Library Juice 3:17 Supplement 1 - May 3, 2000

Second Core Values issue supplement

Collected Email


The statement can be found there.
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John Berry, III

May 1, 2000

Dumbed Down Core Values

Don't let inoffensive generalizations be mistaken for our deepest beliefs.

[Sent to the ALA Council list by Mark Rosenzweig]

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From: "Karen G. Schneider" <kgs[at]>
To: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]>
Subject: [ALACOUN:4585] Re: LJ's John Berry on "Core Values"
Date: Fri, 14 Apr 2000 15:21:42 -0400
Organization: Generally Good

Quite frankly, this is the biggest crock of shit I have been privileged to
see on this discussion list.  The Core Values statement is an excellent
piece of work, and the committee was very open to input.  As for John Berry,
he obviously had a slow-news week.  His last editorial was simply boring;
this one is purely wrongheaded.

Perhaps the original problem was for the Committee on Ed. to have asked a
Task Force to assemble a statement--any statement.  The purpose of this
statement was to help our profession move forward during this time of great
upheaval and change.  It was a first step, and I believe it was done very
well.  What it has become, unfortunately, is a convenient rallying point for
the whinnying naysayers who object to any effort to recast who we are in
terms that are meaningful for our era.  Berry's objections are picayune and
bear no connection to the reality of the Core Values statement.  However,
his words have given ample lift and airspeed to the dirigible of negativism
that ever floats above ALA Council.

Meanwhile, while we fiddle, librarianship burns...

Karen G. Schneider kgs[at]
Assistant Director of Technology
Shenendehowa Public Library, Clifton Park, NY

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Date: Fri, 14 Apr 2000 15:42:57 -0500
From: "James B. Casey" <jimcasey[at]>
To: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]>
Subject: [ALACOUN:4587] John Berry's Vow of Poverty!

Thanks to Councilor Rosenzweig, we have received
advance copy of John Berry's reaction to the CVTF
document.   In one important respect, I agree strongly
with both Mark and John.   These Core Values should
be debated openly and fully before being voted upon
by Council.

John Berry III wrote eloquently and with great skill
about the "Crisis in Librarian Salaries".  Now he
seems to be advocating what amounts to a vow of
poverty for Librarians ---- or more correctly, a
renewal of the vow of poverty which ALA has
purportedly made for us in bygone years.


John Berry III states (excerpt):

"The CVTF's "Assurance of equitable access to recorded
knowledge, information and creative works," while
inoffensive, is simply no match for the direct power
of two clean, clear ALA policies on fees for library
service. One says, "The American Library Association
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 information services." The
other existing policy puts it even more directly:
"The American Library Association opposes the
charging of user fees for the provision of
information by all libraries and information services
that receive their major support from public funds."

Clean and Clear?   Bold and Direct?
Or is it muddled and misguided altruism?

Should State Universities not charge tuition or
State funded Museums not charge admission?
Shouldn't all citizens be entitled to access academic
institutions and museums?   What about toll free
highways and absolutely free postage?   Even the
public schools charge tuition for students whose
parents don't reside in and pay taxes directly to
support the school district.   Many also charge for
text books, lab fees, field trips, etc..  Nobody is
shouting about "FREE" in these cases --- and ALA
wouldn't be wise to ask if postal workers, teachers,
truck drivers and State University faculty would be
happy working for the wages paid to Librarians.

And is it altogether wrong for some cost recovery
(not gouging) to be obtained by those who actually
use the service?   In the minds of many, if we "give
it away" it must not be worth very much.   Thus we
have long discussions with irate patrons who can't
understand that it costs money to process and catalog
books, to chase down overdues, and to keep our
facilities open 7 days per week.   We see the Census
Bureau and IRS expecting us to contribute large amounts
of staff time and space to the furtherance of their
operations "at no charge" to their own agencies.

