Library Juice 7:10 - May 14, 2004


1. Links...
2. Four Popular Delusions about Free Speech
3. LISNews Veers Right
4. Progress of the Open Letter calling for the US withdrawal from Iraq
5. The Larger Publicity of the Library (1916)

Quote for the week:

"What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it
ceases to exist."

- Salman Rushdie

Homepage of the week: Laura Quilter-Markstein


1. Links...


Press Release announcing Michael Gorman's election!

Congratulations, Michael!

Election results for ALA Treasurer, Council, and Divisions and Roundtables
are available on the ALA website, at


Michael Moore's new movie blocked from release by Disney...

Links from various sources:


The power and problems of public media
by David B. Liroff

[ Edward Valauskas to First Monday TOC subscribers ]


New discussion list for writer-librarians

[ sent by Todd Michael Grooten to the Library Underground list ]


Library Journal - Born with the Chip;

[ sent by Fred Gertler to the SJSU SLIS Alumni list ]



It is sometimes difficult to construct various ways to fully understand how
parts of the world report (or fail to report) on various ongoing events or
phenomena, and there has been a certain hand-wringing within the journalism
profession about lack of coverage of certain events. Utilizing a treemap
visualization algorithm, Newsmap is an application that visually reflects
"the constantly changing landscape" of the Google News news aggregator. As
this information is displayed visually, this format is able to "reveal
underlying patterns in news reporting across cultures and within news
segments in constant change across the globe." By customizing the Newsmap
application, users can look at various news sectors (such as world, nation,
business, technology, sports, entertainment and health), and toggle through
the various coverage provided by different countries throughout the world.
Although it is quite graphic intensive, this site is one that will be worth
visiting multiple times and may be of particular interest to those in the
fields of journalism and international studies. [KMG]

From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-2003.


Responses from my request in the last issue for website recommendations:

Another interesting stop for music and more is .
You might check it out if you have not-lots of cancon music and
interesting visuals. Broadband is best for this site.

Richard Boulet
Library Director


Sung to The Pirates of Penzance, "I Am The Very Model of a Modern
Major-General". You can find the midi at:

- from Phillip Senn

---- checks political facts that we don't have the time
to check!
Their mission statement: "We are a nonpartisan, nonprofit, "consumer
advocate" for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and
confusion in U.S. politics. We monitor the factual accuracy of what is said
by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches,
interviews, and news releases. Our goal is to apply the best practices of
both journalism and scholarship, and to increase public knowledge and

The Annenberg Political Fact Check is a project of the Annenberg Public
Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. The APPC was established
by publisher and philanthropist Walter Annenberg in 1994 to create a
community of scholars within the University of Pennsylvania that would
address public policy issues at the local, state, and federal levels."

-- from Jeanne Foley

---- checks political facts that we don't have the time
to check!
Their mission statement: "We are a nonpartisan, nonprofit, "consumer
advocate" for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and
confusion in U.S. politics. We monitor the factual accuracy of what is said
by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches,
interviews, and news releases. Our goal is to apply the best practices of
both journalism and scholarship, and to increase public knowledge and

The Annenberg Political Fact Check is a project of the Annenberg Public
Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. The APPC was established
by publisher and philanthropist Walter Annenberg in 1994 to create a
community of scholars within the University of Pennsylvania that would
address public policy issues at the local, state, and federal levels."

-- from Kathleen de la Pena McCook


In this days of totalitarian vertigo, privacy protection measures seem to be paramount. Big Brother is not always the government; most of the times he's just our boss, or that guy down the corridor in the computer department. Unfortunately most people are not very computer savy, and they feel utterly powerless. What better then than a tool to automagically install an encrypting personal proxy?

One needs access to an external server which can execute CGIs (most do, these days). Also, if information is needed about the proxifying script, it can be found at (so I guess it isn't just one site, after all ;).

Best regards,

Miguel Dias


Re: What Are You Surfing?

I am religiously devoted to a site called It is a news
aggregator-type website that collects top news headlines and "word
bursts" from news organizations, blogs, and RSS feeds. I like it because
it will scan not only for most frequently cited news stories, but also
for most frequently used words and phrases. I can get a much more
varied, interesting look at current events by going to this site as
opposed to the corporate news sites.

