Library Juice 4:33 - September 19, 2001
- Editor's comments
- Resources relating to Sept. 11
- Possible use of library computers by hijackers
- Mark Rosenzweig's message to Council on Sept. 12th
- Councilor Al Kagan's letter to his local paper, Sept. 15
- Message from Councilor Don Sager to the ALA Council list on the 17th
- Some interesting history
Quotes for the week:
"An eye for an eye only makes the whole world blind."
"War is a judgment that overtakes societies when they have been living upon
ideas that conflict too violently with the laws governing the universe....
Never think that wars are irrational catastrophies: they happen when wrong
ways of thinking and living bring about intolerable situations."
-Dorothy Sayers, in _Creed or Chaos_, (London: Methuen and Co., 1947)
"If I hear 'God Bless America' one more time I think I'm going to puke."
Homepage of the week: None this week.
1. Editor's comments
A few days ago I was planning to lead with a piece titled, "Wake up and
smell the Fascism." This reflected the way I was feeling. The nation
seemed to have descended irrecoverably into a mood of militarism,
nationalism, xenophobia and enforced religion. The sense that our
relatively open society was now closing in on us was palpable, as the first
news of legislation that will compromise our civil liberties came only a
day or two after the attack. A whole people overtaken by negative emotion
can create a fascist society, and that is what I feared was beginning
to happen. To see presumably liberal friends distributing email encouraging
me to wear red, white and blue to show my AMERICAN PRIDE was further
discouraging. Venturing outside my apartment became slightly scary.
Whenever I heard a pundit mention that "America will never be the same," I
felt more fear. I planned to write a couple of paragraphs aimed at waking
people up who had unwittingly become a part of "America United" into a
reactionary front, not realizing the ultimate consequences for our civil
liberties and domestic politics as a whole.
My primary motivation, I realized a little later, was to reach out to
like-minded people, so that in connecting with them I could feel our
collective strength and, in that, find hope. By talking with friends on
the phone and by email, and by seeing numerous thoughtful articles on the
web that encourage patience, understanding, and even peace, I found that
sense of collective strength, to a degree, and found hope. Today I am
still worried about what our society will be now that it will "never be the
same," (because I am sure it will never be the same), but I believe there
is a sufficient degree of intelligence and sanity to guide us AT LEAST
safely away from truly fascist developments.
But sanity and intelligence will only prevail to the extent that sane and
intelligent people are vocal and vigilant. I hope that the American Library
Association will take a stong stand on general concerns about civil
liberties at the appropriate time. And I hope that intelligent individuals
will not be afraid to talk to their flag-waving neighbors. I remain
profoundly worried, but I have hope. I also have a new appreciation for the
importance of our constitutional right to free expression, because I have
never been so aware of how much my well-being depends on the right to read
and communicate freely (and, sometimes, with privacy).
2. Resources relating to Sept. 11
In collecting Sept. 11 resources I quickly realized that half the web is
now made up of Sept. 11 resources; this list is a diverse collection of
some of the better ones. -RL
"Follow Me" weblog:
Nuts and bolts info from the Federal Government:
Articles in The Nation:
Project to archive Sept. 11 web content:
Foreign Policy In Focus:
Bill Drew's collection:
Mirrored at: http://billdrew.net/timely.html
Gary Price's work at:
http://gwu.edu/~gprice/speech.htm (speeches and statements)
http://gwu.edu/~gprice/audio.htm (streaming audio)
Michael Sauer's resources:
FAIR on terrorism, now and in recent history:
A petition to avoid war:
Background reading on Alternet:
Collection of progressive analysis:
Free resources from Lexis Nexis:
Evergreen State College Library (Washington) "Hot Topics":
Encouraging statements from Washington collected by EPIC:
Links from Holt Labor Library:
Poynter's Links (aimed at journalists):
Lots of news relating to the crackdown on civil liberties in Washington
from Declan McCullagh's Politech:
Reference sources on Islam:
ACLU Press Releases:
3. Possible use of library computers by hijackers
highjackers using our libraries
Date: Tue, 18 Sep 2001 13:41:46 -0700 (PDT)
From: EJ Dawson <ejdawson[at]yahoo.com>
To: PLGNet-L List <PLGNet-L[at]listproc.sjsu.edu>
Reply to: ejdawson[at]yahoo.com
A friend of mine sent me a link to a recent Washington Post article that
reveals that last Tuesday's highjackers may have used computers in libraries
for email and other purposes:
"Hijackers May Have Accessed Computers at Public Libraries :
Authorities Investigating Possible Internet Communications"
By Sue Anne Pressley and Justin Blum.
