Library Juice 7:27 - December 31, 2004


1. Links.....
2. Sri Lankan Libraries Need Urgent Assistance
3. Polish Librarians Association appeal to Cuban "colleagues" & response
4. Ed D'Angelo's response to "A Critique of 'Anarchist Librarianship'"
5. Library Cooperation (1901)

Quote for the week:

"The demand for 'relevance' by the Social Responsibilities Round Table,
and related movements in the ALA, can be traced back to the nineteenth-
century faith in the public library as a social force that would, through
the promotion of reading, save mankind from poverty, crime, vice,
alcoholism, and almost every other evil to which flesh is heir. But a
more striking parallel to the present day unrest is to be found in the
pleas of the young librarians for social action during the 1930s, for
ferment was also taking place in the profession during that decade. The
storms of crisis that battered the American economy during the last years
of the Hoover Administration and the first years of Roosevelt's promoted
an awareness that the library had sociological roots, and that the
librarian should have a vigorous and vocal social consciousness."

Jesse Shera, _The Foundations for education in librarianship_. 1972,
Becker and Hayes, Inc. (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.)

Homepage of the week: Scott Douglas


1. Links.....


Commentary on the Google news...

Google and God's Mind
By Michael Gorman
LA Times, December 17, 2004,1,7568022.story?coll=la-news-comment-opinions [ Sent to me by Michael Gorman ]

Googlizers vs. Resistors [Library Journal]
[ Bernie Sloan to COLLIB-L ]

Something fishy with Google library project
[ found surfing ]

"Googleizing" libraries won't replace books....
[ Julie Woodling to COLLIB-L ]

NY Times Editorial: The Electronic Library
December 21, 2004
[ Don Wood to IFACTION ]

Commentary on the my article from the blog "But I fear more for Muninn..."

[ found in my logs ]


Internet Archive to build alternative to Google
By Mark Chillingworth [21-12-2004]
Information World Review, December 30, 2004

[ Library Link of the Day - ]


interActions: UCLA Journal of Education and Information Studies

[ from Fiona Bradley to the JESSE list ]


Iraq's library struggles to rise from the ashes,,1377743,00.html

[ Fred Stoss to the SRRT list ]


"Help Save Iraq's Modern Art"

[ Don Wood to IFACTION ]


From the Campus to the Commons
By Michael Gaworecki, WireTap. Posted December 20, 2004.

[ Paul Nielson to Vancouver, BC's Universal Access list ]

----- - Library History

[ found surfing ]


Is Illiteracy So Bad?
By Scott Douglas
The Morning News (online magazine)
12 January 2004

[ found surfing ]

2. Sri Lankan Libraries Need Urgent Assistance

Sri Lanka plunged in to crisis as giant tidal waves lashed the
southern, northern, and eastern coasts of the country causing over 12000
deaths and massive lost of property. The sudden rise in sea-level, a
phenomenon known as tsunami, had been unleashed by a massive earthquake
measured at 8.9 Richter scale, near northern Sumatra, Indonesia at 6.58
a.m. (Sri Lankan time) on Sunday 26th December 2004. According to the US
Geological survey this was the fifth largest quake for a century and the
biggest for 40 years. A wall of water as high as 50 feet triggered by
the earthquake hit the Sri Lankan coast around 9.45 a.m. (Sri Lankan
time). In some areas in Sri Lanka the killer waves had traveled as far
as 5 kilometers inland and sucked in almost every thing standing in its
way. It is estimated that over one million people in the country have
been affected by this phenomenal tragedy. Amidst this catastrophe a
large number of school libraries, community libraries, children
libraries, public libraries, libraries belong to religious institutions
and a large number of private/home libraries in the affected areas
either have either been completely destroyed or severely affected.

In this hour of calamity the National Library and Documentation
Services Board (NLDSB) of Sri Lanka seeks assistance from the
international community and especially from the IFLA members to
reconstruct/repair the damaged libraries and the restoration of the
damaged books and other library material. According to the preliminary
estimates the damage to the buildings and to the other infrastructure
facilities is huge and the donations in the form of either library
material or financial assistance are sought from the international
library community. Monetary donations can be sent to the NLDSB account
no. 00251620073963 at the Peoples Bank, Park Street Branch, Colombo, Sri
Lanka. Further details please. contact Upali Amarasiri, Director
General, NLDSB, 14, Independence Avenue, Colombo 7. Sri Lanka. Website ,, E-mail dg[at] Tel. 94
11 2687581, Facsimile 94 11 2685201. Many thanks in advance for your

