Library Juice 6:4 - February 20, 2003
- Interview with ALA Presidential Candidates Totten and Brey
- Library Associations on FTAA 2nd draft text - Mark R.'s view
- Call for Nominations: Jackie Eubanks Award
- On the librarian presence at the NYC anti-war demo
- Ascii art
Quote for the week:
"Every society honors its live conformists and its dead troublemakers."
Homepage of the week: Mitch Freedman
Shelf Life: Librarians, liberals with backbone
By Christopher Hayes
The American Prospect magazine
[ From Louis Alcorn ]
USA Patriot Act Resolutions of State Library Associations
[ From Karen Schneider ]
2003 Midwinter ALA Council actions
2003 Midwinter ALA-APA Council actions
[ From ALA Staff ]
Arcane knowledge about the Google cache
[ From Dan Mitchel ]
Exploration of the Library Community's response to Nicholson Baker's
[ From Lincoln Cushing ]
FEMA Study of the effectivness of duct tape and plastic sheeting for
protection in the case of chemical attack:
[ From Fred Stoss ]
LoC cultural presesrvation program (article in the Chronicle of higher ed.)
[ From Les Pourciau ]
Wisconsin Women Library Workers
[ I ran across it somehow ]
marginal librarian ver. 10.1
(The McGill library school web zine)
[ From Rob R. Rao ]
"Books the cat saved from the backhoe
[ From Don Saklad ]
Webcast of the ALA Midwinter President's Program, a talk by Amy Goodman,
of Pacifica Radio's Democracy Now!
Patriot Act II: Domestic Security Enhancement Act
[ From Richard Boulet, to the womi list ]
BIBLIOTECARIOS POR LA PAZ (Spain)
Segnalibro dei "Bibliotecari per la pace" (Italy)
Libros en lugar de bombas (article in the Mexican paper La Jornada)
[ From Felipe Meneses Tello ]
Florida Historical Society petition in support of the Florida State Library
[ From Susan Dillinger ]
Shutdown of YellowTimes.org by hosting company - questionable motives
[ From Chuck Munson ]
The Political Economy of Intellectual Property
By Michael Perelman, Monthly Review, January 2003
[ Found browsing ]
Truisms - by Jenny Holzer
[ This has been on the web for eons and still shines ]
2. Interview with ALA Presidential Candidates Totten and Brey
At the ALA Candidate's Forum I asked candidates Carol Brey and Herman
Totten to agree to be interviewed for Library Juice. Candidate Robert
Newlen did not attend that event, possibly because the paperwork
establishing his petition candidacy had not gone through yet. I emailed
Newlen to request the interview after the conference, but did not get a
The interview follows, with responses in alternating order.
What would your priorities be as ALA President?
My priorities can be classified in five major areas: the first four;
Cultural diversity, Learning, Access, and Service; refer to the conventional
objectives of American libraries. The last area, Salary, reflects my desire
to support the increase of pay for all library workers.
Libraries are providing services to increasingly diverse populations. We
must ensure that diversity is recognized and accepted. We must understand
that diversity not only includes ethnicity, but also age, gender, social
class, sexual orientation, and/or physical disabilities.
Lifelong learning is the watchword for library workers in the Information
Century. Not only do library workers promote lifelong learning, but they are
also known for continuing their own education. Consequently, they are
equipped to offer unparalleled principles and practices to their customers.
The need for equity of access -- free access for everyone to libraries and
information, is paramount. There should be no economic, ethnic, physical, or
political barriers between people and information. We must join together
throughout the nation and around the world to ensure effective use of and
equal access to information. American libraries will play a fundamental
role in applying information to the needs of the economic, technical,
political, and natural environments.
It is crucial that practitioners and educators collaborate on clear goals,
objectives, and workable solutions to the challenges confronting the
dissemination of information. Because library workers are expected to serve
our diverse communities quickly, accurately, and effectively, we must
continue not only to encourage diversity and equity of access, but also
services to promote leadership, literacy, intellectual freedoms, and
I truly to do believe in "First-class Pay For A First-class Service." I am
committed to support pay equity and better salaries for all library workers.
I intend to promote programs and funding to ensure the recruitment,
education, and retention of a diverse library work force.