I'm sorry to say that ALA has often been leading the
pack in devaluing information and Library services by
slapping on the "free" lable.  The CVTF has tried hard
to clarify and modernize.   And for that effort, I thank

James B. Casey --- Councilor-at-Large

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Date: Fri, 14 Apr 2000 17:03:09 -0400
From: Mark Rosenzweig <iskra[at]>
Reply-To: iskra[at]
To: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]>

Dear fellow Councilors,

Ms. Schneider's rhetoric is  suddenly reminiscent of the style of Spiro
Agnew's famous "nattering nabobs of negativism" (actually speech-writer
William Safire wrote that gem).

She lacks only the alliteration. But she makes up for it with her metaphor of
"whinnying naysayers" on the "dirigible of negativism". As one of the putative
passengers on the Zeppelin of Zealotry (my contribution to the contest), my
dictionary up here (yes, I brought it along) says that whinnying is giving
forth a "gentle or joyful neigh". Maybe that's the kind of neigh-saying she's
referring to?

Myself, I'm saying "yes"..Yes to what our already well articulated core values
really are when I reject the piece of puff Ms. Schneider seems to consider a
combination of pure poetry and profound philosophy.

Mark Rosenzweig
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Date: Fri, 14 Apr 2000 16:26:07 -0500
To: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]>
From: Al Kagan <akagan[at]>
Subject: [ALACOUN:4589] ALA Core values

Thanks to Mark for sending John Berry's editorial.  I think he see
the big picture better than most of us.  The Core Values TF just
leaves out too much and does not give sufficient thought to the
proactive nature of our involvement.  In a previous message to the
Social Responsibilities Round Table I pointed out some of the
specific flaws with the draft language.  Here is what I wrote.

>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."

I don't think we can fix this document, and I suggest we follow
John's suggestion to defeat it and move on.

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]
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Date: Sun, 16 Apr 2000 09:57:52 -0700
From: "Robert S. Martin" <rmartin3[at]>
Subject: [ALACOUN:4592] Re: LJ's John Berry on "Core Values"
To: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]>
Organization: Texas Woman's University

"Karen G. Schneider" wrote:


> Perhaps the original problem was for the Committee on Ed. to have asked a
> Task Force to assemble a statement--any statement.  The purpose of this
> statement was to help our profession move forward during this time of great
> upheaval and change. 


As Karen indicates, it might be useful to remember the origin of the
core values task force and its charge.  Last spring, in its
deliberations, the Congress on Professional Education realized that
there was no explicit consensus in the profession on our core values.
The Congress further realized that, in the absence of such an explicit
consensus on core values, it is impossible to resolve some of the most
important issues it was charged to address.  Unless we can agree on who
we are and what we believe in, how can we possibly agree on what
educators must teach?  The Congress therefore recommended that ALA
develop a succinct statement of the core values of the profession.

The audience for the core values statement, it seems to me, is primarily
other information professionals, not the general population.  It is not
intended to replace ALA policies on any issue.  It is rather intended to
enunciate clearly and succinctly the values that we librarians hold in
common, so that other information professionals can determine if they
share our values.

Please note that this is an expression of my personal opinion.  I do not
claim to speak for the Congress, its Steering Committee, or the Core
Values Task Force.

Bob Martin
Councilor at Large
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Date: Mon, 17 Apr 2000 11:42:44 -0600 (MDT)
From: Janet Swan Hill <Hilljs[at]Colorado.EDU>
To: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]>
Subject: [ALACOUN:4594] Core Values

Dear Colleagues,

I tried to send this message last Friday morning, but my computer had just
been (you should forgive the expression) "repaired", as a consequence of
which my messages *looked* as if they had been mailed, but never actually
went anywhere.  (Isn't technology wonderful).   I am now forwarding it
through different software.   So I'll send it and pray.   The message was
composed and sent prior to my receiving the copy of John Berry's
editorial.   Rather than re-think it in light of that item, I am just
going to send it "as is."

 janet swan hill
 councilor at large

I'd like to contribute something a little different to this discussion about
the Core Values document.   That is, I'm going to describe some of the
events that I remember that led up to the formation of a task force charged
to develop a statement of Core Values, as well as my personal take on the
process followed by the Task Force in arriving at its first draft (the one
that preceded the draft that we are all now discussing)   This is a personal
recollection.   Others might remember things differently.    Still others
were not in a position to recall these things, due to not having been on
Council for some of these discussions, or at the Congress on Professional
Education, or in the Task Force meetings.