Washington Post; Monday, September 17, 2001; Page A04
I laughed out loud when I read the headline of the story, and thought my friend
must have sent it to cheer me up a little - of course the people responsible
for highjacking planes could have used public library computers - they're free
and open to the public. Slow news day?
But then I read the article. Here is a line from the second paragraph: "At
least one South Florida librarian has told authorities she recognized the name
of a suspected terrorist on one of her computer sign-in sheets after the FBI
released the list of hijackers' names Friday."
My guess is that anyone reading this email isn't going to call the cops and
volunteer information about their library patrons. But we all have a
responsibility to remind our co-workers of their obligation to protect library
users' privacy and intellectual freedoms, especially given the racist paranoia
that has recently preoccupied some of our countrymen and women.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
[ALACOUN:6415] FBI Warrants
Date: Tue, 18 Sep 2001 19:07:23 -0400
From: Toni Negro <tnegro[at]erols.com>
To: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]ala1.ala.org>
Reply to: tnegro[at]erols.com
CBS News has just reported that the FBI has issued warrants for
computers in public libraries in Del Ray Beach, Florida and Fairfax,
Virginia they believe were used by the terrorists to keep in touch via
The report also indicated other libraries would be included in their
search for information.
AASL Council Representative
4. Mark Rosenzweig's message to Council on Sept. 12th
(In my view, this email is a logical reaction to the sudden proliferation
of American flags and insane war-talk. -RL)
Re: Librarians and the future of freedom in the wake of war-hysteria
Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2001 14:44:23 -0500
From: Mark Rosenzweig <iskra[at]earthlink.net>
To: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]ala1.ala.org>
Reply to: iskra[at]earthlink.net
Letter to Librarian Friends
Sept 11, 2001 1PM (re-written 9/12, slightly edited)
I don't know anybody personally who was killed or maimed or damaged or who
had friends or relatives who were (as least I don't know of them yet) in
this mornning's incidents.
And yet, how can one feel anything but grief for the unknown victims? A
grief which is hardly articulable? A grief which the President, the
Congress, the mass media, have not risen to express adequately, though they
speak of nothing else but vengeance for this grief?
Somehow, however, I am overwhelmed by how ELEMENTALLY morally worrisome,
how fundamentally morally troublng it is, that the real, searing
sentiments of ineffable sadness for the horrifying death and injury and
trauma inflicted wholesale today, in NYC and Washington DC (and on two jet
planes still only possibly involved), that these sentiments, these pangs
of pain, ebbing and flowing, momentarily waning, leave behind, for me,
what I can only describe as an unshakeable and growing sense of anger at
our own US government that this tragedy is the inevitable consequence of
the US playing the "invulnerable" world hegemon, in the way it has done
so. That it is the certain, predictable sequelae of the way we have lived
our cultivated and prized imperial arrogance which 'forgets' something
which is so elementary and yet so foreign to us: so strangely foreign, the
implications that we share ONE world, the victors with the vanquished.
The WTC is a terrible disaster, but it is also a gruesome reminder of the
roots of disaster.
Have I not felt this nameless grief for other people I do not know before?
And recently? And unfortunately, not infrequently?
Is it not very much as I felt the unspeakable grief for the unknown victims
of the US 'smart missile' bombing of shelters in Iraq, or the incinerated
victims of that wars' terminal "turkey shoot" on the media-named 'highway
of death', or the victims of collective punishment in Palestine who pay
10-1 by being blown up for the acts of a kid they didn't necessarily know
futilely acting out the seemingly unquenchable thirst for vengeance of
violent resistance as a last resort of a people ruthlessly, recklesslly
humiliated over-and-over again?
Grief for the victims of NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia? Or -- letting my
mind wander back a way... my condolescences for the million people we
caused to be killed in Indonesia (as is now finally reported for what it
was in a US government document which the CIA tried to have supressed only
For the uncounted victims of the air-wars against Vietnam,Laos, Cambodia,
setting the scene for the Westerners' favorite genocide, the total human
disaster in the latter country which would never have happened if it were
not for the ruthless total US war against the Cambodian people? Oh no, WE
have no culpability for THAT!