National Library and Documentation Services Board, Sri Lanka

Upali Amarasiri
Director General
National Library and Documentation Centre and
National library and Documentation Services Board, Sri Lanka

3. Polish Librarians Association appeal to Cuban "colleagues" & response


In solidarity with protests voiced by IFLA and influential
personalities of public life, the Polish Librarians Association
is expressing deep concern for the events of sentencing several
Cuban librarians to serve exceptionally lengthy prison terms for
the charge of organizing independent libraries. The actions of
the Cuban authorities relate to the worst traditions of repressing
the freedom of thought, expression and information exchange,
exercised by all regimes throughout the history. These repressions
are a violation of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights of December 10, 1948, which states:

"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this
right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to
seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and
regardless frontiers."

The measures of the Cuban government are aimed not only against the
persecuted librarians, but also against users, whose access to
alternative media and publications thus becomes constrained. Shutting
independent libraries impoverishes the cultural life of the Cuban
Nation, which it is guaranteed by Paragraph 1 of Article 27 of the
above Declaration:

"Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of
the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement
and its benefits."

The Polish Librarians Association is appealing for uniting the efforts
of all individuals and organizations, which treasure freedom of
expression and intellectual independence.


We are demanding the release of our fellow Cuban librarians!
We are reminding you that the imprisonment of intellectuals is a
disgrace to the original ideas of the Cuban revolution!

The Presidium of the Main Management of the Polish Librarians

Translated by Marta Sobieszek
Source: (

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

Letter to Polish LA from international librarians

December 20, 2004

Dear Colleagues of the Polish Librarians Association:

(We are sorry we were unable to get this letter
translated into Polish.)

Your "Appeal for Cuban Librarians", dated December 10,
2004 is misguided in a number of ways. As a group of
international librarians with knowledge of the issue,
this concerns us deeply. We are disappointed to find
that your statement seems oblivious to the truth of
the situation regarding Cuba's so-called "independent

The individuals whose release from prison you are
demanding are neither "librarians" nor victims of the
repression of their intellectual freedom or their
freedom of expression. They are individuals who were
convicted of accepting funding from a foreign
government for the purpose of aiding the United States
in its plan for "regime change" in Cuba, NOT for
operating libraries, having books or practicing

Cuban law criminalizes the foreign funding of its
political process, as do the laws of the United States
and many other countries. The evidence that proves
that these individuals accepted funds and equipment
from the U.S.government and its agencies is
irrefutable. Similar activities by people in the
United States - and perhaps in your own country? -
would certainly also result in prosecution and prison
terms. No government in the world would allow its
political process to be subverted by another, simply
because the individuals choose to cynically call
themselves "librarians."

You may or may not be aware in 2004 alone, over $34
million of U.S. taxpayer money was spent to support
"regime change" activities against the sovereign
nation of Cuba through the USAID. Some of
this money goes directly to support the so-called
"independent libraries" in Cuba. United States
librarians Rhonda Neugebauer and Larry Oberg have
investigated more than twenty of the "independent
libraries" and found them to be neither "libraries,"
nor "independent" of U.S government funding. (See
"Payment for Services Rendered" at
Others of us who have studied the situation can
confirm the truth of their findings. (see also

The very people who call themselves "independent
librarians" alternately call themselves "independent
journalists," "independent trade unionists" and other
self-aggrandizing titles, but the goal in each case is
the same: aiding the U.S. in it attempts to overthrow
the Cuban government.

We note with interest that none of these so-called
"independent librarians" has ever been associated
with a real library. It is also quite interesting
that not a single genuine Cuban librarian or library
worker has joined this group of "independents."

We think you are terribly mistaken in your judgments
and that, sadly, your "appeal" will harm the Cuban
people as well as the real libraries and librarians of
Cuba, who are your true colleagues. We trust that you
will take into consideration our opinions - among us
are U.S. colleagues who know best the activities of
our own government with regard to Cuba. The Canadian
Library Association, the American Library
Association, the Chartered Institute of Library and
Information Professionals (UK) have all thoroughly
considered the issue over a number of years and have
not taken a position such as yours.

We, your international colleagues, urge you to
reconsider your position, or at least to continue to
dialog with us on this issue.