A recent query posted on the Chapter Relations list stated, in part that
"members want their dues invested in helping the public realize how valuable
libraries (and their librarians) really are." ("Grassroots Report,"
American Libraries, January 2003, p. 89.) I have been a member of the ALA
Library Advocacy Network since it began in the early 1990's, and I have seen
advocacy techniques work effectively-particularly in my current position as
Director of the El Paso (TX) Public Library, where our budget has increased
nearly 40% in three years. We have accomplished this by helping library
supporters in our community find a collective voice in speaking up for
My entire platform may be found on my website, www.Carolbrey.com, but the
following points illustrate my top priorities for my presidency:
- Promotion of literacy and the freedom to read for all;
- Protection and defense of intellectual freedom, including unfiltered
access to information;
- Safeguarding our patrons' privacy, now threatened by the USA Patriot Act,
the Homeland Security Act, and related laws and regulations;
- Bridging the digital divide, ensuring that everyone has the technology
needed to access information;
- Support for the ALA Better Salaries and Pay Equity initiative;
- Funding of recruitment and retention programs such as the Spectrum
Scholarship program, to increase diversity in our profession; and
- Advocacy for libraries, with continued support for the ?Campaign for
America's Libraries? and the Library Advocacy Network.
What, specifically, would you do to continue Mitch Freedman's Better
I was appointed to the Better Salaries and Pay Equity Task Force when it
began in 2001, and am currently chairing the Advocacy Working Group of the
Task Force. The Task Force has accomplished an impressive amount in a very
short time, and as ALA President I would definitely support incorporating
the continued work of the Task Force into our organization. This has been
discussed in relation to the establishment of the ALA-APA (Allied
Professional Association), and the ALA-APA Bylaws now reflect this idea. The
Better Salaries and Pay Equity Task Force has a number of Working Groups,
and I would support the continuation of their efforts under the
ALA-APA - particularly those Working Groups dealing with Advocacy,
Chapters/Affiliates/Units, Partnerships/Coalitions/Outreach, Publications,
Research/Resources, and Unions.
I would continue to support the MoneyTalks listserv and the Advocating for
Better Salaries and Pay Equity Toolkit strategies.
What problems, if any, do you see in President Freedman's Better
Salaries initiative, in terms of its effectiveness, its fundamental ideas,
or challenges in the future which you do not see being dealt with? How
would you improve on the initiative?
My emphasis would be inclusiveness. I would make sure that the initiative
includes better salaries for all library workers.
President Freedman's Better Salaries and Pay Equity initiative has been
very effective so far, with success stories stretching from the state of
Washington to New Jersey. It has resonated with ALA's membership, because
the substandard pay that has become the norm in our profession frustrates
all of us. However, the future success of this initiative will depend on us,
the members of ALA. It requires a consistent grassroots effort on the part
of librarians, library workers and supporters across the
country--strategizing and advocating for better pay.
ALA Presidents have had varying degrees of success in seeing their
priorities realized. What lessons would you take from the past ten years of
Several years ago, ALA Presidents stopped creating "themes" for their
presidential year, because there appeared to be a lack of continuity from
year to year. It does make sense to build on priorities of previous
Presidencies, because that is how our organization develops most
effectively. I have also chosen those priorities that will enhance our
organization the most in the short period of time I will serve as President.
It is very difficult to complete an initiative in the short period of time
of an individual's presidency. I would find it more beneficial to continue
the initiative or initiatives of previous presidents.
At the Candidate's Forum at the ALA Midwinter meeting in Philadelphia,
one presidential candidate (Carol Brey) said we needed to "Get back to the
basics of what we represent." This statement was in the context of the
financial challenges now facing ALA due to the nation's economic downturn
and the loss of value of ALA's investments. The implication was that ALA
needs to focus on activities that are within its core mission, to the
expense of activities which might now be seen as tangential. If you agree
with the idea that we need to "Get back to the basics of what we represent,"
what categories of ALA's activities would you say are not a part of the
basics? If identifying these activities has to be done through a complex
process that involves everyone who has an interest in the outcome, how would
you pursue this process, given the reality that not everyone can be pleased,
and what are your personal feelings about what activities might cease or be
I do not agree with Ms. Brey's statement.