Today is not the only day of grief or of fear or of insecurity or of
feelings of helplessness or hopelessness.
Nor have we, as a nation, yet shown any sign of expecting to reap the
whirlwind of the dragons' teeth we have sown, of acknowledging our own
responsibility even for this, our own tragedy of 9/11/01.
For are not the immediate origin of the forces which have had the temerity
today to violently puncture our dreams of invincibility, the forces we
ourselves assembled and trained in Pakistan & Afghanistan, 'proxies' (as we
liked to call them) to fight the "Cold War" against the Soviet Union, which
ultimately we saw crumble. But those seeds we planted, these former assets,
are now the kudzu of a violence guided by a pre-modern ethic armed with
post-modern weapons, a violence whose driving motives make it something
which threatens to overrun the planet, and which, with no hesitancy or
doubt, probably ional mewlingsdares to shatter our glorious bubble of
Once shattered, it will never be put back together again.
G. W Bush's warmed over "Star Wars" in this context is nothing but a
grotesque joke, evn more absurd today than it was yesterday.
FInally, in cosmic irony, a "super-power" narcotized by its own
self-righteousness stands dumbly by while a few violence-besotted,
stepped-on, derided volunteers have flown giant jet-liners direcly into the
massive twin symbols of global financial power and destroyed them with the
ease of a half-wit's prank which came off in spite of itself.
'And it will never be the same..." as they like to say on TV, these last few
We have no experience of war on our own soil since the Civil War, not WWI
or WWII or
Korea or Vietnam & Southeast Asia, or Iraq, Indonesia, or Greece, or Chile
or Argentina or all the wars in Africa we have been covertly involved in
(while we decry the brutality, the starvation, the harshness)...well, there's
no need to continue.
We have, travelling along this avenue of our peculiar fate, involved
ourselves as a nation in these matters without having other countries'
soldiers tramp over our farms, occupy our cities, carry off our youth to
great stadiums where they would be tortured and killed. We have have not
had cities bombed to dust, no Dresden firebombed, no London blitzed, no
foreign power occupying our towns, checking our passports.
This dramatic demonstration of the vulnerability of the great Colossus will
raise many questions anew.
Not least of them will have to do with the strength or fragility of the
"rights" we pride ourselves on in the so-called West, in America.
As activists in the field of human rights and intelectual freedom, most of
us to whom I'm writing as 'librarians," have now to confront the great
challenge of defending these precious gains of humanity against their
sacrifice before the expedience of "fighting terrorism by any means,"
before the horrifying rhetoric of vengeance, real or simply self-satisfying.
Already the security-obsessed demagogues, blood-curdling patriots ready to
swing "our terrible swift sword" with abandon, and
political/social/cultural finger-pointers who accuse with recklesness the
evil which is ranged against us all around the world in all forms all
equally guilty , the vigilante gasbags and the police-state-minded
inquisitors in Congress and the mass media are yelling for
blood, "tightened national security", limitless weapons spending, and
"doing what it takes (whatever the cost)" meaning that we will soon (like,
beginning tomorrow) see attempts at targeting all dissenters and
dissidents, all misfits and oddballs, all the turbaned and Koran-wielding
laborers and professors, all the uppity colored people...Meanwhile, even as
the patriots speak their blood-curdling set-pieces and people of genuine
good-will stand-in line to give blood, profiteers here, taking advantage of
local panic, deepened and genralized, are hoarding, creating shortages,
raising prices in what is another aspect of Americanism, perfect among
I hear in the Congress ("there is no such thing as a measured response to
these attacks," says one young woman Congressman for the TV cameras and the
Congressinal Record) and I hear in the local bars the sub-text of
justifications of the patriotic necessity, nay l, calls for the necessity
of Illegal sureveillance, invasions of privacy, confiscations, suspension
of constitutional rights against imporper search & seizures, profiling,
harassment, prohibitions of congregatons of people in lawful protests,
summary arrests without charges, deoportations, refusals of visas.. the
list goes on and on.