-- from Rachel Holt


Hi Rory

A friend sent me this citation, primarily because the authors were our profs at
the U of T Faculty of Info studies where we got the all important MLS
equivalent. Thought it might make an amusing note in Library Juice re the the
different kinds of info librarians really have to be aware of and disseminate,
your editorial decision of course.

Jo-Ann McQuillan
Toronto ON



Pat Micks, M.I.St.
PAM Research Services

2. Four Popular Delusions about Free Speech attack on complacency and dissociation

by Rory Litwin

Our professional ethic of intellectual freedom is something to which we
attach a lot of passion, but it involves a number of ideas that we seldom
examine.  This essay outlines four "popular delusions" about intellectual
freedom to make a few points about our relation to freedom of speech as
librarians and as people.

Delusion number one: "Ideas aren't dangerous."

Ideas ARE dangerous.  Often in discussions of intellectual freedom it is
asserted that they are not, this being taken as an argument against
censorship.  But what the argument that "ideas aren't dangerous" really
says is "censorship is wrong because ideas aren't worth censoring."  It is
because ideas ARE dangerous enough to inspire their censorship that they
should be protected.  It is the power of ideas to change reality - not
their harmlessness - that makes it important for librarians, institutions
and government to support their expression.

Why is the argument that "ideas aren't dangerous" so typical of librarians?
In part, I believe, it is a result of what our profession does with
expressions of ideas.  We catalog them, organize them, encapsulate them,
make them into manageable "things" and manage them.  This is of course
extraordinarily useful, as we all know.  But we should be on guard against
allowing this activity to lead us into a denatured and reified
conceptualization of ideas and their expression.  Too often, when
confronted with a challenging idea that is expressed in earnest, we
mentally catalog it and file it away as "one perspective," as though in
encountering this expression (this person) we are apart from the world, in
which being alive means having a perspective of one's own and confronting
others'.  Because we tend to think of ideas as manageable abstractions, in
a separate, otherwordly sphere now called "information," we lose sight of
the fact that there are no ideas without the expression of ideas.  That
expression is a part of life itself.  It is the alternately restrained,
despondent, flowery, musky, muscular, childlike, coy, agitated, angry and
methodical expression of ideas that our profession is dedicated to
protecting, not merely the abstract codifications of ideas, from which it
is so easy to dissociate.

To be unafraid of ideas, as so many librarians are, is a different thing
than to be aware of their power to upset a stable balance, to destroy and
create, and still to protect and nurture them.  It is the difference
between the foolish bravery that is unconscious of danger and the
wide-awake courage that acts through fear.  As librarians, we should take
ideas seriously enough to be afraid of them, and to protect their full
expression nonetheless.

Delusion number two: "The best idea always wins in the marketplace of

Our arguments in favor of intellectual freedom are sometimes taken to rest
on the truism that "the best idea wins in the marketplace of ideas."  The
implication of this is that the free speech that our society enjoys has
created for us the best of all possible worlds, by allowing the citizenry
freely to decide from among all of the ideas that society generates and
debates.  Aside from the question of whether intellectual freedom exists in
our society in a deep sense, the assertion that people are engaged enough
and rational enough always to chose the best ideas is highly questionable,
and to many observers, clearly false.  While this questionable assertion
may offer a layer of support for opposition to censorship, it has an
unfortunate consequence that affects librarians especially, and that is its
encouragement of a complacent attitude to discourse.  If we believe that
"the best idea wins in the marketplace of ideas" by an automatic process,
stemming, perhaps, from humanity's fundamental nature as rational and good,
then we excuse ourselves from the responsibility to engage with others in a
definite way, to apply pressure, to respond from our own perspectives and
to make an effort in the world to create a better reality (or at least to
protect our world from further deterioration) - as long as we "fight
censorship."  If "the best idea always wins in the marketplace of ideas"
there is no reason for any of us to speak, because we can relax and watch
the magic of rational society.  But if we don't speak, we lose, because
there is no debate, and no real society, without the efforts of people like
us.  Because the best ideas might NOT win, and very often don't, we must
respond.  Free speech is not for us to defend only so that other people can
exercise it; we must exercise it, too.