Manuel Bello
Mexico DF

Marcel Bertolesi
Documentation Cetner Peace and Justice Service
Foundation (SERPAJ-AR)
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Brian Campbell
Systems and Special Projects Director
Vancouver Public Library

Norma Viviana Cancino
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Tatiana Carsen
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Elaine Harger
Mount Si High School

Rory Litwin
Humanities Librarian
University of Minnesota, Duluth

Dana Lubow
Los Angeles Valley College Library

Michael Malinconico
Professor, School of Library and Information Studies
University of Alabama
ALA Councilor-at-Large

Prof. Bib. Silvia Maria Mateo
School of Library Science
Faculty of Philosophy and Humanities
National University of Cordoba

Oscar Maya Corzo
Mexico D.F.

Felipe Meneses
Professor. Library Science College
National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)

Rhonda Neugebauer
University of California, Riverside

Larry Oberg
University Librarian Emeritus
Willamette University
Oregon, USA

John Pateman
Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Library and
Information Professionals (CILIP)

Mark Rosenzweig
Councilor-At-Large, ALA
Editor, Progressive Librarian

Ann Sparanese
Englewood (NJ) Public Library

Lorena Torres Rivera
Mexico DF

Thomas Twiss
Government Information Librarian,
University of Pittsburgh

Martin Vera
Mexico DF

(Affiliations for Identification Purposes Only)

To add your name to this letter, please write John Pateman at

4. Ed D'Angelo's response to "A Critique of 'Anarchist Librarianship'"

Editor's note: Two issues ago I published a critique of the idea of
"Anarchist Librarianship" and invited Jessamyn West and Ed D'Angelo,
two anarchist librarians whom I respect, to write a response for
publication. Jessamyn was too busy, but Ed found time to write a
lengthy and well-thought-out rebuttal to my argument. I find it
challenging in many respects and unfair in others, and so I plan to
respond to it in an upcoming issue.

My essay from Library Juice 7:25 of two issues ago is here:

Here is Ed's essay.....

A Response to Rory Litwin's "A Critique of 'Anarchist Librarianship'"

By Ed D'Angelo

Although a debate between anarchist and state socialist librarians may have
some merit, I believe it is important to keep in mind that in the larger
scheme of things anarchist and state socialist librarians are on the same
side of the fence. When it comes down to specific issues, both are likely to
agree more often than they disagree. Both are opposed to imperialism,
racism, and economic injustice. Both are struggling for social justice in
the face of intractable powers. Both are "leftists." Both are "socialists."
While there may be differences in short term tactics, there is substantial
overlap as well; and their ultimate goals may be the same. The greatest
state socialist of them all, Karl Marx, believed that the state would
eventually wither away. It would therefore unnecessarily weaken their cause
to create schisms or factions when they could be cooperating with one
another instead.

In the larger scheme of things, both anarchists and state socialists stake
out positions that seem counterintuitive if not absurd to the great majority
of Americans. Both anarchists and state socialists reject the capitalist
system that so many Americans take for granted. But in some ways state
socialism is even more alien to Americans than anarchism. So it makes little
sense for state socialists to attack anarchism by appealing to what is
popularly regarded as "common sense." It would be easy enough for anarchists
to turn the tables on state socialists by pointing out the ways in which
state socialism contradicts cherished American values. Individualism and
anti-statism run deep in American culture. But anarchism is much more
compatible than state socialism with individualism and anti-statism. The
American dream of individual freedom is closely related to the right to
private property. State socialists do not recognize the right to private
property. And neither do communist anarchists. But at least the communist
anarchists value individual freedom. State socialists do not (or at least
that's what most Americans believe). Individualist anarchists believe that
private property becomes exploitative only when the state interferes with
the market. They believe that a truly free market would not produce unjust
levels of inequality. Individualist anarchism is closely related to the same
classic liberal economic principles that were embraced by the founding
fathers in their opposition to British mercantilism. But state socialism is
radically opposed to those principles.

Lest we forget due to the insidious nature of our conditioning, we must
remember that the American system of indoctrination, psychological
conditioning, surveillance and control is the most powerful that has ever
been devised in human history. The same technologies of information that we
as librarians are so familiar with, centrally controlled by capitalist and
state institutions, contribute mightily to this conditioning. Our
conditioning extends well beyond our conscious beliefs and opinions,
extending deep into our imagination, our visceral and emotional responses,
even into our muscles and our posture. Shaking this conditioning off is
arduous enough, but trying to survive in a culture that is at odds with you
once you have managed to shake off small bits of your cultural armor is even
more treacherous. (See the works of Michel Foucault, such as Discipline and
Punish, for a history of modern techniques of social control, including the
production of discourse; on body armor, read Wilhelm Reich, starting with
The Mass Psychology of Fascism.)