I see, in the as yet imperfectly censored news, the incidents of beatings,
of physical attacks on would be enemies, in whom good Americans think they
see"the face of evil" they are told is mocking them from not just fromtheir
mountain fastnesses from within our own cities, people, the desecration of
mosques. Soon the lynchings will be either covered up or dressed up as
understandable excesses of patriotism if not laudable rituals of
collective expressionof our grief...
We must be prepared to fight ALL OF THIS, to give this no quarter.
We must be steeled to protect UNDER DIFFICULT CONDITIONS free speech, free
thought, opposition to censorship, opposition to invasion of the privacy of
the transactions of our patrons including internet use, the right to
assemble, the right to know, access to government information, the
confidentiality of patrons records, the rights of national, ethnic,
religious minorities to fair & equal treatment, the proviusioj of
alternative points of view on issues relevant to this 'war-hysteria'
('declarations of war' made against whom?).
We are faced with an unthinking, almost seamless consensus of sentiment
which will be prepared to justify ANY means to possibly achieve (or give
the appearance of trying to achieve) the ends of vengeance and total
eradication of our enemy.
We must be prepared to defend those among us, in our own profession (like
myself, I daresay, for example, odious as that might appear to some of you)
who risk saying that US insecurity is perhaps the inevitable result of US
globaI Impudence, of the imposture of absolute moral righteousness, the
insult of the constant reminder of international superiority, the flaunting
of the sense of our own invulnerability.
It is a sorry observation that, as if to prove that untinkingly assumed
invulnerability, it never occured to us that we would not perhaps get away
with complete impunity for little things like bombing a huge
pharamaceutical company in Khartoum which the US thought was producing
'chemical weapons', only to find thatthey had erred, and killed all these
people and destroyed their much-needed industry, mistakenly. Sorry! We DID,
though, admit the error somewehere near the back of the newspaper some time
later...That's the glory of democracy, what separates us from the heathens.
Our petulantly parading around the world, one of two nations denouncing the
UN Conference on Racism in Durban South Africa last week... that, too,
could be done without fear of consequences since we reamined as yet
convinced of our invincibility...
Here's an angle for those of you who are inclined to use it in some
argument which will probably land you in a hospital, a jail or an unmarked
grave: If mis-representing a country which is not REALLY invulnerable (even
the very seat of government [the White House], the central military
headquarters [thePentagon] or the pharaonic center of the global finances
you dominate [the World Trade Center -- almost blown up once before!]) and
if ,in fact, your whole country can in reality be literally forced to a
halt as it was today by a few well-placed incidents like this morning's,
then your government and the culture it has created is virtually criminally
culpapble (at least before the court of History) in (a )wilfilly misleading
its citizens into a false and dangerous sense of security (when all around
us 'lesser peoples' in the world live, strangely, in permanent insecurity
often perceived (and often correctly) to be OUR fault and (b) literally
tempting fate when, carrying out military adventures (like trying to
assasinate M.Quadaffi by blowing up everything around him --- remember
that?), we have such obvious gaps in our own security (even to call them
"gaps" is a joke) that not one but three, possibly four (who knows how
many more potentially) jet-planes can be handily hijacked and flown into
zones which we have been repeatedly told are so high-security, so
heavily-monitored, that a sparrow would be shot down if it flew too close!
It's true, admittedly, that if a guy lit up a crack pipe on Wall St. he
would be spotted on several web-cams, folowed by satellite and effortlessly
scooped up by SWAT law-enforcement dispatched to wisk him off to eternal
jail, but that degree of sophistication is not necessary to notice a jet
heading for a massive building!
Will the World Bank/IMF meetings be called off in Washington this month or
will such meetings be permanently secretized along with the WTO et al. and
the nation's capital just transformed into a new-wave, ultimate security
zone, making people-protests an obsolete relic of pre 9/11/01 time? We
By then, we librarians, as all the world shall know better what tasks lie
before us, if democracy is to survive vengeance, American-style.
ALA Councilor at large
ALA John W. Berry (9/12/01) said:
>I've spoken twice this morning with Bill Gordon who is overseeing
>the reopening of ALA HQ at 12 noon CST; phone and internet access in
>the building were sporadic yesterday, but appear to be getting back
>to normal today.
>Mr. Gordon also informs us that the ALA Washington Office is open.
>Thoughts of our colleagues and friends in New York City and
>Washington are very much in our minds and hearts these past hours.