I hope that some of this will help put things into a context that will
make be useful as we think about the issues.

When the State of Hawaii entered into an outsourcing contract with Baker &
Taylor, whereby all selection and cataloging for the state's public
libraries were to be done by B&T, there was an uproar.   The issue was
brought up in Council, and there was extended discussion.    Some of those
speaking to the issue decried the contract because it had moved "core
functions" outside the libraries, and others said that this violated the
profession's "core values".   If my memory serves me correctly, one or the
other of these phrases was incorporated into one or another of the
resolutions brought to the floor.   I remember that when I heard these
phrases mentioned for the first time, I dived for my ALA Handbook and began
riffling through the Constitution, Bylaws and Policy Manual to see if indeed
the contract DID violate "core values" or outsource "core functions".    I
also remember that many other councilors headed for their handbooks at the
same moment (it was one of those priceless Council moments Ö. s many of us
thumbing through the Policy Manual at the same time).    What I found, Ö.
what we all found. and what was  then mentioned in the course of the
debate, was that we didn't HAVE a statement of either Core Values or Core
Functions.    Several councilors noted that it was a little difficult to
censure someone for violating something that existed only in our minds.

Both during those debates, and in the discussion that followed on the
electronic list, a number of councilors observed that it oughtn't be that
difficult or that time consuming to come up with a list of core values and
core functions, and that we ought to do it.    I remember contributing a
message on the list in which I said that I could come up with a list of core
functions that satisfied ME very easily, and I did.   I believe that I
listed:  selection and/or identification of materials/resources that meet
the needs of the library's clientele; and actual or policy oversight
over operations for making those materials/resources accessible through
acquisition, organization, physical processing/preservation, instruction,
and user assistance.    I think that I also said, in a separate message,
that I had my own list of core values, and that it contained only one
item:   open and equitable access to information.   But those were my
personal lists.

The issue died down, but was revived soon in connection with Council
discussions about the real meaning and implications of the removal of the
word "library" from the names of accredited LIS programs.   In these
discussions, too, we talked about the degree to which LIS programs might or
might not be teaching "core functions" and providing educations that adhered
to our "core values".    Again we noted that we as an organization hadn't
articulated either of these things, so it was difficult to demand that the
LIS programs hew to them.    As a result of our debates about library
education, however, a Presidential Steering Committee was formed, and a
Congress on Professional Education was held.

I was commissioned to provide one of the background papers for the Congress,
and because of that was one of the participants.   Two of the workshop
sessions were particularly focused on the matters of core values and core
functions.   The rationale was that LIS programs needed to know what the
profession regarded as "core" so that they could be guided by that knowledge
in establishing their curricula.   We were divided into many small groups of
about 20 people each, and asked to identify what we regarded as core values
for the profession.    Our deliberations were "jump started" with a list of
values and values-like words that appeared in ALA's various existing policy
statements.   We added to those lists, and then set about organizing them
and prioritizing them.    All the lists from all the groups were then
pooled, and the group as a whole did some additional "weighting" and
prioritizing.    A similar process was followed for core functions, except
that there were no existing policy statements to serve as a starting point.

Following up on the Congress, the ALA President appointed task forces to
continue work on what had been begun at the Congress.   The Core Values Task
Force was one of those. We started our work with the lists that were
developed at the Congress.    We also sought out and looked at values
statements developed by other professions.   We considered the genesis of
our own task force (including the debates that had occurred in which the
absence of a values statement was felt to be a problem).   We discussed
"what is a value."   We discussed what the purposes of a values statement
were, and how those we saw from other professions did or did not answer
those purposes.    From these sources grew our vision of the statement as
something that was short ("short enough to fit on a poker chip"), that was
phrased generally enough to be inclusive of all the values identified as
important, that did not exclude segments of the profession, and that would
not become rapidly outdated.  Further, we saw it as something that did not
replace anything currently in the Handbook, nor supplant any of the extant
policy statements which addressed one or more of our values in detail.