Being labeled an "anarchist" in certain contexts is comparable to being
called a communist during the McCarthy era. It conjures up false stereotypes
and prejudices. It carries social sanctions and even a risk of police
actions. There are cases of anarchists who have been investigated by the
police just because they call themselves anarchists and were planning to
attend protests. There are cases in which the police used false charges to
preemptively raid anarchist organizations prior to planned protests. There
are cases in which the police have assaulted anarchists during such raids
and investigations.

These are some of the reasons why I believe it is important for marginal
voices to support one another in their opposition to the prevailing opinions
of our culture, even if those marginal voices differ from one another in
small but ultimately insignificant ways.

In a recent article, Rory Litwin argued that there are inherent
contradictions in the idea of anarchist librarianship. Rory argued that
large-scale organization is necessary in order to maintain standards in
libraries and that without these standards libraries would cease to be
libraries. Furthermore he argues that large scale organization is impossible
without centralized, hierarchical, coercive authority. Since anarchists
reject centralized, hierarchical, coercive authority (paradigmatically, but
not exclusively, the state) he argues that an anarchist library is an
impossibility and that therefore there can be no anarchist librarians.

To this argument my response in sum is that Rory has only shown that
libraries as they have evolved in state dominated societies in the past
century depend to some extent upon centralized, hierarchical authorities,
including the federal government. He has not shown nor could he show that
all libraries necessarily depend upon such structures of authority. He could
not show this because history is replete with counterexamples. Even today,
amidst the most powerful state in history, there exist counterexamples.
Hundreds of anarchist infoshops have opened up around the world in the past
couple of decades. But even the corporate chain bookstores offer a
counterexample, insofar as they serve as reading rooms for many people and
are not organized according to MARC records or any other library
classification scheme maintained by the government. Of course, the corporate
chain bookstores are massively centralized, hierarchical institutions, but
they do not conform to standards established or maintained by the
government. And they are relatively recent arrivals on the American
bookstore scene. Until recently there were still many small, independent
bookstores in America, including many operated by a sole proprietor.

I find it especially surprising that a radical would commit the fallacy of
confusing what necessarily is the case from what in fact is the case. This
fallacy is the first one used against radicals of all kinds. It is always
argued by conservatives that what is the case, the present state of society,
is the way that things must always be. Edmund Burke argued that reason is
too fallible to guide us through social change. We are better off not
imagining alternatives, because we can never know where change may lead us.
The devil you know is better than the devil you don't. But radicals are not
conservatives. We are comfortable entertaining ideals that contradict
present reality.

Even assuming that libraries depend upon large scale organization, I would
argue, as Jessamyn West did, that although anarchists reject coercive
authority, they do not necessarily reject organization, even on a large
scale. I will go even further and argue that they don't necessarily reject
hierarchical organization, so long as it is a hierarchy without coercive
authority. There is a long history of debate within the anarchist tradition
over the relationship between coercive authority and organization that is
worth briefly reviewing. Some anarchists have argued that any kind of social
organization ultimately leads to hierarchy and coercive authority. These
anarchists, the "individualists," therefore reject social organization, at
least on a large scale. Among the individualists were Max Stirner, who you
mentioned, the American individualist anarchists such as Benjamin Tucker,
who allow for organization at the level of a small businesses but not
beyond, and the Italian anarchist Luigi Galleani. Others have argued that
organization on a large scale is possible without coercive authority. The
communist anarchists, starting with Peter Kropotkin, believed that it would
be possible to organize community groups into a federation. Among the
American Indians, the Mohawk Nation successfully organized its component
tribes into a federation. A federation as Kropotkin conceives it does not
have the coercive power to impose its will upon its component communities.
There is no federal police force. The federation exists as a forum in which
representatives from component communities may express their opinions,
exchange ideas and information, and attempt to reach consensus. If the
federation does not reach consensus each component community is free to act
independently. As in the anarchist vision of federation, the Mohawk
Federation operated on the basis of consensus, with no federal authority
capable of imposing its will on component tribes.