>ALA President-elect Mitch Freedman, who was at HQ for orientation and
>media training since last Sunday,. is in the process of travelling
>back to New York via ground transportation.
>I am also pleased to report that we have just heard from Nancy
>Kranich in New York City and from Board member Julie Cummins who was
>visiting her parents in Ohio and is now attempting to return to New
>York via ground.
>Mr. Gordon is meeting with ALA staff to draft a press release to
>communicate more fully with our members via the website, listervs and
>by other means this afternoon.
>We will, of course, stay in touch as things progress in the next few days.
>We have received several notes of concern and condolence from our
>in Cuba, Switzerland, Sweden and the Netherlands.
>I hope that you all are well and will join me in continuing our work
>together on behalf of America's
>libraries, library workers and supporters as we struggle to more
>fully comprehend the events of the past 36 hours.
>John W. Berry
>John W. Berry
>NILRC: A Consortium of Community Colleges, Colleges and Universities
>P.O. Box 390
>Sugar Grove, IL 60554-0390
>John W. Berry
>The American Library Association
>630.264.6345 (main office #)
>708.366.0667 (direct voice to John Berry)
>708.366.0728 (direct fax to John Berry)
5. Councilor Al Kagan's letter to his local paper, Sept. 15
[SRRTAC-L:6779] Terrorism, IFLA and US policy
Date: Sun, 16 Sep 2001 20:21:33 -0500
From: Al Kagan <akagan[at]uiuc.edu>
To: SRRT Action Council <srrtac-l[at]ala.org>
Reply to: srrtac-l[at]ala.org
I have just sent this to our local weekly newspaper.
310 W. Hill St., #1E
Champaign, IL 61820
September 15, 2001
To the Editor:
Many people say it is too soon to talk of politics, that we need time
to grieve and vent our emotions. But I also need to vent my
emotions, precisely by addressing the political issues. Some say
these were cowardly acts, but these horrible crimes were committed by
people prepared to die for their cause. As intelligent people, we
must be prepared to investigate why people would commit suicide to
advance their aims. We have seen a call for unity, but unity for
what? We all hurt, but that does not mean we should stop thinking
and mindlessly rally around whatever actions President Bush might
take. And if we wait to start thinking, it will already be too late
to try to effect our Government's initial response. I am very
worried that American bombs will kill many innocent people in other
countries even before this letter gets published. I am concerned
that our civil liberties may be eroded in the name of increased
security with no practical benefits. And we are already seeing
attacks on innocent Muslim people here in the United States.
I want to relate my personal experience. In August 2000, just over a
year ago, I participated in an international library meeting in
Jerusalem. It was a quiet time, just before the latest deadline for
signing an Israel--Palestine peace treaty. I was staying in a
beautiful small Palestinian hotel in East Jerusalem just outside the
walls of the Old City. There was a marvelous international Arab
music festival going on over a period of weeks, and the hotel owners
were involved in the festival. After the nightly concerts, the
musicians would come back to the hotel for long and spirited dinners.
But everyone there knew that there was a terrible cloud hanging over
their lives. It was clear that there would be no peace agreement.
The debate was on whether or not the PLO would declare a Palestinian
state after the September deadline. The pros and cons were discussed
but never resolved. The people of East Jerusalem expected more
violence. Some talked of the possibility of a new full-scale war.
The hotel was affiliated with a small unique Palestinian tour company
that took tourists to various places in the West Bank and Gaza. I
came a few days early and went on tours to Jericho and Gaza. The
Gaza trip has left an indelible impression in my brain. The tour van
left us off at the VIP border crossing. They were not allowed to
drive through. We were instructed to get our permits, walk through,
and look for another tour van on the other side. As we went through
the formalities, we saw the normal border crossing a short distance
away where long lines of people, many with heavy loads, waited hours
to cross to go to their jobs on the other side. The Israeli military
gave us nasty looks, but stamped our papers quickly. We found the
van and on the other side and drove off. I will never forget our
tour of one of the many refugee camps there. People are packed into
very tight spaces; whole families share small rooms. The streets are
much too small for cars, in some cases just the width of a single
person. Many people still have their keys for the homes that they
had to flee in 1948. They were still thinking that they might be
able to go back someday if only there could be a peace treaty. But
only a token number of returns were ever even discussed in the
Back in West Jerusalem, the international meeting was a disaster.