Delusion number three: "Being too forceful can stifle debate, and that's

This popular delusion is seldom expressed as succinctly and completely as
the others discussed here, but it nevertheless commonly affects librarians'
thinking about free speech.  We frequently see it manifested in
professional listserv discussions like this: a strong critic is accused of
violating a speaker's right to free speech by "stifling debate."  He
"stifles debate" by arguing forcefully and confronting the speaker
personally and directly.  The ironic result is that the critic's speech -
and the overall debate - is stifled in the name of intellectual freedom.
The frequency with which this pattern is encountered in our profession is
an unfortunate sign of a certain narrowness among librarians in the range
of expression that, when the rubber meets the road, we actually do protect.
Our professional context should provide certain norms, but where these
norms restrict expression to an extent that important debates are prevented
from moving forward, it is worth noting and correcting.

But what about the original assertion that the critic, in arguing so
forcefully and directly against another speaker, really is stifling debate,
if that speaker ends up too intimidated to express his ideas fully and
effectively?  Isn't it true that the critic is stifling speech, and isn't
that contrary to intellectual freedom?

Yes and no.  The apparent paradox stems from the fact that as librarians we
are both individuals participating in the debates that shape society and
professionals fulfilling institutional roles.  In debates we sometimes care
only to participate in a shared process of thought, but we sometimes have a
definite and compelling interest in how things turn out; we care deeply
that our side in the argument should ultimately prevail, and are committed
to and prepared to make sacrifices for the outcome that we want.  That is
simply a part of life for a person who is fully and authentically engaged
with reality.  And it doesn't stop where our professional life begins, as
our profession, no less than our national and local politics, is filled
with controversial issues, profound questions, and pressing decisions that
will shape the future.

Our commitment to intellectual freedom is different from our right and
responsibility to participate in public and professional discourse.  It is
a part of our professional role; that is, it is a part of our commitment as
professionals to see to it that the institutions of which we are a part -
and society as a whole - supports and defends free expression.  This is in
the interest of everyone who has something to say and wants to hear what
others say - including ourselves.  Our professional ethic of intellectual
freedom supports the freedom of everyone in society - including librarians
- to express their ideas.  In our professional role, we support this and
create and maintain a space for expression; our professional role is
infrastructural.  But as individuals we use that space to listen and to
express ideas ourselves.

This is where we find the greatest significance in the fact that it is the
living, breathing, sometimes confrontational expression of ideas that we
protect, and not merely the "information" into which those ideas can be
denatured and encapsulated.  If the critic stifles the speech of his
opponent, it is due to the logic and power of his expression, and it is the
freedom of that expression that we protect, not merely the idea that can be
abstracted from it.  That is why when people try to help the critic by
entreating readers to "ignore the way he says it and just pay attention to
the idea he's expressing" (and I used to say this, before I had thought the
issue through in these terms) they are actually doing him - and ultimately
all of us - a disservice, because they are encouraging readers to make
dangerous ideas safe by removing them from the field of confrontation and
engagement and encapsulating them in the denatured field of "information."

Delusion number four: "The suppressed idea gains strength."

In the 1950's, when intellectual freedom activists were fighting
McCarthyism, anti-communists were urged to join the fight against
censorship with the argument that suppressing communist literature would
give energy and a strengthened sense of righteousness to the cause of
American communism, thus unintentionally helping it.  The argument that the
suppressed idea gains strength is still a mainstay of popular intellectual
freedom philosophy.  But is it true?  Clearly, injustice can produce
resoluteness among the oppressed.  But in our own history, did the stifling
of pro-slavery opinion in public debate result in a repopularization of the
idea of slavery?  Not at all.  As the institution of slavery lost its
expressions of support, its support died out.  It turns out that it is the
expression of an idea, not the suppression of an idea, that gives the idea

The distinction between stifling speech by arguing forcefully within a
debate and stifling debate institutionally relates to the idea of justice
here.  Institutional or governmental censorship or restriction of
expression, because they manifest injustice, can create a sense of energy
and resolve among the people it affects.  Our support for intellectual
freedom is, therefore, a matter of justice (though we should remember the
absurdity of the absolutist position).  But there is no injustice involved
in flattening your opponent in debate, if it is free and open debate that
accomplishes it.  Reason and personality both have a role, and there is no
reason why they shouldn't.  It is the freedom of life itself that we are
protecting in protecting free expression.

I hope that examining these four "popular delusions" has at least raised
some questions in people's minds about our relation to freedom of speech.