The nineteenth century Italian anarchist movement was divided between
individualists such as Luigi Galleani and those, such as the communist
anarchist Enrico Malatesta, who believed that organization, even on a large
scale, was possible without coercive authority. But both the individualists
and the communist anarchists were opposed to "legalitarian socialism" or to
socialism by means of the political process. It is a misrepresentation of
anarchist history, however, to argue as if all anarchists were opposed to
all forms of organization. Equally so, it would be unfair to portray all
anarchists as violent. The classic stereotype of the anarchist as a man in a
long, dark coat with a round bomb in his hand is probably derived from a
wave of violence committed and approved by some (but by no means all)
individualist anarchists around the turn of the last century. Like
terrorists today they operated with a loose cell structure rather than a
centralized, hierarchical structure that can be easily toppled by removing
the head. Malatesta, however, insisted that anarchists "must be inspired and
guided by sentiments of love, love for all men," because "love is the moral
foundation, the soul of our program." Violence might be inevitable, and
might even topple the existing system, but "if it does not find a
counterpoise in the revolutionaries who strive for an ideal, such a
revolution will devour itself. Hate does not produce love, and with hate the
world cannot be renewed. The revolution of hate, either will fail
completely, or will produce a new oppression that could even call itself
anarchical . . . but would not be any less oppressive for this fact, and it
would not fail to produce the effects that every oppression produces."
(Malatesta, quoted by Nunzio Pernicone in "Italian Anarchism: 1864-1892", p.

From the point of view of individualist anarchism, Rory's argument fails
because libraries (like any other act of human labor) can not only exist
without large scale organizations, but would flourish without them, since
large scale organizations, on their view, are an inevitable source of
oppression. From the point of view of the communist anarchists (the more
common view in North American anarchist circles today), Rory's argument
fails because, as Jessamyn West pointed out, the lack of a coercive
authority, such as the state, does not necessarily translate into a lack of
organization, even on a large scale.

Most anarchists in North America are well acquainted with the communist
anarchist concept of federation. What is less well known is Malatesta's
distinction between administration and government. Just as the concept of
federation offers an example of large-scale organization without coercive
authority, so too does the concept of administration. According to
Malatesta, any large-scale organization requires a vertical, hierarchical
division of labor between managers or administrators and production workers.
It is important to highlight here that Malatesta does allow for hierarchical
organizations within an anarchist society. But it is a hierarchy without
coercion or domination because it is based on voluntary compliance with an
authority of competency or knowledge rather than power. In this case
Malatesta's model would be, not the Mohawk Nation, but a modern industrial
factory. Needless to say, the modern industrial factory was rife with
oppressive features that any anarchist would reject. However, what Malatesta
retains from this model is the principle of authority of competency or
professional authority. Contrary to popular stereotypes, anarchists of all
stripes recognize authority of competency. What they universally reject is
an authority based in power alone. Assuming a physician knows more than you
do about medicine, an anarchist would advise you to follow his orders.
Similarly, a factory worker would be foolish not to follow the instructions
of the engineer who designed his equipment. Malatesta would argue that it is
authority of competency that allows large-scale organizations to function,
not authority of power. Power is a negative force, a destructive force,
whereas competency is a positive force, an ability to create or bring into

It is worth quoting Malatesta at length on the difference between
administration and government:

"Of course in every large collective undertaking, a division of labor,
technical management, administration, etc., is necessary. But authoritarians
clumsily play on words to produce a raison d'etre for government out of the
very real need for the organization of work. Government, it is well to
repeat it, is the concourse of individuals who have had, or have seized, the
right and the means to make laws and to oblige people to obey; the
administrator, the engineer, etc., instead are people who are appointed or
assume the responsibility to carry out a particular job and do so.
Government means the delegation of power, that is the abdication of
initiative and sovereignty of all into the hands of a few; administration
means the delegation of work, that is tasks given and received, free
exchange of services based on free agreement. The governor is a privileged
person since he has a right to command others and to make use of the efforts
of others to make his ideas and his personal wishes prevail; the
administrator, the technical director, etc., are workers like the rest, that
is, of course, in a society in which everyone has equal means to develop and
that all are or can be at the same time intellectual and manual workers, and
that the only differences remaining between men are those which stem from
the natural diversity of aptitudes, and that all jobs, all functions give an
equal right to the enjoyment of social possibilities. Let one not confuse
the function of government with that of an administration, for they are
essentially different, and if today the two are often confused, it is only
because of economic and political privilege." (Malatesta, "Anarchy," pp.
39-40. Freedom Press, 1974.)