The Israeli Organizing Committee had excluded all Palestinians, and
opened the meeting with Zionist political rhetoric. The Palestinians
and other Arab delegations boycotted the meeting and held an
alternative meeting in Cairo. Even at a library meeting, it was
clear that the peace process was dead. I came away fearing the worst
but I did not think about how the Middle East war might come home to
the US. I, like most Americans, am just not used to thinking in
these terms. But we should have seen it coming. The Israel and
Palestine conflict provides the context for everything else in the
Middle East. Whether the current atrocities are directly or
indirectly related is a minor point. The whole region is inflamed
when the war heats up in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.
But criticizing Israel and US policy towards the Middle East is a
taboo in the United States. I know this from hard experience. I had
great reservations about writing this letter and opening myself up to
more harsh criticism. Nevertheless, we can't hide our heads in the
sand forever. People need to speak out. It is no secret that the US
gives Israel billions of dollars every year and supplies the most
advanced weapons. Amnesty International and many others have
documented that Israel uses these US weapons to collectively punish
the Palestinian people by destroying infrastructure, bulldozing homes
and restricting travel to jobs. The Israeli Government does not hide
the fact that it engages in torture and in assassinations of leaders.
The widening cycle of violence results in more and more dead and
wounded. But the Israeli Government will have no incentive to
negotiate as long as the US backs it in the full measure of its
The current Israeli Government has dramatically increased the level
of violence as a matter of policy. But Israel and the United States
will never win the Middle East war through military means. There can
be no technical solution. The war has come to the US now. It is
time to face the music and see the failure of US foreign policy.
Terrorism is a result of despair. More military actions will only
create more despair and therefore more terrorism. But there is a way
to address terrorism. The solution is actually very simple. We need
to demand that those billions of US tax dollars go to create justice.
For a start, the US can become a member of the International Criminal
Court and use judicial means to solve terrorist crimes. A long-term
solution can only be achieved through a thorough reexamination of US
military and foreign policy.
African Studies Bibliographer and Professor of Library Administration
Africana Unit, Room 328
University of Illinois Library
1408 W. Gregory Drive
Urbana, IL 61801, USA
6. Message from Councilor Don Sager to the ALA Council list on the 17th
[ALACOUN:6400] Helping our members to cope with future challenges.
Date: Mon, 17 Sep 2001 11:43:35 -0500
From: Donald Sager <dsager[at]wwa.com>
To: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]ala1.ala.org>
Reply to: dsager[at]wwa.com
I join with all of you in praising the many women and men in
public service who rose to meet the challenges of this past
week. Their heroism and their sacrifices will never be
forgotten. As we begin the long and hard process of
recovery, I believe it is important that we, as members of
this Council, turn our attention to the impact this great
tragedy will have upon library and information service. We
can either allow ourselves to be swept along by events, or
we can seek to identify these challenges, and develop
policies and programs that will allow our profession to
contribute positively to the needs of our nation and our allies.
Many commentators have stated that America and the world
will be forever changed by these terrorist attacks. I
believe that many will agree, but we cannot afford to remain
paralyzed by the trauma we have experienced, or by fear of
continuing attacks. As the policy-making body of this
association, we have a responsibility to our members to
begin the difficult task of forging and implementing a new
strategic plan that will guide our profession to cope with
the cause of these changes rather than just the effect.
Several trends seem apparent. First, I believe that history
has taught us that a catastrophe of this dimension may lead
to demands to restrict First Amendment freedoms in the name
of national security. The ALA will need to be proactive in
addressing this issue in a positive and responsible manner.
Second, if we are indeed at war against terrorism, the party
that wins this war is the one that has the best access to
information. The ALA should contribute to this effort by
taking a leadership role in removing those barriers to the
free flow of information. Solutions need to be found to
expand fair use, while preserving intellectual property rights.
Third, this Association must commit itself to closer
collaboration with our sisters and brothers in other nations
to build an information and library infrastructure that is
accessible to all, regardless of local economic conditions.
We have the technology to achieve this. All we need is the will.
Fourth, libraries have a unique role in building respect and
understanding between the diverse cultures of the world.
Libraries can build communities where people of different
creeds can live together as neighbors. We need to make a
greater commitment to build our collections and design our
programs to achieve this.