In discussing these issues, one of the things I've done is to defend speech
that's forceful enough to make people uncomfortable, often in a
professional context.  The issue of civility comes to many people's minds
when they encounter that kind of speech.  But the incivility of harsh
expression is related to, and often results from, another kind of
incivility, which is the incivility of inattention and dissociation.  The
more we fall into the habit of listening dissociatedly, so that what we
hear only registers as "information" crossing a screen and does not engage
us as a part of real life, the more a person for whom the real world
matters will have to intensify his expression in order to break through and
be heard.  Civility involves not only speaking to a person as though he is
already listening with attention, but listening with attention as well.

I welcome responses to this editorial and will consider publishing them in
the next issue.

3. LISNews Veers Right

In late February, Blake Carver of LISNews fame posted a notice on his site
advertising that he wanted to attract more conservative librarians to post
stories there. For those who don't know, is a popular
collaborative weblog for librarians focusing on technology issues and news
stories in the popular (non-professional) daily and weekly press.

Why did Blake want to attract more conservative contributors? His stated
reason was that he was tired of LISNews being a "liberal echo chamber"
dominated by left-leaning story-posters.

I had heard that crticism of Blake's site before, in angry comments by a
large collection of angry right wing users of the site. (It is possible to
leave comments to the stories posted on LISNews, and these comments are
what make the site lively and a forum for discussion.) Blake, perhaps
influenced by these folks, echoed this charge in his own unhappy estimation
of his site as a "liberal echo chamber."

So, he invited more conservatives (he specified that he wanted "intelligent
conservatives") to post stories on his site. He felt that his site was
"left of center" somehow, and he clearly did not like this. He did not
reveal how he determined what the political "center" is in librarianship or
what justified him in thinking that the balance of existing discourse
doesn't define that center by itself. It seems to me that Blake might
naively assume that the political center within the library profession
should be the same as the political center in American society at large,
and if it is not, that there is an adjustment to be made, and that he is
the guy to do it by providing a new vehicle for these "underrepresented"
conservative librarians to voice their profound opinions.

Blake proposed to start a special section of the site called
"," which he apparently would create as a place for
these conservative "authors" to post their stories - a rather neutral
sounding name for a decidedly conservative project, justified by the idea
that what already exists is "too left."

"" is now a working URL that will get you all of the
stories posted to LISNews under the "Politics" category. This includes
stories posted by a range of contributors to the site, more of them now
expressly conservative than in the recent past.

When Blake made his original announcement, I linked to it in Library Juice
and called it "Batty." It seemed batty to me for Blake to describe his own
site as a "liberal echo chamber" when to me it had for years seemed like
one of the more politically conservative sources of information relating to
librarianship available, in terms of the stories that were posted, but
especially the comments that people were leaving. The belligerant, "AM
Talk Radio" style of much if not most of the discussion on LISNews had led
me to stop posting stories there roughly a year earlier and to stop reading
the site almost completely. A year ago it already seemed, to me, that
LISNews had, far from being a "liberal echo chamber," been taken over by a
right wing librarian's militia group.

So, basically I am still disturbed by Blake's sentiments about his site and
about politics in the library community. It comes as a surprise and a
disappointment. If you are a reader of LISNews, I hope you will read it
with a critical eye and an awareness of this development.

Blake's original call to conservative librarians, and the comments left by
readers of the site, are at

Rory Litwin

4. Progress of the Open Letter calling for the US withdrawal from Iraq

Librarians for Peace had significant success with its open letters
expressing opposition to the war in Iraq. The first, in which librarians
collectively spoke out against the march to war, collected nearly 1900
signatures before the war began. The next, which called for a halt to the
war, attracted over 1200 signatures before we stopped accepting them.

The current open letter, calling for an end to the US occupation of Iraq, is
attracting signatures at a much slower pace, and now stands at a mere 290
or so. I am not sure why this is. Shortly after we began collecting
signatures, photographs showing the torture of Iraqi prisoners by US troops
were released to the press, providing a graphic and very difficult-to-deny
symbolism of the failure of our attempt to provide order and security in
Iraq (knowledge of which was already available to people who went to the
effort to read beyond the propaganda) and also severely deteriorated the
capacity of US troops to exist in Iraq with anything resembling peace
between them and the people they are told by their superiors that they are
there to help.

So, it seems to me the need for our pullout from Iraq is as clear as can be;
any chaos left in the wake of our departure would be better than the
chaos engendered by our presence.