In order to "get back to the basics of what we represent," it is
essential that ALA members collectively determine what those basics are. I
believe it is time for ALA to embark on a strategic planning process that
builds on previous planning efforts--such as ALAction 2005 and ALA Goal
2000. Having worked with numerous organizations as a strategic planning
consultant, I know that planning builds teamwork and expertise within any
organization, creating improved communication across all levels and
programs. The initial "planning-to-plan" stage should involve gathering
information from all members about their needs through surveys, focus
groups, and ALA meetings.
Once that information is gathered, a strategic planning "summit" could be
held for ALA stakeholders that would focus on the development of a
collective vision, and goals for the future.
My personal feelings about ALA's future goals are reflected in my priorities
as President (see question #1.) As I stated during the Candidate's Forum at
ALA Midwinter, "...the theme for my campaign is 'Democracy @ your library,'
because I believe that we the people--librarians, library workers, and
library supporters--can generate excitement about libraries in our
communities by getting back to the basics of what libraries represent." To
me, the very core of what libraries provide for our nation is literacy and
access to information. For, as Thomas Jefferson once said "A democratic
society depends upon an informed and educated citizenry."
What is your opinion on ALA Council's historical involvement with
national and international issues with only an indirect relationship to
libraries? If you have served as a Councilor, how have you voted on such
ALA has long had a history of taking a stand on national and
international issues. In fact, ALA policy states "The broad social
responsibilities of the American Library Association are defined in terms of
the contribution that librarianship can make in ameliorating or solving the
critical problems of society...and the willingness of ALA to take a position
on current critical issues with the relationship to libraries and library
service set forth in the position statement.? It seems that our membership
may be shifting in its support of ALA's involvement with such issues, and I
believe ALA should hold serious discussions related to its current
policy--perhaps in the context of the strategic planning process described
in question #5.
While serving as the Chapter Councilor from Illinois (1992-95) I would
survey my membership and vote on these issues in accordance with the
majority of chapter members. I am currently serving on Council as a
Councilor-At-Large, and vote on these issues in the way it seems they will
best serve our organization. For those who would like to view my voting
record, it is available on the ALA website (www.ala.org/.)
I feel that councilors should only deal with issues that effect libraries
and librarians. However, there are exceptions to every rule or policy. I
have served as a councilor for two non-successive terms of eight years.
During those eight years, I have evaluated each issue that came before
council on its merits and voted accordingly by my conscience.
Do you have any concerns about the ALA-APA, or do you think it is a good
thing and is being developed in such a way that members have no real cause
for worry? How would you respond to members' concerns about it, among these
that a) it is bad to mix costly salary advocacy with potentially profitable
certification; that b) the ALA lawyer is misleading us in saying that
advocacy for professionals is legally outside the scope of 501(c)(3)
advocacy; that c) certification will result in a two-tiered profession, with
the best jobs going only to those who can afford the extra education; and
that d) certificates for paraprofessionals will begin to serve as a
substitute for the MLIS, furthering the process of deprofessionalization?
I voted for and fully support ALA-APA. I do not believe any of the concerns
articulated in this question, should be concerns at all. I do not see a
conflict between salary advocacy and a potential revenue stream created by
certification. I do not feel that ALA counsel has provided misinformation. I
sincerely believe certification of paraprofessionals will not become a
substitute for the MLIS.
While I do not have any serious concerns about the ALA-APA, it is important
to remember that it is a tool allowing our membership to accomplish goals
related to more recognition of our profession. I would respond to members'
concerns as follows:
a) Salary advocacy does not need to be costly, particularly the current
grass roots effort (President Freedman's Better Salaries & Pay Equity
Initiative) that is shared by librarians and library workers across the
country. Certification may be another method for librarians to enhance our
image, but should not be confused with advocacy.
b) I have a great deal of respect for the ALA attorney, and I do not believe
that she is attempting to mislead our organization.
c) I have worked in a state that had certification for librarians and
library employees (New Mexico), and while I found that certification
enhanced the level of knowledge among paraprofessionals, it did not
necessarily seem to raise salaries.
d) Certification for paraprofessionals generally tends to enhance the level
of knowledge these employees possess, but does not serve as a substitute for
the MLIS. In fact, those who become interested in certification classes
often pursue the MLIS degree because of their desire to gain more knowledge
about library and information science.