The anarchists - even the communist anarchists - agree with free market
theorists that whatever the government does the people can do better through
voluntary associations. The claim that government is necessary in order to
organize production or services on a large scale is more akin to Leninism.
For example, Lenin believed that the German state postal system provided a
model for an ideal state bureaucratic system (see the chapter on bureaucracy
on my website for an extended discussion of Lenin's
conception of state bureaucracy). Lenin wished to organize the entire Soviet
economy on the model of the German postal system. Malatesta on the other
hand is confident that the people can organize a postal system better
themselves without the aid of government:

". . . the government takes over the responsibilities of the postal
services, the railways and so on. But in what way does it help these
services? When the people are enabled to enjoy them, and feel the need for
these services, they think about organizing them, and the technicians don't
need a government license to get to work. And the more the need is universal
and urgent, the more volunteers will there be to carry it out. If the people
had the power to deal with the problems of production and food supplies, oh!
have no fear that they might just die of hunger waiting for a government to
make necessary laws to deal with the problem. If there had to be a
government, it would still be obliged to wait until the people had organized
everything, in order then to come along with laws to sanction and exploit
what had already been done. It is demonstrated that private interest is the
great incentive for all activities: well, when the interest of all will be
that of each individual (and this would obviously be the case if private
property did not exist) then everyone will act, and if we do things now
which only interest a few, we will do them that much better and more
intensively when they will be of interest to everybody." (Malatesta, p. 39)

In the context of a discussion of libraries--especially of public
libraries--it is necessary to emphasize at this point that the suggestion
that services are better provided by means of voluntary association than by
government decree does not mean that large scale collective organization is
never necessary. The federation may decide that universal free access to
socially relevant information is necessary in order for society to operate
on a free consensual basis. It may ask its membership to voluntarily
contribute to the financial support of a public library system. The
federation could never threaten its members with punitive action for their
failure to cooperate but it could in turn refuse to cooperate with them or
exclude them from the federation. Anarchists preach mutual aid not charity.

Anarchists tend to have more faith than others that conflicts can be
resolved through continued discussion and shared experience. So they are
less likely than others to abandon a peaceful resolution of conflict and
resort to force. If, after a prolonged attempt to resolve it, the conflict
remains, anarchists avoid violence (or the threat of violence) by splitting
the collective or separating. Such a means of resolution was readily
available to primal societies whose population density was very low, and
this partly accounts for why all primal societies, for the great majority of
human history, functioned without government. But today land is less
important for economic survival, so high population density does not prevent
one group from splitting from another. Anarchists resort to violence only in
the case of self-defense. It is the initiation of force or the threat of
force that they reject, not the use of force itself.

The present cultural atmosphere in the United States is not one that is
becoming more hospitable to an anarchist perspective on force and authority.
The reelection of Bush has enhanced the punitive, authoritarian aspects of
America's Puritan heritage. There is a mean spiritedness sweeping the land
in the name of morality. We look for bad guys behind every rock and when we
find them we react harshly and punitively. We exaggerate small slights and
transgressions. We have become intolerant and punishing. We are righteous
and arrogant. We act preemptively and unilaterally rather than by consensus.

We are all familiar with and opposed to the Bush administration's actions in
Iraq. But the same mentality is at work on a smaller scale as well. A recent
newspaper article offers an example. A wealthy couple in Westchester
returned home to find their young toddler sleeping quietly and safely in his
bed. The Hungarian nanny they had hired to care for their toddler was off in
the family's Mercedes Benz doing some Christmas shopping. She knew that it
was the child's habit to sleep for at least a couple of hours before
awakening and planned to return before he awoke. Unfortunately for her, the
parents returned early to find her gone. Not only was she fired, but she was
arrested on several charges including endangering a child, and was vilified
by the tabloids. In Europe it is more acceptable to leave children
unattended than in the United States. When I was a child nobody thought
twice about children going to libraries and shopping malls or playing in the
streets unattended by adults. The exaggerated need to protect children
erupted in the 1980s as street crime rose to record highs (the war on drugs
caused crime to skyrocket for pretty much the same reason that prohibition
did earlier in the century: make something illegal and only the criminals
will do it). It was during this time that child kidnapping became a national

Anarchism is often criticized as being idealistic and unrealistic. But most
utopian theorists have been statists, not anarchists. It is the statists who
wish to seize total control of society in order to transform it. Plato
inaugurated a tradition of utopian statism that found its most horrible if
perverted expression in Lenin, Mao, Pol Pot and Adolph Hitler.

A state based on law and justice might be a good society. The problem is
that the state has never operated this way. We know that the state
originated in warfare and that for ninety six percent of its history (from
3,000 B.C. to the French and American Revolutions) the state didn't even
pretend to be anything other than a means to preserve the privileges of a
ruling class, indeed, often a ruling caste. Only recently did the notion
that the state should serve the interests of all the people arise. But
during the same period of time that the state has sought legitimacy through
claims to democracy, the power and reach of the state has vastly expanded.
Even as recently as one hundred years ago the state was a tiny fraction of
its present size and reach. Those of us born in the 20th century have
difficulty imagining how society could function without a massive state. But
our lack of imagination only testifies to our historical short sightedness.
People have always accomplished great deeds, even on a large scale, without
the aid of the state. So far from making anarchism obsolete, the massive
size of the modern state only makes anarchism more relevant as a possible
corrective to its excesses.