So why the reluctance to sign the open letter? Is there really so much fear
of the US Government and what list your name might go on? If things have
deteriorated to the point that people are afraid to express their
opposition to the occupation, which is a matter of democratically decided
policy, then things have deteriorated to the point of intolerability and
there is no choice BUT to speak out.

So please go to the open letter on the web and sign it. We have decided to
send the statement to politicians and the progressive media when we reach
500 signatures. I hope that will be within the next few days.


5. The Larger Publicity of the Library (1916)

By Joesph L. Weeler, Librarian, Youngstown Public Library

Presented at the ALA Annual Conference in Asbury Park, New Jersey, 1916

At this late date, when librarianship has been an organized profession for
forty years, we are making a small beginning in what always has been and
always will be an important part of our work.  If the goal of the library
is to get as many good books read as possible; if the function of the
librarian is to get two books read where only one was read before; then the
library publicity is an ordinary, legitimate activity, calling for our best
interest and effort.  For, no matter how good his service, the librarian
can never hope to reach the mass of people without advertising his wares.
The this is true, proof may be found in some of our well thumbed pages of
library statistics, which show that even in those cities where the
libraries are working for larger use of books, less than a fifth of the
people are enrolled as library users.  We have only begun to do library
work, after these forty years.  If we omit all of the population which is
unable to read in any language, which is too young, too ill, to handicapped
by distance and circumstance, to use the libraries in our cities and towns,
can we prove to anyone that we have made much progress in our dealings with
the remaining large part of the population?
The time may come when the technique of getting books read will be taught in
library schools, along with instruction in marking numbers on their backs.  
One may arise among us and teach us the psychology of our profession, the
appeal of colored book-covers, the lure of the book-line that reaches out
to the sidewalk, the cause and cure of the craving for "something new," the
origin of dull seasons and rush hours, the mind of him who comes for a
light novel and takes away a biography of power and inspiration.  Publicity
is nothing more than the study of human nature, followed by a carefully
planned appeal to it.  A man in any other work or business would tell us
that if we librarians hope to achieve a greater use of books, we should
make more study of human nature, and more appeal to it.
A feeling still lingers in some corners that library publicity is a fad, a
side-issue, a running after newspaper glory and large figures of
circulation.  It is true that we still are so elated over the publication
of a booklist, circular, or news story, that our delight must often appear
elementary even to our fellow workers.  But it is not true that library
publicity aims at size rather than quality of circulation, or that
circulation of books is a less worthy object than their use in the library
building.  Why not assume that publicity can increase both quality and
quantity of reading, that it can make steady book users out of persons who
have previously used books but little, that it can be directed to building
up reference work itself?
One thinks first of the publicity which works directly for a larger use of
books.  Even more important, in some respects, and in the long run, is the
publicity which works for a larger public understanding of the library
itself, and what it is trying to do.  In all too many instances librarians
are reminded of this public understanding and support only when the city
council is voting on the annual appropriate.  Why is it that in a great
many cities and towns, the playgrounds, the public schools, the social
centers, the Christian associations, and all the rest of the agencies for
social advance, receive so much more attention than the library?  Why is it
that the state experiment stations can send out a column of news that
describes the county adviser as a distributor of agricultural literature,
and have the column appear in every newspaper in the state, when a news
story on the same topic, if sent out by librarians, is almost sure to be