What is your position on the "Speaking With One Voice" issue as it has
arisen over time in exchanges between ALA units and the Executive Board? To
what extent do you think Round Tables, in particular, should be free to
publicize their views?
ALA is an extremely large organization, with nearly 64,000 members, and it
may be impractical to expect our membership to speak with one voice on all
issues. I believe that establishing a strong vision and goals for ALA would
help our organization to speak with one voice. I also believe in democratic
principles and the right of each individual to express an opinion. Round
Tables should be allowed to express their views, but should clearly state
when those views differ from the "official" ALA view as stated by the ALA
Board or Council.
I fully support the concept of "Speaking With One Voice."
What experience do you have as a public figure? I'm wondering about
your ability to function as ALA's national spokesperson. How would you
describe your media image? (Not just "strong," "confident" - we all know
you're that. How would you describe your appearance and image to someone
who doesn't know it?) Do you believe image is important?
I have served as President of Texas Library Association, the largest state
library association in the US. I have served as Chair of ALA-COA during the
period of re-certification of COA as the accrediting unit for library
education. This experience required two appearances before the Council on
Post-Secondary Education. As a university professor and library educator, I
have spoken to hundreds of groups of people in person and via video
transmission. According to those around me, I am in my element in the public
arena. Many tributes from my ALA Presidential Candidacy Web site speak to my
image as a public figure. I have listed some of the quotes below.
"When Herman takes the floor, he has a certain presence that commands
everyone to listen and heed what he says.- - Patti Clark
"People are inexplicably drawn to his warmth, his humor, and his wisdom.
Never have I known someone as innately capable of changing apathy into
interest, arguments into agreements, and enmity into amity." - Tyrone
"In addition to his graduate school teaching duties, has taught workshops in
Legal Issues, Confidentiality, and Management Issues for library workers in
the small communities of Texas. He draws his listeners in with his warmth
and professionalism." - Laurie Mahaffey
"Personally, I consider him a valued friend who has a keen intellect, an
innate sense of humor, and an ability to establish rapport with all age
groups and diverse cultures." - Spencer G. Shaw
"He has the knowledge base, the analytical skills, and political savvy to
lead ALA to a future more gallant than her illustrious past."
- Lucille Thomas
I have been a public library administrator for twenty years, and during that
time have made hundreds of speeches to community groups and professional
organizations of all types. I am a powerful speaker, who can speak on just
about any subject with little notice. I have also worked extensively with
the media and am frequently called for interviews on radio and television,
in English and in Spanish. I have been hosting the El Paso Public Library's
weekly television show, "Stories and More @ your library," for the past 1 ½
years. In our media-conscious society, I believe that image is important,
and I have used my advocacy skills to enhance the image of the libraries I
have served. I would have no difficulty transferring those skills to the
position of ALA President, serving as a passionate and successful
spokesperson for our organization.
ALA Presidential Candidates often fall into the trap of only making
statements which they feel few people would disagree with, and then have to
cope with a perception among ALA members of being wishy-washy, dull,
uninspired, unchallenging and ill-defined. President Freedman's successful
campaign of two years ago struck me as an exception. Can you state any
views that clearly distinguish you from others in the profession,
particularly the other candidates?
Even though I am a library director, I am also a librarian who works "on the
front lines." Every month I give programs for children, tell stories on the
Library's weekly television show, or work the reference desk at a Branch on
Sundays. I talk to the people we serve (or la gente as we say in El Paso) to
find out what they need. My heart goes out to the many people in our
country who cannot read or write well enough to fully participate in our
democracy. Our democratic society depends on libraries to provide equal
access to knowledge and information in all its forms. Yet our libraries
continue to be under-funded, understaffed, closed too many hours, and even
closed permanently in some cases. I believe it is critical--now more than
ever--that we take every opportunity to advocate for libraries and the
people who work in them.
I have thirty-five years of experience as a leader and the unique ability to
enjoy and communicate effectively with people from all walks of life. As a
skilled parliamentarian and frequent speaker, I can honestly say I have
never been accused of being wishy-washy, dull, uninspired - or even
unenthusiastic or uninteresting!
