac-l[at]>
From: Mark Rosenzweig <iskra[at]>
Subject: [SRRTAC-L:4400] FYI: tolls on the bridge over the info gap?

Dear SRRTers and PLGers,

I believe in the value of ALA and what it represents at it's
best.("Credo..well I can't put it in all in  Latin).

But what is going on in the Association now is unbelievable!

Stifling dissent, an official policy of ALA "speaking with one voice" (with
penalties of dissolutions of units and expulsions of individuals who can be
said to have "appeared" to have spoken on behalf of ALA!); a "Core Values
statement which tries to define away all the values we stand for (and which
are embedded in ALA's own policies!)...And now, an assertion of how ABSURD
it is to think that ALA stands for free library services in public
institutions, a position which DIRECTLY CONTRADICTS one of ALA's most
famous policies, as if it didn't exist, as if it never existed, as if it's
existence in our policy manual was nothing but a joke or a mistake.

They scoffed when I raised our historic position on this issue (see below
-- these are your Councilors speaking), as if I had reported having had a
close encounter with an alien (and loved it).

Below is my letter in response to several such postings about the
obviousness of the rightness of fees-for-services in public libraries...


From: Mark

Dear Colleagues:

I can't believe what I am hearing about fees from Councilors! Aren't you
aware of policy 50.3 "Free Access to Information?" I quote:

"The ALA asserts that the charging of fees and levies for information
services, including those services utilizing the latest information
technology, is discriminatory in publicly supported institutions providing
library and informatiopn services.

"The ALA shall seek to make it possible for library and information service
agencies which receive their major support from public funds to provide
service to all people without additional fees and to utilize the latest
technological developments to ensure the best possible access to
information, and ALA will actively promote its position on equal access to

It couldn't be any clearer, could it?

Sometimes I feel that rather than being a critic of ALA, I am one of the
last people who proudly takes what we say we stand for seriously! I hope
I'm not right about being one of a small group; but, if so, I would at
least feel I was in good company.

Mark Rosenzweig
councilor at large

Date: Tue, 04 Apr 2000 22:13:12 -0700
From: Sue Kamm <suekamm[at]>To: ALA Council List
CC: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]>
Subject: [ALACOUN:4543] Re: Digital divide: tolls on the bridge.

James B. Casey wrote:
> Mark Rosenzweig wrote (excerpt):
> > In an article in the most recent ALA NEWS online, President Sarah Long is
> > quoted as saying:
> >
> > >"We have always been committed to making information available and
> > >affordable to everyone..."
> >
> > I thought our ideal was free access to information not affordable access.
> Free access?  Free Library service?  Why not have volunteers run
> our Libraries?    If we don't have some semblance of a revenue stream
> and cost recovery on at least some services, where can we get the
> books and bytes the public wants?   If we don't have what they
> want, the public will go to Borders or to the Mall or elsewhere.
> Libraries are among the most cost effective public entities in existence
> and have delivered service at very reasonable cost to the taxpayer
> over many years ---- not free service, but service at reasonable cost.
> It is a worthy aspiration.   The notion of "Free Service" is a myth and
> a misleading concept -- and certainly not a concept friendly to the
> notion of paying Library workers a living wage.
> James B. Casey  --- Councilor-at-Large

To me, "free access" means "unfettered" -- not "no cost."

The way most public libraries work (at least in California) is that
anyone may come into the building and use library resources in-house.
Depending on the tax structure of the library authority and whether a
California public library subscribes to universal borrowing and
transaction-based reimbursement, residents of the state are not charged
a fee to obtain a library card.

Most libraries charge for value-added services such as photocopying and
lengthy computer printouts.  Some charge rental fees for best-seller
books, videos, or other resources the library may not consider as part
of its basic service.

As Councilor Casey points out, however, most elected officials and
members of the public have absolutely no idea of the financial value of
library service.  They expect libraries and other government agencies
not necessarily to make a profit (although there are some government
agencies which produce revenue) but at least to operate within their
budgets.  They usually look at the bottom line only.  I pointed out
during discussions of contracting out that most librarians haven't a
clue about how to put a price on their services.  We must develop
mechanisms for telling our city councils/library trustees/county
supervisors that we answered X number of reference questions in the last
fiscal year at a cost per question of Y, or we added Z number of titles
to our collection at a cost of R per item above the cost of the
book/magazine/video/compact disc.  We received $M in grants for
computers, software, peripherals, and Internet access, and it is costing
us $K in staff time, replacement of obsolete hardware and software, and
support (printer toner, paper) to maintain the service.

We need to remind our public and ourselves that there's no such thing as
a free lunch -- or a free (as in gratis) library.

Your friendly CyberGoddess and ALA Councilor,
Sue Kamm
email:  suekamm[at]
"It's a mere moment in a man's life between an All-Star Game and an
Old-timers' Game."
--Vin Scully

From: "David Voros" <dsv1[at]>
To: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]>
Subject: [ALACOUN:4546] Re: Digital divide: tolls on the bridge.
Date: Wed, 5 Apr 2000 10:36:46 -0400

If we leave it up to Mark Rosenzweig and his claim for "free everything",
librarians would be paid zero salary or at least minimum wage.

..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  .. ..  ..