ignored by the editors?  The answer is that though we ourselves take our
work with tremendous seriousness, we have not yet made much of a dent in
public opinion.
It is only natural that a community where the library has followed a quiet
course of handing out volumes to those who ask for them, distributing
well-made booklists from the desk, trying to operate the library
economically and according to the rules of Hoyle, we should become most
oblivious to the great question: What is our real standing in the
community, as a vital factor in the life of every citizen?  It is easy to
delude oneself into thinking that the small number who use the library are
typical of the whole population.  It is hard to realize that even among the
crowds who are already borrowing library books, few know anything of the
purpose, the plans and the methods of the work for which they themselves
are paying.  The library plays such a small part in the public mind, as
compared with schools, for instance, that to the nine out of ten, education
and school are completely synonymous terms.  Chambers of commerce, women's
clubs, and improvement societies gather to discuss and argue about the Gary
system, vocational schools, the platoon plan.  Librarians probably hope
that the time will never come when the public will assemble to discuss the
proper aims, methods and finances of library work.  Perhaps it would be
better for us if they did.  Perhaps, our well-meaning efforts to do just
the right thing for our "dear public," we have built a fence around our
profession and have left our public too much on the outside.
To come down to facts instead of speculations, the public must know more
about the library and the librarians, as well as about the books, if we are
to gain a place in the sun.  Conversely, unless the librarian himself has
the outward vision, unless he studies and loves the crowd, and has his
finger on the pulse of the community, he will find it slow work to build up
enthusiasm, interest and support for his institution.  The personal element
plays a large part in library work, all the way up and down the staff.  But
nowhere is it so important as in the attitude which the librarian has
toward one hundred per cent of his fellow citizens.  People do not have to
come to the library; they do not have to read books.  There is no legal,
social or moral obligation to use the library.  We must use suggestion,
attraction, enthusiasm and satisfaction, if we are to lead an ever growing
stream of people to the open book, and secure for our libraries the
increasing support to which they are entitled.
What then, more definitely, are some of the things which the librarian may
do in this direction?  Beginning close at home he can undertake to make
each of his trustees into an active and zealous missionary.  It is no easy
matter.  It is the librarian's self-punishment, that his willing,
interested and conscientious trustee too often reflects the lukewarm
attitude of the public.  Rather should trustees act as bearers of the great
truth that the library is vital to the community.  Nothing can reveal to
the librarian with such dismaying clearness his own neglect of this
opportunity, as to have his trustees, perhaps at the threshold of some new
development, assume that the library is doing well enough, that the public
will not pass a bond issue, will not increase the millage, or that the city
officials will not grant a larger appropriation, when current library
practice points forward.  With their standing in the community, the
confident and outspoken leadership that trustees could take before the
public, would be a new and priceless asset to most librarians.  It is well
to have the librarian given the responsibility for running the library.  
But we have made another great step toward an ideal situation when we know
that each trustee is an active co-worker in some of these larger problems.
For the good of the library we have duties to our trustees other than making
a weekly or monthly report.  We must inform and inspire them, that they in
turn may help us teach the public what the library means.  We can keep them
abreast with current library practice.  We may inflict an occasional
library magazine article on them.  Bring them to the library between
meetings, and visit them in their offices, not to bother them with
troubles, but to tell them of constructive hopes, plans and problems, and
to have them share the pleasure of directing the work, and realizing what
it means in the community.