Although I believe the art of diplomacy is a valuable asset to all who deal
with people and their diversities, I also believe that effective
communication includes the ability to express opinions that may or may not
be popular. However, it is possible and profitable to maintain an
unambiguous stance on issues without fear of disagreement. James B. Stewart,
Library Director, Victoria Public Library, Victoria, Texas, wrote in his
tribute to me, "Over the years I have known Herman, I have often agreed with
him, but I have also disagreed with him on association matters. As a rule,
I agree and disagree strongly. Herman can handle disagreement, debate ideas,
and remain a colleague and a friend. I think this is extremely important in
a leader for the ALA."
A clear distinction among the other candidates and myself is my thirty-five
years of leadership in ALA. These years have not only allowed me insight
into ALA's challenges, but also allowed me time to develop close
associations with the incredibly talented members of ALA. Both the insight
and these associations provide me with the necessary preparation to respond
effectively to ALA's opportunities in the 21st century.
I want to thank you both for taking the time for this interview. You have
provided useful information to Library Juice readers in deciding how to
vote in this year's election.
3. Library Associations on FTAA 2nd draft text - Mark R.'s view
[ALACOUN:8885] FTAA Comments/something completely different !
Date: Thu, 6 Feb 2003 19:43:05 -0500
From: Mark Rosenzweig <iskra[at]earthlink.net>
To: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]ala1.ala.org>
Reply to: iskra[at]earthlink.net
I have noted that ALA and other library groups are sending in (have
already sent in?) a joint comment on the FTAA draft (there was a
request for comments in the Federal Register in December). I was
wondering whether it was something which was brought before Council
in Philly for deliberation as I presume it should have been. I was
absent due to illness for Council II. Perhaps I missed it.
More generally, as councilors charged with making policy for the
Association, why didn't the ALA Washington Office alert us, send
relevant materials on to us, report on in some detail, or initiate an
on-list discussion, do some consciousness raising on the content of
these comments. If I missed that too, I apologize, but I don't
believe I did. Indeed, Council gets almost NO information from the
Washington Office on the Council listserv and our opinions are never
solicited to the best of my knowledge.
More seriously, there appears to be an underlying philosophy in the
Washington Office that holds that advocacy work is best left to the
experts. When they decide that some support is needed, then they'll
issue an alert in the ALAWON, but it's usually around fairly
uncontroversial stuff (library funding measures and the like). But
asking for participation in advocacy work is the exception, not the
I should think that the reverse would be true and we would want to
use the ALA advocacy apparatus to INVOLVE the membership in more
questions and FACILITATE more inquiry about emerging issues.
Whatever one's feelings about that, I don't think that the Washington
Office or the law firms which they employ is or should be entitled to
make policy for us. Once again the tail seems it may be wagging the
I am very displeased that our whole discussion on GATS (spearheaded
by SRRT) ended with ALAWON's assurance that the US Trade
representative told them libraries will probably be exempt and in no
danger in any case. That analysis of the risks and that approach to
what action is called for is not a widely held view on the non-US
part of the library community, internationally, concerned with the
And then Ms Sheketoff and Mr. Weingartner, responded rather testily
to grassroots Canadian library anti-WTO activist Fiona Hunt's article
in AL about the dangers of the WTO for libraries by essentially
saying "don't get alarmed -- we're shmoozing with the right people".
That in a jointly signed rejoinder to Hunt in AL, the sole effect of
which was to de-mobilize grassroots concern around these issues.
The recent comments, drafted by the law firm Ropes and Grey, take a
minimalist and conservative approach. (we shouldn't be surprised by
this. Ropes and Grey is a mega law firm that is best know for their
representation of management in labor issues).
The principal problem is that by failing to attack the very premise
of the FTAA or even the premise of including an intellectual property
component in the FTAA, by implication they legitimate the process.
This is very similar to the recent controversy over the ALA response
to the Patriot Act (which some of us saw as creating an 'ALA' Patriot
Act). They wanted to present the most narrow objections, leaving the
underlying premises unchallenged.
Here are just some specific points that remain to be addressed
1) The Ropes and Gray draft has very little substance.
A careful comparison of the draft to existing NAFTA and TRIPS terms
needs to be done. The comments should express concern about the whole
notion of including IP rights in the agreement in the first place.