About the poker chip -- one of our task force members brought the values
statement from her own institution.   The values (about five of them) were
expressed in single words.    The institution had printed the values on a
poker chip, and each employee was given a chip.   They were also engraved
on paperweights.  The values were "explicated" in a small brochure.  The
task force was struck by the forcefulness and effectiveness of this kind
of presentation, and although we did not aim to create a "poker chip" of
our own, each time we found ourselves becoming wordy, we would remind
ourselves that we were to working toward a concise statement of values,
not a policy manual.

About becoming rapidly outdated --  We consciously tried not to use terms
that were considered to be "insiders' jargon" or "code words," and instead
to use common language and terminology that encompassed the meaning and
intent of the jargon and code words.   An example of jargon is the term
"intellectual freedom", which is librarians' shorthand for a complex concept
that might not be well understood by those outside the profession who might
be wondering "what are they about?"  The concept is clearly "core" to our
profession, but the particular words are not sacred.

Once we had tentatively agreed on the sort of document we were aiming
toward, we began to work on the lists that were generated by the Congress,
and added values of our own until we "ran dry".    Then began the process of
reducing the lists - which by this time took up three walls of our very
large conference room - to a manageable size, first by identifying "common
themes" and overlaps, and then by developing general "headers" that subsumed
all of the values that we had grouped together.    No term was accepted
unless all who were there could agree that it encompassed, or served as an
"umbrella" to all of the values listed under it.

None of us imagined that we would unveil a document and have it immediately
acclaimed and accepted by all.  We knew that it would be the subject of
intensive debate and discussion.   (We didn't anticipate that it would be
the subject of intensive debate by the readers of Dr. Laura's webpage, but
indeed it was.   We were certainly surprised to discover how many of the
readers of that page read into it a determination to push pornography on
children).  None of us would have produced this exact document on our own.
I, for instance, would have stopped after the first value. We had
philosophical disagreements among ourselves along the way.    (For
example, the philosophical difference between wanting to name "diversity" -
which we agreed to be jargon - as a separate item,  or wanting to have if
suffuse every value so that it could never be "lopped off").   In the end,
however, we produced a draft that we could all support.

And now it's up to Council.

janet swan hill
councilor at large
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Date: Mon, 17 Apr 2000 17:00:38 -0400
To: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]>
From: Mark Rosenzweig <iskra[at]>
Subject: [ALACOUN:4597] Jargon

I find it highly disturbing to hear "intellectual freedom" written off as a
"jargon" term i.e. as if it is some specialized vocabulary only understood
within the library profession. That's what "jargon" would, properly, mean.
I believe it is widely understood in the United States outside of
professional circles

When Janet Swan Hill says "An example of jargon is the term "intellectual
freedom", which is librarians' shorthand for a complex concept that might
not be well understood by those outside the profession who might be
wondering "what are they about?" " I wonder if she is simply not aware of
the present, wide currency and long history of the term, or is simply tired
of being tied to what it quite precisely represents. "Diversity" is also
suggested to be jargon,  which grudgingly must be paid lip service,
although it is a term which has informed public debates for the last 20
years and has also been reemphasized by ALA repeatedly in the last period
in various initiatives and programs at every level

The Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read Statement  stand as
quite clear,  precise and widely accessible presentations of our
commitments in this area.