In an e-mail response to a previous draft of this essay, Rory wrote:

"It was in anticipation of a response to this [Rory's 'Critique of Anarchist
Librarianship'] that would say 'we accept hierarchy and authority in
organization, just not if it involves force and coercion' that I went into
my discussion of the paradox of 'voluntary compliance.' My argument is that
if an organization depends on voluntary compliance (with standards for
example) then the sense in which there is freedom is empty, because the
possibility of non-compliance isn't recognized; there is only the assumption
that if people are free to behave rationally they will naturally behave in
concert, which I don't think is really true."

In his original Critique, Rory calls this the "paradox of voluntary
compliance." He says that the paradox exists at the general level of
anarchist theory "in the idea of obeying norms voluntarily. The proof that
it is voluntary is in your ability to behave not in accordance with the
norm; but that involves not obeying the norm. The anarchist claim of
autonomous order is paradoxical; the paradox is apparently solved by saying
that freedom is not the ultimate goal, but a pairing of autonomous
individuality and community are the goal. The paradox remains though, in the
sense that social order without 'law' still involves hierarchical
relationships and relations of 'authority over' if it is in any sense
dependable . . ."

Rory's claim is that rational agents will not necessarily act freely in
concert with one another, even if it is rational to do so. Although his
argument here is not clear, he seems to be saying this for two reasons.
First, he does not believe that rationality alone will motivate people to
act in concert with one another. Second, even if rationality did motivate
people to act in concert with one another, if they did act in concert with
one another they would no longer be free or acting voluntarily, since they
would have no other choice but to do what is rational.

The anarchist response to the first problem is that people will act in a
more rational manner (for example, they will voluntarily comply with
authority of competency) if they are better educated, and that people learn
better how to reason in an atmosphere of love and freedom than they do in an
authoritarian atmosphere. This makes sense, because if you want people to
think in a rational way, they must hold their beliefs because they
understand them to be true, not because an authority threatens them with
force or punitive action if they do not.

The classic liberal John Stuart Mill held the same view. However, Mill
allowed for the use of force in extreme cases where people were not capable
of listening to reason. The difference between the classic liberal view of
education and the anarchist one is really one of degree only, because the
classic liberal also believes that a free exchange of ideas is the best
route to the truth. The classic liberal draws the line, however, at the
point of children, the insane, or, most tellingly, the uncivilized subjects
of the British empire.

Even anarchists allow for the use of force in some cases against people who
are not capable of listening to reason. For example, if his three year old
toddler is about to run across a dangerous street, an anarchist would
physically grab the child to prevent him from being injured. But anarchists
are probably more careful than classic liberals about when to use force. And
they are more willing to allow people to learn from their mistakes. They are
also more inclined to use love rather than punishment to motivate rational
behavior when people are unable to listen to reason.

Rory's second argument is that even if rationality did motivate people to
act in concert with one another they would no longer be free or acting
voluntarily, since they would have no other choice but to do what is
rational. But in most cases, rationality does not dictate only one choice.
In most cases, it is centralized, coercive authority--not reason--that
requires us to act in a unitary block.

But even in cases where reason gives us only one choice, anarchists don't
insist on freedom in the sense of being able to choose between many
alternatives. They only insist that people not be coerced, particularly by
organized central authorities. The argument is therefore moot.

In another e-mail response to a draft of this essay, Rory said that he felt
I had misrepresented him as defending the need for the state. He said that
it was not the state that he wished to defend so much as the need for some
degree of coercive authority in large scale organizations. If that is the
case then it may be possible to resolve Rory's disagreement with anarchist
librarianship. Anarchism is a political philosophy that rejects the state.
If Rory does not wish to defend the state then he should have no problem
with anarchism. One is either a state socialist or an anarchist socialist.
There is nothing in between. You either believe the state is necessary for
social order or you do not. It is not possible to consistently say that you
believe coercion is necessary in large scale organizations but that the
state is not necessary in society. If you believe that coercion is necessary
to maintain order in large scale organizations then you must believe that
coercion is necessary to maintain order in society as a whole, and the name
for that coercive power is the "state."