The concern is that the draft as written does more harm than good
because it basically legitimizes a very serious attempt to add
substantive requirements to the Berne-TRIPS framework in an agreement
that has substantial enforcement potential (as compared to the
current WIPO treaty which really does not). The attempt to bring the
provisions of WIPO into the agreement should be underlined as one of
the more objectionable aspects of the draft, but the submitted
comments fail to do this.
2) The draft expands the scope of subject matter to potentially include
some data/compilations of facts.
The draft FTAA Article 2 list Protectable Subject Matter as
[2.1. The following are not subject to copyright:
a) ideas, regulatory procedures, methods, systems, mathematical designs
or concepts per se;
b) outlines, plans or rules for conducting mental processes, games or
c) blank forms to be completed with any type of information, scientific
or otherwise, and instructions thereon;
d) texts of treaties or conventions, laws, decrees, regulations,
judicial decisions, and other official records;
e) information for everyday use such as calendars, diaries, official
land registers, or diaries, and keys;
f) individual names and title;
g) industrial or commercial exploitation of the ideas in the work]
With respect to databases and factual compilations, this proposal
enumerates certain (but not all) specific types, but DOES NOT contain a
blanket prohibition on their inclusion. Such blanket exclusion is
currently contained in NAFTA section 1705 and TRIPS article 10(2). Both
of these sections specifically exclude data from the protection for
compilations. The FTAA draft narrows this blanket exemption
This seems to be a deliberate attempt to open the door for database
2. Term of Protection
In section 10, two options are given, the first just continues Berne.
But the second incorporates the life + 70 standard.
3. Obligations concerning technological measures
Section 21.1 gives two options. The second, which explicitly includes
the device prohibitions, is much more expansive than the first one.
4. Definition of Fair Use is narrowed
Article 1's definition of fair use is clearly a limitation on our
current understanding of the broad and open-ended nature of fair-use.
So these are just an example of the specific problems with the proposed
But the bigger, more far reaching question is to what extent should
the library community express opposition to the (1) the very idea of
the FTAA, and/or (2) to the idea of including increased intellectual
property protections in the FTAA
I've a copy (attached) of the FTAA input document as well as the
notice from the December 27th Federal Register. I'd like you all to
have a chance to see the ALAWON FTAA comments, as I believe it was
not widely distributed (am I wrong about that?), deals with a matter
of great importance, and seems inadequate, to me at least. Maybe to
you too. Don't leave it to the experts.
ALA Councilor at large
Ed. note: The attachments to this email are of course not here, but the
Ropes and Gray Comments that Mark mentions can be read at this URL:
4. Call for Nominations: Jackie Eubanks Award
The Alternatives in Publication Task Force is now calling for nominations
for this year's Jackie Eubanks Memorial Award.
The award honors the late Jackie Eubanks, former AIP Task Force member and
vigorous champion of alternative views in library collections. The award
recognizes outstanding achievement in promoting the acquisition and use of
alternative materials in libraries. Such achievement may take the form of,
but is not limited to: developing specialized collections; making or
moderating presentations; publishing reviews, articles or books, including
bibliographies and indexes; actively participating in professional
organizations; organizing events or exhibits; developing and maintaining an
alternative Web site useful to librarians; and other as determined relevant
by the jury.
Nominations should be sent to the jury chair before March 3. Nominating
letters should state the nominee's specific contributions and may be
accompanied by further documentation (e.g., publications, press notices).
Any current ALA member may submit a nomination. Task Force officers and jury
members are not eligible for consideration. Submit nominations to: Byron
Anderson, University Libraries, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL
60115. Email: banderson[at]niu.edu.
For more information on the award see: http://www.libr.org/AIP/eubanks.html
5. On the librarian presence at the NYC anti-war demo
[ALACOUN:9011] And librarians...????