I see nothing in the Core Values document which "translates" antique jargon
, as Karen Schneider would  have  it, into a more "contemporary" idiom,
strictly to communicate its essence better to "future generations" or even
to the general public.  Rather I see a substitution of much vaguer
terminology which fuzzily communicates to the present and next generation
only an uneasiness  with definitions of our policies and commitments as
they have developed historically and  a  distancing of ourselves from the
duty to maintain basic policies (e.g. free access) and commitments (e.g.
intellectual freedom) in the face of  political pressures and other

Mark Rosenzweig
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From: "GraceAnne A. DeCandido" <ladyhawk[at]>
To: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]>
Date: Tue, 18 Apr 2000 10:57:06 -0400
Subject: [ALACOUN:4600] Response to Core Values editorial by John Berry in LJ
CC: Jberry[at]

The temptation to simply let John Berry’s editorial,
“Dumbed-Down Core Values” of May 1, 2000 in LJ and on
the web at
dex.asp, slip by without comment was great. One never
wants to dignify this kind of thing by taking it too seriously.
As a Councilor and as a member of the Core Values Task
Force, however, I couldn’t let the assumptions perpetrated in
this screed go by.

The tone of this editorial is patronizing to an astonishing
degree. What are we to make of the comment that his opinion
is “affectionate, if critical”? His affection or lack of same is
of no moment to us. He is not, thank the goddess, our uncle.

Berry calls the Core Values draft “general” “vague” “the
stuff of publicity agents and spin doctors.” We on the Task
Force chose our words with care, words that would have
balance and meaning to anyone who read them, in or out of
the profession. I submit, for example, that “intellectual
freedom” is a phrase that only librarians understand. Library
patrons, garden-variety folk, know that “the connection of
people to ideas” means not just good ideas, but bad ideas
and silly ideas and dangerous ideas, because if we don’t
save them and keep them available, who will? That’s
intellectual freedom at its most grass-roots.

It is an old, old trick to disarm by ridicule. Berry’s
characterization of the Core Values draft as “bland”, his
dismissal of our work with a pat on the head and a
certificate, is unconscionable, not to mention unprofessional.
Berry’s view is also clearly circumscribed by a self-evident
prejudice toward public libraries. His emphasis on publicly
funded institutions ignores the real issues of access,
diversity, and equity that librarians in universities, schools,
and other places face. The Task Force, comprising
librarians from nearly every kind of library, strove to
provide words that were true for all types of librarians. We
wanted inclusiveness, not combativeness.

He posits that we have no Jefferson or Ranganathan among
us. We hope that we have the sense to recognize – to name
just two of our distinguished group -- in Michael Gorman’s
thoughtful phrasing or Janet Swan Hill’s incisive
intelligence the level of care that went into our document.
Michael is of course, one of the great library writers of our
time, and author of a book on core values; Janet’s clear
thinking is amply displayed in the document describing the
Task Force’s history, recently posted. It is hard not to
wonder if the real problem Berry perceives is not our lack
of Jefferson or Ranganathan but our lack of Berry.

In the months that the Task Force has been working, we have
received hundreds of emails, met with hundreds of other
librarians, sought input at national conferences, in our own
states, and in local professional organizations. We cherish
the support we have received from these diverse groups and
we hope that support will translate into a positive response
from Council. We will not be dismissed, we will not be
patronized, we are listening, and we will be heard.

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

Writing is exciting, and baseball is like writing.
You can never tell with either how it will go.
Marianne Moore
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Date: Tue, 18 Apr 2000 08:36:40 -0700
From: Sue Kamm <suekamm[at]>
To: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]>
Subject: [ALACOUN:4601] Re: Response to Core Values editorial by John Berry in LJ

Amen, GraceAnne!

I was on the Intellectual Freedom Committee during the revision of the Library
Bill of Rights.  As did the members of the Core Values Task Force, IFC
struggled mightily to provide inclusive language that would be understandable
to the public and the professionals who would use it.  Rather than provide a
"laundry list" we chose to develop umbrellas that would cover all people, all
media, and all types of libraries.  IMNSHO, the Core Values Task Force has done
a masterful job.  I hope Council can adopt the statement so we can move on to
discussing the much-needed changes in the standards for accreditation.