Fifth, we are a world of individuals, each with unique and
special needs. While it is important for this Association
and libraries to develop policies and programs that address
the major users of our resources, such as children and young
people, we cannot afford to ignore those individuals who are
undergoing transition and who may not be aware of our
resources, such as new immigrants, persons with
disabilities, and the aged. Outreach is not an option, it is
a necessity in today's world.
Finally, I believe libraries and information agencies can
anticipate increasing usage and decreasing revenue. The
amount of funds needed for rebuilding and preserving public
security will be substantial. We know from our past
experience that library usage increases in troubled times.
The ALA needs to review its legislative initiatives and
further strengthen our partnership with the education
sector. We also need a strategy that will clearly articulate
the valuable role that libraries and information agencies
can play in these challenging times.
590 Wilmot Road, Deerfield, IL 60015
Office: 312/961-5536; Fax: 847-945-5484
e-mail: dsager[at]wwa.com or gossagesager[at]altavista.com
7. Some interesting history
Date: Sun, 16 Sep 2001 17:24:22 -0700
From: Rory Litwin <rlitwin[at]earthlink.net>
To: srrtac-l[at]ala.org, plgnet-l[at]listproc.sjsu.edu, member-forum[at]ala.org
Reply to: rlitwin[at]earthlink.net
I'm reading _A history of the American Library Association, 1876-1972_, by
Dennis Thomison (Chicago: ALA, 1978). Let me copy a few paragraphs from it
(The time is 1940)
...The executive board of the association urged all types of libraries to
help wherever possible with military training. To some people, this seemed
to be premature, but it was certainly in keeping with the militaristic
spirit that was engulfing the country.
This spirit, and the steady drift towards war, alarmed a sizable minority
of Americans. The dissident faction was formally represented in the
library profession by a group calling itself the Progressive Librarians
Council. The council aroused the ire of the executive board by sending a
"peace telegram" to Roosevelt during the 1940 conference. The message
began with the following statement:
"Alarmed by the rapid drift of this country toward involvement in the
European war, we librarians, assembled at the sixty-second annual
conference of the American Library Association in Cincinnati, May 26 to
June 1, respectfully urge you to keep this country at peace."
The board was angry over the possibility people might interpret this
statement as emanating from ALA, and it condemned the telegram as
misleading. This in spite of the fact that the telegram had been signed
"Progressive Librarians Council." The board then sent a telegram of its
own to President Roosevelt. It was a rather curious message, which said
the Progressive Librarians Council represented the opinion of a very small
group and had no authority to speak for librarians on this or any other
subject. The telegram further stated that, if the members of ALA were
polled on the question, they would overwhelmingly reject the ideas
reflected in the original peace telegram. This was a rather astonishing
claim to make, since the membership had never been polled on the subject
and had never given any collective indication of where it stood. The
telegram was release for publication by the White House, although no such
treatment had been given to the earlier telegram. Similarly, the text of
the executive board's telegram was reprinted in ALA Bulletin. The text of
the telegram from the Progressive Librarians Council was ignored.
In a matter related to the "peace telegram," a minor controversy developed
in the Junior Members Round Table between its officers and its membership.
The round table, at its membership meeting during the Cincinnati
conference, endorsed the peace message to Roosevelt. This official action
was ordered deleted from the minutes of the meeting by the executive board
of the round table. The reason given was that the resolution "was out of
order inasmuch as it did not pertain to the affairs" of the round table.
The chairman said the executive board was simply fulfilling its obligation
to act when the entire group was not in session. Objecting members could
raise the issue at the next meeting if they wished to pursue it. This was
an arbitrary action on the part of the round table's leadership, and there
seemed to be no adequate reason for it.
References for this section are listed in the notes as follows:
"Repudiation by ALA," _Library Journal_ 65: 599 (July, 1940)
(I think this article might contain the full text of the peace telegram.)
"Communication to President Roosevelt," ALA Bulletin 34: 415-16 (June, 1940)
The book goes on to talk about threats to intellectual freedom that arose
during the buildup for the war and the response of the association, which
was to create the Committee on Intellectual Freedom.
I urge you to keep a close eye on intellectual freedom and privacy issues
as our country enters this new phase, and to be vigilant and vocal in their
defense as the need arises.
L I B R A R Y J U I C E
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