Date: Sun, 16 Feb 2003 04:31:05 -0500
From: Mark Rosenzweig <iskra[at]earthlink.net>
To: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]ala1.ala.org>
Cc: Progressive Librarians Guild <plgnet-l[at]listproc.sjsu.edu>,
Reply to: iskra[at]earthlink.net
The magnificent turnout February 15th around the country and around
the world at anti-war demonstrations against the Bush
administration's arrogant,inhumane, venal, unjustified preemptive war
plans for Iraq ,restores one's faith (especially witnessing it first
hand as a participant) in the sense of humanity and justice and
unrealized power of the NON-elites (class, political, corporate,etc)
to still rise up and insist on being heard and on being listened to,
to organize, mobilize broad diverse populations, grass roots
organizations, institutions of popular participation, notable and
anonynmous individuals of conscience, academics and students, clergy
and laity, , artists and writers, liberals and radicals, workers and
I'm writing as a librarian participant in the New York City rally,
systematically,strategically and heavy handedly controlled by the NY
police and judiciary, with City and Federal connivance, to minimize
its impact and to make it as difficult as possible to have a
commensurately powerful effect as possible, a rally/demonstartion
which utterly transcended all the obstacles placed in its way by the
authorities who tried to confine it, break it up into 'pens' prevent
huge groups from merging, barricading people in control areas (
which at many point were breached by the sheer force and will of
overwhelming numbers of protestors who sent the police lines
scuttling). When you looked up there were police SNIIPERS on top of
every building, as well as surveillance photographers with telephotos
recording everone they could who was at this 'subversive' and
There is much to be said about this rally (and others ) and hopefully
you will be reading about it and seeing snatches of it in the
mainstream media and, undoubtedly, more accurately, in the
But just one note.
ALA Councilors Elaine Harger and myself arrived at the NYC demo at
noon, Saturday, at 63rd St and First Avenue with the peace- banner of
the Progressive Librarians Guild. As it turned out, the spoiling
tactics of the police kept us from connecting with our group of
librarian activist-colleagues who wished to march under that banner.
But we raised our banner nonetheless for several bitter-cold, but
heart-warming, hours and the response was remarkable.
As people,thousands upon thousands, passed our bold and simple
banner, there was a constant murmur of "Look! Librarians! Librarians!
Bravo!,. Right on, 'Books not Bombs, 'Save our First Amendment
Rights!". smiles, waves , clenched fist salutes, librarians and
teachers coming over personally to applaud us for representing
librarianship, countless cameras clicking, AP correspondents
photographing us, interviews with video-camera-wielding
The cynical among you may say,"what difference does it make what
librarians think, say or do about war?".
Well, I can tell you now from this experience... plenty of difference.
The surprise, the joy, the spontaneous reactions to an element of
solidarity from an unexpected -- but instantly recognized as
important -- quarter, was palpable as tens of thousands marched
passed our fixed-position banner aloft in the midst of the stream of
humanity and pointed us out to friends and loved ones as evidence of
something important., came over to thank us, told us how much it
meant. The word ' librarians! ' could be heard bubbling through the
crowd as the went by. And this WITHOUT the main part of our
contingent of librarians from the region who never connected up with
the banner wielding duo of ALA Councilors and founders of the the
Progressive Librarians Guild.
The sheer mass outpouring was something I willl never forget, nor
will I forget how, within this huge diverse crowd, the presence of
librarians was so widely noted, commented on, recorded, documented,
of what warm smiles it brought to old and young, to experienced
activists and first time demonstrators.
Believe me, it does matter to our patrons, to our communities that
we, librarians in particular, were "there", that we were with them,
not anonymously, but professionally, in the spirit of professional
social responsibility. I don't know why Council and Staff at the
American Library Association (ALA) don't 'get it'....Maybe 'you had
to be there'...
ALA Councilor at large
Progressive Librarians Guild, coordinating committee
Progressive Librarian (journal), co-editor
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Date: Mon, 17 Feb 2003 19:24:35 -0500
From: "Maurice J. (Mitch) Freedman" <freedman[at]wlsmail.org>
To: SRRT Action Council <srrtac-l[at]ala.org>
Reply to: srrtac-l[at]ala.org
I was thrilled to have the opportunity to express my opposition to the
President's plans to invade Iraq and have, undoubtedly, countless
civilians killed in the name of U.S. citizens.