Your friendly CyberGoddess and ALA Councilor,
Sue Kamm
email:  suekamm[at]
"It's a mere moment in a man's life between the All-Star Game and the Old
Timers' Game."
--Vin Scully
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Date: Tue, 18 Apr 2000 12:13:56 -0500 (EST)
From: ANN SNOEYENBOS <snoeyena[at]>
Subject: [ALACOUN:4605] Core Values
To: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]>
Cc: jberry[at]
Organization: NYU Libraries

Thank you Sue Kamm for reminding us why we are here--to discuss the
standards for accreditation. 

I am certainly not going to vote for the current Core Values
Statement just to allow that dicussion to take place. I agree with
many who've said that the statement is limp. It is little more than a
pitch for democratic society.  Should we really be trying to rebuild
library and information science education on the back of a document
that has no spine?

Instead of discussing the language of this Core Values Statement,
I think it would be more productive to put the whole thing aside as
an impossible exercise.  Our goal is to figure out what we think
is important in the education of future professionals, so let's focus
on that and not on enumerating how human potential is maximized
through the world's libraries.

Yes, the Congress on Professional Education thought it would be
easier to talk about a core curriculum if there were a set of
core values, but if that can't be done easily how much more time,
money(!!), and effort is that endeavour worth to us as an
association?  Let's get back to the fundamental issue--WHAT SHOULD

Ann Snoeyenbos
NMRT Councilor
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And from the ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom listserv, to which Mark R.
had been forwarding some of this correspondence:

Date: Tue, 18 Apr 2000 11:20:17 -0400 (EDT)
From: Melora Ranney <macbeth[at]>
To: ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom List <alaoif[at]>
Subject: [ALAOIF:11116] Core Values Statement--a look

OK, I just thought that this was another sort of interpretive thing,
another nice statement about what we do, sort of like that American
Value piece.

However, if as Mark states this is to become our professional
*mantra* so to speak, then let's apply some analysis to the thing:

-Connection of people to ideas <Do we have a right, or even a moral
imperative, to censor those ideas?  Does anything in this statement
address that question? Could we read here that we should connect people
to only ideas that we approve of?  WHICH ideas?>

-Assurance of equitable access to recorded knowledge, information and
creative works <As long as everybody gets treated the same,
does it matter WHICH knowledge, etc., we connect them to--or is it only
important that we are fair about it, and apply our policies evenly?>

-Commitment to literacy and learning <Schools theoretically have a
commitment to literacy and learning, yet they frequently make censorship
a matter of official policy.  One must therefore conclude that promoting
literacy and learning do not entail opposition to censorship.>

-Respect for the individuality and diversity of all people <If we respect
them, does that mean that we do not censor them? Is that or is that not
inherent in this phrase? If it is inherent, is it clear?>

-Freedom for all people to form, to hold, and to express their own
beliefs <Does that have anything to do with access? is it obvious that
intellectual freedom includes access, or is it just expression? Are
libraries about expression, or access? Is it ok if we censor as long as
we allow people to complain about it?>

-Preservation of the human record
-Excellence in professional service to our communities <What is
professional?  Have we defined it here?  Do library professionals oppose
-Formation of partnerships to advance these values

Here are some definitions from my American Heritage Dictionary:

idea: A product of mental activity; thought.
equitable: Just and fair; impartial.
intellect: The ability of the mind to think, reason, and learn.
freedom: The condition of being free.
free: 1. At liberty; not bound or constrained. 2. Not under obligation or
necessity. 3. a. Politically independent. b. Governed by consent and
possessing civil liberties.

The only place in which I see the important word *freedom* here is where
it states that people may *form, hold, and express their own beliefs.* It
doesn't talk about what people may read, view, or otherwise gain access
to--it just says that they may express their beliefs.  What about people
who argue that in order for us to support their right to hold their
beliefs, we must censor stuff in our libraries?  If we keep something in
our collections even if someone feels its presence threatens his/her
belief system, are we giving that person the freedom to hold that belief
system, or are we infringing on that right?  I've heard that argument many
times, and it's not going to go away.