Date: Mon, 10 Apr 2000 12:15:04 -0500
To: SRRT Action Council <srrtac-l[at]>
From: Al Kagan <akagan[at]>
Subject: [SRRTAC-L:4421] Fwd: [ALACOUN:4562] Re: Core Values / Separability?
Cc: srrtac-l[at]

For the record, I am not uncomfortable about the paragraph concerning
various interpretations, I am uncomfortable with the entire document
and support much of Mark's messages.  If we are going to have such a
document on core values, it needs to be much broader.  I am
consulting with others and will have another message soon.

My first message addressed the idea that different ALA bodies can
have different opinions and that everyone should have the right of
freedom of expression.  The "Speaking with One Voice" policy is
censorship pure and simple.  We can all support the need to have
common policies if everyone agrees, but what do we do when we
disagree?  ALA Council speaks for the entire organization, but should
dissenting views be censored?  Do our core values include freedom of
expression for ALA bodies, or for individual librarians (Sandy Berman
for example)?

Don Sager agrees with SRRT that different ALA bodies can have
different opinions and that they can present those opinions.  I hope
he and his committee will support that position in front of the ALA
Council and Executive Board when the time comes.

>Date: Thu, 06 Apr 2000 19:13:09 -0400
>From: Peter Graham <psgraham[at]>
>To: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]>
>Subject: [ALACOUN:4562] Re: Core Values / Separability?
>I find that, with Al Kagan, I an uncomfortable with Don Sager's
>paragraph, but for different reasons.  If groups can opt out, I'm
>not sure just what a "policy" is, certainly a "core values"
>policy.  What then is core?  My assumption would be that we are
>looking for what is central to our profession and its
>association; which would mean it couldn't be trumped by a
>division of the professional association.  Could we have some
>more clarification on this point?  --pg
>Al Kagan wrote:
> >
> > Don Sager's message contains an interesting and important paragraph.
> > I quote it below.
> > >
> > >The draft does contain an interpretation of these core values
> > >developed by the Task Force, but we clearly state that this is only
> > >one interpretation which groups may chose to adopt or revise.
> > >Therefore, if the Council should approve the recommendation of the
> > >Task Force, and if Councilor Rosenzweig (or any other individual or
> > >group) is not satisfied with the interpretation developed by the
> > >Task Force, he (or they) would have the flexibility to draft his (or
> > >their) own interpretation for deliberation by any group that wishes
> > >to consider it.
> > >
>Peter Graham    Syracuse University Library    psgraham[at]
>Syracuse NY 13244-2010 315/443-5530 fax 315/443-2060 11/99nw4.4

Al Kagan
African Studies Bibliographer and Professor of Library Administration
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]

..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  .. ..  ..

Mime-Version: 1.0
Date: Mon, 10 Apr 2000 21:10:18 -0400
To: SRRT Action Council <srrtac-l[at]>
From: Mark Rosenzweig <iskra[at]>
Subject: [SRRTAC-L:4427] "Cored" values
Reply-To: srrtac-l[at]
Sender: owner-srrtac-l[at]

Fred says,
">I would think someone writing an article on the issue, starting with an
>acknowledgement of what ALA has started is a small first step, like the
>infant taking that first hesitant step. If that infant is to become an
>Olympic-caliber sprinter, some good coaching is needed as is some hard
>work and lots of acknowledgement.
>Al started a good outline for a more in-depth article."

I do not - and can not - accept Fred's premise that we must acknowledge
that "ALA has started  [taking] a small first step, like the infant taking
that first hesitant step."

The Core Values document is a giant step consciously taken in  what I at
least consider to be absolutely the wrong direction, not by an "infant" but
by people who know very well what they are doing and who are trying to
re-define the core values of librarianship in a way that suits a new
agenda, and one not very conducive to the promotion of the concerns of
socal responsibility. They have turned a deaf ear to suggestions from us,
from the pro-diversity groups, and even  the intellectual freedom
constituency. Now they are undermining the premises of our association's
commitment to free access.

Need I remind you that the present attack on free access from within ALA,
replacing it with the notion of affordable access" is rooted in this Core
Values statement? What could be a more fundamental retreat from one of the
historic values of American librraianship?

I believe Fred to be dead wrong on this. Instead of core values being
asserted, we are seeing our values "cored", with the heart of librarianship
taken out. I remain totally uncinbvnced that this document is either
necessary of that it contributes to the advancement of librarianship and
the proion of libraries and librarians. It is a disaster.

What's more, this document is not going to be further amended. Our input
has been already rejected. We should do nothing to help this document going
to Council on the fast track to becoming one of the basic do policy
statements of the association. We absotely must oppose it. I predict we
will soon find critics from other quarters  with whom we can maje commin

..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  .. ..  ..



  L I B R A R Y   J U I C E

| | Library Juice is supported by a voluntary subscription
| fee of $10 per year, variable based on ability and
| desire to pay.  You may send a check payable in US funds
| to Rory Litwin, at PO Box 720511, San Jose, CA  95172
| Original material and added value in Library Juice    
| is copyright-free; beyond that the publisher makes
| no guarantees.  Library Juice is a free weekly 
| publication edited and published by Rory Litwin. 
| Original senders are credited wherever possible;
| opinions are theirs.  If you are the author of some
| email in Library Juice which you want removed from
| the web, please write to me and I will remove it.
| Your comments and suggestions are welcome.   
| Rory[at]

This page was created by SimpleText2Html 1.0.3 on 11-Apr-100.