As one of three librarians (all Progressive Librarian Guild members),
the other two Howard Besser and Jenna Freedman, in our group of six, we
would have liked to have joined with Mark Rosenzweig & Elaine Harger to
add our bodies to the librarian presence at the rally. I know of at
least two other members, Mary Berman and Ray Markey, who also were
there, and of course we never saw them either. They marched with the
members of the NYPL union, assuming that they actually were able to get
I am writing to you about this because I believe that we must continue
to discuss the implications of the incredible diversion of resources
from domestic programs to the military build-up. There is a cascading
effect. As federally mandated programs implemented by the states don't
get funded, the states don't adequately fund the county and local
programs that the state mandates. Then, lo and behold, the county and
municipal governments stuck with greater shares of the state mandates,
cut back on funding the portion of their budgets over which they have
This may seem theoretical, but that's precisely what has led to a 20%
cut in the portion of the Westchester Library System's budget that comes
from Westchester County. The increased state mandates ate up large
chunks of what would have been tax funds available for local county
programs, such as funding the Westchester Library System. My
Westchester colleagues and I are hoping and working to get at least some
of the Governor's proposed 15% decrease in state library aid pared back
by the State Legislature. But expectations aren't real high because of
NY State's 12 billion dollar deficit. I can't begin to imagine what the
consequences will be of the 35 billion dollar deficit in California.
Which gets us back to the policies of the President. The combination of
the administration's conservative budgeting and program cutbacks, and
the resources being poured into the military build-up leads me
ineluctably to the conclusion that the funding of library programs have
already and will continue to suffer everywhere to some extent.
Wholly aside from my personal politics, I believe we have to speak out
against the war effort because of this damage being done to libraries.
I agree with Mark Rosenzweig's position that we must take a stand, and I
regret that we couldn't share the solidarity of standing together at the
demonstration representing our chosen profession.
I also agree with Jim Casey's point that we must, as librarians, ensure
that we have all points of view adequately represented by our libraries'
digital and print collections.
Maurice J. (Mitch) Freedman, MLS, PhD
President of the American Library Association
Director, Westchester (NY) Library System
410 Saw Mill River Road - Suite 1000
Ardsley, NY 10502-2605
Voice: (914) 231-3223; fax: (914) 674-4193
All matters concerning the U*N*A*B*A*S*H*E*D Librarian,
Should be sent to <editor[at]unabashedlibrarian.com>
"I'll be seeing you, in all the old familiar places..."
6. Ascii art (paste into Notepad if it looks like junk)____________________________________________________ |____________________________________________________| | __ __ ____ ___ || ____ ____ _ __ | || |__ |--|_| || |_| |||_|**|*|__|+|+||___| || | | ||==|^^||--| |=||=| |=*=||| |~~|~| |=|=|| | |~||==| | || |##|| | | || | |JRO|||-| | |==|+|+||-|-|~||__| | ||__|__||__|_|_||_|_|___|||_|__|_|__|_|_||_|_|_||__|_| ||_______________________||__________________________| | _____________________ || __ __ _ __ _ | ||=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=| __..\/ | |_| ||#||==| / /| || | | | | | | | | | | |/\ \ \\|++|=| || ||==| / / | ||_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_/_/\_.___\__|_|__||_||__|/_/__| |____________________ /\~()/()~//\ __________________| | __ __ _ _ \_ (_ . _/ _ ___ _____| ||~~|_|..|__| || |_ _ \ //\\ / |=|__|~|~|___| | | | ||--|+|^^|==|1||2| | |__/\ __ /\__| |==|x|x|+|+|=|=|=| ||__|_|__|__|_||_|_| / \ \ / / \_|__|_|_|_|_|_|_|_| |_________________ _/ \/\/\/ \_ _______________| | _____ _ __ |/ \../ \| __ __ ___| ||_____|_| |_|##|_|| | \/ __| ||_|==|_|++|_|-||| ||______||=|#|--| |\ \ o / /| | |~| | | ||| ||______||_|_|__|_|_\ \ o / /_|_|__|_|__|_|_||| |_________ __________\___\____/___/___________ ______| |__ _ / ________ ______ /| _ _ _| |\ \ |=|/ // /| // / / / | / ||%|%|%| | \/\ |*/ .//____//.// /__/__/ (_) / ||=|=|=| __| \/\|/ /(____|/ // / /||~|~|~|__ |___\_/ /________// ________ / / ||_|_|_| |___ / (|________/ |\_______\ / /| |______| / \|________) / / | |
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