The only place in which I see access referred to is in the connecting of
people to ideas, and there is no reference made to WHICH ideas; hence, an
argument could be made that librarians are in fact idea referees, and that
we should indeed consider it a part of our job descriptions to CHOOSE FOR
OUR PATRONS exactly which ideas might or might not be good for them. 

There is nothing in this statement which EXPLICITLY expresses that
librarians have an ethical obligation to protect their patrons' freedom of
access, nor that we should oppose censorship. 

You can read intellectual freedom into it; however, you can also read
intellectual freedom out of it. I am not at all convinced that we can
afford to abandon either the phrase intellectual freedom, nor the
commitment to support intellectual freedom.  Nor am I sure that we can
afford NOT to mention a professional obligation to oppose censorship.

If I were to take this statement and ask my Board of Trustees to
incorporate it into our policies somewhere, there is nothing I could point
to as backup if a patron challenged some material in our library.

Social niceties make for delightful dinner conversation and probably
improve list subscriptions; after all, _Martha Stewart_ has a much bigger
readership than _The Nation_, and she probably has a much better recipe
for barbecue. So, I will grant you that this is a tastier statement than
something like *Librarians champion intellectual freedom and oppose
censorship.* I mean, lots of us are sick of hearing that. However, can we
afford NOT to say it?  Are we now going to have an Office for Equitable
Access at ALA?  Are we going to be in favor of intellectual freedom but
just not talk about it because it isn't *nice*?

You might think that I am being extreme and making unreasonable arguments.
However, those arguments don't sound so absurd when angry Jane Doe has
been on the phone with library trustee Mrs. Smith or school board member
Joe Schmoe, and folks are behind closed doors dealing with difficult
censorship issues.  At that point, vagueness can be quite damaging.

I therefore conclude that Mark has a good point.  If he or anybody else
wants to forward this someplace they may feel free to do so.

Melora Ranney

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From: "GraceAnne A. DeCandido" <ladyhawk[at]>
To: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]>
Date: Wed, 19 Apr 2000 14:13:20 -0400
Subject: [ALACOUN:4611] Words

Michael Gorman has given me permission to post this to the Council list.
GraceAnne DeCandido

Michael Gorman <michaelg[at]>
> Most comments on the proposed values statement seem to center on
> semantics.  In particular, whether the phrase "intellectual freedom" is
> or is not a term of art unfamiliar to those outside our field; whether
> the statement's non-use of the phrase has a weakening effect; and
> whether "equitable" is strong enough word.
> Webster's3 defines "intellectual" (as an adjective) as: Of, belonging
> to, or relating to the intellect. "Freedom" hardly needs definition.
> Therefore, anyone unfamiliar with the phrase or our meaning could read
> the phrase as meaning "freedom to think"--something available in a
> totalitarian state.  Contrast that with the statement's:  Freedom for
> all people to form, to hold, and to express their own beliefs.  I would
> submit that the latter is unambiguous, clear, and expressed in terms
> known to all.   I have used the term "intellectual freedom" in my book
> on values, but I expect it to be read, if at all, by librarians and not
> by anyone unfamiliar with our particular uses of "intellectual freedom."
> The relevant Webster's3 definition of "equity" is: A free and reasonable
> conformity to accepted standards of natural right, law, and justice
> without prejudice, favoritism, or fraud and without rigor entailing
> undue hardship.  The relevant definition of "equitable" is:
> Characterized by equity, fair to all concerned, without prejudice,
> favor, or rigor entailing undue hardship.  The staement's: "Assurance of
> equitable access to recorded knowledge, information and creative works,"
> even if read more closely than by  most, assures fairness, justice, and
> rights to access without rigor.  Can anyone quarrel with that?
> Forgive this Casuabon-like missive but I would like to inform the
> discussion with some objective observations.
> Michael
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Date: Wed, 19 Apr 2000 16:50:04 -0400
To: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]>
From: Mark Rosenzweig <iskra[at]>
Subject: [ALACOUN:4613] Re: Words

The distinguished librarian Michael Gorman urges us to consider a number of
our major problems with the Core Values document to be merely "semantic"
ones, based on our apparent lack of access to a dictionary..