One would hardly need to add, if it were not so often overlooked, that the
staff members are likewise indespensible helpers in winning public opinion.  
A recent article in a library magazine gives the warning that staff members
should not have their first knowledge of the librarian's policies from news
articles or from readers.  Beside the embarrassment of the assistants in
having what they regard as their business told them from outside, the
public cannot escape the thought that the librarian is not closely enough
in touch with his own family of workers.
There are conditions and developments of a general enough nature to allow
the librarian to take his staff into his confidence, to some extent,
especially in the smaller libraries.  While it is difficult to know just
how far to go, and one must be sure of himself, it is probably true that
nearly every librarian could benefit by a larger discussion of general
library problems with his staff.
Such an attitude would surely be reflected in the attitude of the staff
toward the public, and in turn in the attitude of the public toward the
library.  The business man, especially, knows the value of team work in
store or factory, and respects it in the library.  Business men would take
more interest in the library if they were shown how library operation
follows many of the methods of business itself.  To mention a few, there
are: buying, turnover of stock, advertising, organization, operating costs,
scientific layout of the working space, and good-will.  This is a good
outline of topics on which to base a talk before business organizations.  A
librarian ought to take advantage of every possible opportunity to appear
before groups of business men, not only to encourage them to a larger
personal use of the library, but even more to let this large class of
citizens know something about the library's purpose.
In attempting to reach the business men, and indeed, in trying to uproot the
whole of the old-fashioned idea that a library is merely a storehouse for
novels and cultural books, we often have the appearance of going to the
other extreme and emphasizing far too strongly the mere dollar value of
library books.  But is it not true, after all, that this emphasis is more
apparent than real?  It would be hard to find a library, which in
developing its work with artisans, engineers, business men, has really
neglected or even slackened its efforts to make the library what it always
must be, a center and source of culture.
The emphasis on the dollar is natural and necessary.  Though it may have
been especially noticeable of late, it is doubtful if it will be abated.  
We cannot change human nature to meet our little ideas of what books people
should read.  Nor is there anything about our work which we can tell with
such force, as the stories of men and women who find library books of some
use in earning their daily bread, and in solving the merely physical,
commercial problems that are to be found in every city and town.  It does
no good to stand proudly aloof from the crowd, whispering about culture and
the classics.  It does do good to meet the crowd on the basis of its
work-a-day interests, and to have enough understanding and sympathy with
its point of view, to be able to say in an effective way, "Here, too, are
books for you.  Books that will refresh and inspire., though they may not
make your pay check larger."  We take pride in knowing the single reader
and his tastes.  But we are on the right road when we try to know the taste
and feeling of the great hundred per cent.
Therefore we must forever emphasize the mere commercial value of our work,
in keeping the library in the public mind.  It is because the public mind
cares most for this presentation.  There are three publicity methods which
seem especially successful, and which have as one of their central motives
this work-a-day value of books.  The first of these has just had its best
example in the Library Week that was carried out this spring by the joint
efforts of the Toledo Public Library and Chamber of Commerce.  We all know
that in any town or city, the mass of people has practically no
understanding of the library.  It is reasonable to say that now, in Toledo,
there is practically no one who has not at least heard of the library.  The
whole town was aroused an interested in the library.  The business men were
not only interested, but they did much of the actual planning and work.  
The Chamber of Commerce stood shoulder to shoulder with the library.  Not
that the library needed moral support, but that Business felt its personal
connection with the realm of books.  This campaign consisted of a whole
week of widespread and active publicity of all kinds.  There were
circulars, posters, book-lists, window displays, a proclamation by the
mayor, public meetings and speeches about the library.  There were signs on
the street cars, even.  What librarian with the outward vision, can help
wishing to follow so notable an example?
Yet it is possible that there are still a few who murmur to themselves,
"This is not the library work of my grandfather's day."  Even these would
be inclined to approve of the second method that seems worth mention.  This
is the public exhibition of diagrams, charts and other material which shows
what the library does with books and money.  The purpose of such exhibits
is not the larger use of books, except as an indirect result, but to tell
the story that will bring greater interest and support for the library
itself.  Something is needed for the guidance of librarians in the
preparation of such exhibits, and it is probable that the Publicity
Committee of the Association will undertake something of this sort.  At
least the smaller cities, and many of the larger ones, could well use a
traveling exhibit, as the nucleus for their local effort.  The things which
work most for success will be: choosing the few forcible facts and
presenting them forcibly; the use of few and brief legends; the use of bold
and clear-cut lettering, which should be done by an expert; the placing of
the exhibit where it will be seen by the greatest number.  Even the most
conservative librarian could feel that exhibits of this sort were
appropriate and useful, and they could be carried out in every community.
The third method is one which has been used in many cities, with marked
success.  This is the display of library books in store windows, to
increase the use of books.  By making a change in the display, the emphasis
can be thrown onto the library and its work, as well as on the appeal of
the books themselves.  This means the use of placards and small diagrams
which tell the important things about the library: How it is supported, how
it spends its money, how it is used, increases in use, decreases in
operating costs.  In preparing window exhibits take advantage of the help
that the advertising men and window-trimmers can give.  In one city, at
least, this cooperation went to the length of preparing a scene form a
reader's home, with father and mother reading in their arm-chairs, while in
the foreground a little girl lay at full length, reading "Alice in
Wonderland."  In this instance the library's exhibit occupied an entire
window in a large department store, and during the same week ten other
windows, equally valuable, were given to the library by other merchants.
The money value of such cooperation meant the loss of hundreds of dollars
to the stores, and simply shows that though they would never grant such a
privilege to anyone else, they regard the library as on a different basis
from other organizations, and are glad to help it.