Therefore he urges us to come to our senses by whipping out the old Webster's
and looking up the individual words which make up the compound terms
"intellectual freedom" and "equitable access". Then we'll know what people
must think the compound terms mean, by the mechanical adding up of the two
units. And there, conveniently, will lie the key to eliminating what is at
issue. Well, not quite. Let me just take "intellectual freedom".

In its actual usage, in its historical context both within our profession
and well beyond it, in its accumulated connotations which, in the estimate
of any person (even a non-librarian!), would go beyond the sum of the
denotations of the two isolated words that together comprise it, the term
"intellectual freedom" is a rich repository of meaning which evokes not
just dry dictionary definitions, but real struggles which have been fought
and which continue to have to be fought.

The term "intellectual freedom" in any case, connotes, even in its most
common-sense reading, much more than Mr Gorman's preferred formulation
"the freedom to form, hold and to express" ones own beliefs. It expresses,
as we have always used it - and as we hope to have the public understand us
to use it (or so I thought) - the right to access to the whole range of stuff
out of which these "beliefs", these ideas, can be formed. It is tied,
therefore, to our active "opposition to censorship", another expression which,
for some reason, finds no place in the Core Values.

What has been the problem with "intellectual freedom " and "opposition to
censorship" which makes us suddenly believe they are incomprehensible to the

Has our entire history of the use of these terms been shrouded in an obscurity
which we only now realize in the wake of the Core Values Task Force's
considerations? Or do we risk incomprehension on the part of future
generations by maintaing the continuity of usage of these historic concepts?

I don't think so, so I remain puzzled by the degree to which the Task Force
is wedded to their substitute formulations.

Mark Rosenzweig

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From: Highsmith Press <hpress[at]>
To: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]>
Subject: [ALACOUN:4636] 5th Draft of the Core Values Statement
Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2000 15:22:48 -0500

Dear Colleagues:
The Task Force has continued to review comments and suggestions on the
4th draft of the Core Values statement from ALA units, affiliates,
chapters, and members of the ALA Council. As a result of these
recommendations, we have made two changes which have been included in
the following 5th draft. The first change pertains to the core value on
access. We changed "Assurance of equitable access to recorded knowledge,
information, and creative works" to "Assurance of free and open access
to recorded knowledge, information, and creative works." The second
change was made in the interpretation of the value on diversity. The
previous wording was "We honor each request for assistance promptly and
with courtesy, meeting it equitably with the fullness of tools at our
command while protecting each person's common right to privacy and
confidentiality." The new statement, including the value, reads "Respect
for the individuality and the diversity of all people. We honor each
request without bias, and we meet it with the fullness of tools at our
command. We respect the individual's need for privacy, confidentiality,
and the right of access to library and information services and
resources regardless of race, creed, national origin, age, ability,
gender, or sexual orientation.

Librarianship and Information Service: A Statement on Core Values
5th Draft (28 April 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 free and open 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 priorities:

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 free and open 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 without bias, and we meet it with the fullness of tools at
our command. We respect the individual's need for privacy, confidentiality,
and the right of access to library and information services and resources
regardless of race, creed, national origin, age, ability, gender, or sexual

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.

For future reference, the 5th draft has also been posted on the Core Values
Task Force website. The URL is

Don Sager, Chair, ALA Core Values Task Force
Donald J. Sager, Publisher, Highsmith Press, P.O. Box 800, Ft.
Atkinson, WI 53538-0800. Tel. 920/563-9571. Fax: 920/563-4801.
E-mail: <dsager[at]>. Web:
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The first Library Juice supplement on the Core Values issue is at

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