This is not the best time to discuss the details of actual publicity.  The
point is, that we have lying at our hands many means for showing the public
something of our plans, methods and purposes, and this education of the
public is worth the time and trouble which it takes.
All of our plans, hopes, labor, for adequate appropriates come to their
climax when the town or city council takes its vote on the annual budget.  
The fortunes of the average town or city library are practically dependent
on a very few men, and most of all on the finance committee of the council.  
Librarians can well depart from the usual American custom of electing men
to the City Hall, and then charging them, in a vague and careless way, with
being dishonest, small minded and incompetent.  The men who make the city
appropriations are perhaps as honest and conscientious as we could desire,
if we only took the trouble to find out.  The librarian is only one of the
swarm of busy bees who sing loudly at the councilman's ears at budget time,
and if he pays more attention to the ones who sing loudest, who shall blame
The librarian's hum is not very loud, sad to say, and his singing seldom
arouses any loud echoes from the public, we must admit, still more sadly.  
When we make library service mean as much to the public as schools do now,
we may expect the same outspoken demands for more support, and complaints
at any cuts in the budget.
Be actually acquainted with councilmen, or supervisors, or selectmen, or
whatever their titles are.  Know the city hall and its workers and their
work.  They will doubtless be as much interested in you and your work as
you are in them, and not any more so.  The librarian's temptation is to
look on all the office holders as politicians, in the unhappy sense of the
word, and to forget that he too must be a politician, but in the good sense
of the word.
We need to go to council meeting, once or twice a year, to find out how
little a part of the library plays in the grist of motions for street
openings, paving, more police protection, tax payer's complaints, and all
the rest.  Interest the President of the council, and ask him for ten or
fifteen minutes out of some session, so that you can give the members a
bird's-eye view of the library system, what it means, how you buy books,
how a budget is divided, how the accounts and bills are handled, how your
library ranks with others in various respects.  If you have any forcible
figures or comparisons, perhaps they can be made into a large diagram that
can be shown.  One showing the population growth, and the increase in
library support as compared with the growth of circulation, could be used
to advantage in a great many cities.  These men are busy, they are not
predisposed to give their time, but on the other hand they will give close
attention and be much interested and impressed by short, plain talk, that
touches the main points.
Over and over, councilmen have been invited to visit libraries.  It would be
interesting to count noses and find out how many councilmen have ever been
inside the libraries to which they apportion money.  In one city, several
invitations having had no effect, the library board descended upon the
council chamber and brought the members to the building in their
automobiles.  Surprise at the amount of patronage was followed by deep
interest in the methods of handling the work and helping readers in
different departments.  Still the wonder grew, as these men watched the
steady stream of borrowers, that the library was doing so great and useful
a work, and that library books are not all novels, by any means.
The librarian can maintain a mutually helpful acquaintance with many city
officials and show them forcibly the value of the library if he makes a
point of seeing that the library service connects directly with the
problems, at least the occasional and important problems, which come before
the council and its committees.  The larger library is able to do this much
more successfully than the small.  But the small library can often select a
topic which is sure to interest the public very widely and deeply, and
endeavor to make the books, pamphlets, and reports of some actual
The campaign with mayor and council and city officers is not a temporary or
sporadic thing, therefore.  It ought to be based on a continuous
acquaintance with the men in authority, and find its expression in
ever-renewed efforts to show them the relative importance of the library in
a well organized community.
Last of all, and very briefly, what about the librarian himself?
We have heard that the librarian should spend fifty per cent of his time
inside of his building and fifty per cent of his time outside.  Certainly
every library worker feels the ever-lasting necessity of more books, the
acquaintance with the inside of books, better service, attention to a host
of details, and all the rest.  It is in the worthy desire to perfect
service that he forgets the people outside.  Out of each day, or from his
week, he should hold inviolate a few minutes, in an hour or two, in which
he can forget details and project his mind into the community mind, get his
ear to the heart of the crowd.
After all, the librarian is the library's greatest advertiser.  To join the
local historical, literary and scientific societies, has always been held
in good repute.  Join also the Chamber of Commerce, or the leading civic
and business organizations of the city, not with the notion that mere
membership produces support for the library, but to take active part in
work that helps the people, and thereby show that the librarian is human as
well as being a librarian.  (Both in and out of libraries this interesting
doubt still seems to exist in some localities.)  We ought to seek and
accept every opportunity to appear personally before clubs, social,
business, religious organizations, labor unions, foreign societies and all
other groups.  We cannot stifle the personal element out of library work.  
We cannot even use the newspapers successfully without injecting the
personal name, the human interest into them.  The value of interviews, the
personal touch, is understood well enough by newspaper men and by everyone
but librarians, many of whom possess a false modesty that is based on
self-consciousness rather than on the good of the library.  
There should be no specialists on library publicity.  Every librarian must
be a publicity man, with his heart in the work of reaching his people.  The
motive of publicity is the great democratic ideal of librarianship.  It is
a sound, healthy, helpful motive.  It is only a reflection of our chosen
motto, under whose inspiration we have all bee striving these many years.

L I B R A R Y   J U I C E

ISSN 1544-9378

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