Rory's core argument, as I understand it, is that there are inherent
contradictions in the idea of anarchist librarianship because anarchist
political philosophy is not a serious political philosophy. To counter his
argument it is not necessary to show that anarchist political philosophy is
true, since no political philosophy has been proven to be incontrovertibly
true. It is only necessary to show that there are reasonable arguments in
favor of anarchist political philosophy, in other words, that anarchism is a
serious political philosophy. I believe I have done that.

5. Library Cooperation (1901)

By Lodilla Ambrose
The Dial; a Semi-monthly Journal of Literary Criticism, Discussion, and
Information. July 16, 1901. Vol. 31, No. 362.

The American Library Association has just held its twenty-third general
meeting, at Waukesha, Wisconsin. At the first meeting of the association,
in 1876, attention was directed to the possibilities of cooperation among
librarians for the attainment of worthy ends not to be secured by
individuals working singly. The early volumes of the "Library Journal"
contain frequent contributions on this topic. In fact, the question has
always been with the association.

This principle of cooperation was applied to indexing, and Poole's Index to
Periodical Literature, with its multiple supplements, and the A. L. A.
Index to General Literature, resulted. Its application to reciprocal
relations between libraries led to inter-library loans. Now the professor
in an isolated Kansas college may pursue his own advanced studies, because
through his library he may borrow books from Harvard University Library.
Another phase of the larger library's work for the smaller is seen in the
many-sided developments of the travelling library idea as carried out by
state libraries and library commissions. Prior to 1901, seventeen states
had made provision for the aiding of very small libraries and communities
with no libraries by the formation of state library commissions. The
lessening of administrative expenses by printing and distributing
catalogue cards to libraries through some central bureau was recognized as
a desideratum at the outset. But obstacles were met in the varying sizes
of cards used by libraries, and in difficulties of selection and
distribution. Valuable annotated bibliographies of selected titles on
various subjects have been possible only through cooperation and the
generous financial support of such friends of libraries as Mr. George Iles
of New York City. The bibliography American history is now half through
the press.

A factor destined to be powerful in many future cooperative undertakings
for libraries came to the front at this conference - the Library of
Congress. Its coming was greeted with the enthusiasm its importance
demands. At the public meeting of the association the chief address was
by the Librarian of Congress, Mr. Herbert Putnam, on "What may be done for
Libraries by the Nation." He defined his subject as what the nation as a
unit acting through its central authority may do. He said, in brief:

"Only as assumed by central authority are some undertakings possible. The
federal government is already aiding libraries in varied ways. It
encourages the manufacture of good books, it exempts from duty foreign
books for libraries, it establishes bureaus of scientific research, it is
the largest publisher in the world, it uses a million pounds of paper
stock a year and distributes over three hundred thousand of its own
issues, it has a clearing-house for duplicate United States documents, it
is indexing its own publications, it maintains a bureau in the interest of
educational institutions, it maintains a bureau in the interest of
educational institutions, and this bureau has brought out several valuable
library publications. The government maintains its own great libraries;
for example, that of the Surgeon-General's Office, whose elaborate
catalogue has already cost more than $250,000.

"But government activities in behalf of libraries naturally center in the
Library of Congress. This was created as a legislative library, but it is
now referred to as something more. Its building was paid for by the
country at large, it is often alluded to as the national library of the
United States, and such it may become. Its conditions differ from those
of the British Museum. There a student need not go over five hundred
miles to reach his national library, here he may have to go three thousand
miles. It should serve students in Washington, it ought also to provide
for scholars in the country at large by loaning books to them and by
employing specialists to answer questions sent to Washington. To meet
their needs, it should accumulate original sources, works of importance
for occasional reference, the useless books that libraries in general
cannot afford space for, and the general mass of books. All this involves
the costly processes of cataloguing and classification. Cooperative
undertakings should have headquearters in Washington. The Library of
Congress may provide a national clearing-house for miscellaneous
duplicates. Toward these things we are drifting. We have the building,
the equipment, the books. The library contains seven hundred thousand
volumes, and five hundred thousand other items. Its resources are not
omnipotent, but they are comprehensive. It is strong in Americana,
political and social science, jurisprudence, learned societies and serials
in general. As far as deliberate purchase is concerned two extremes are to
be abstained from, books merely popular and those merely curious. Books
are to be bought that will aid in the establishement of fact. The library
has the organization, having now a staff of 261 persons, not including
caretakers, printers, or binders. It has a division of bibliography, a
bindery, and a printing office. But it has also a large arrear of work,
including the classification and shelf-list, and the author and subject
catalogues. A library of reference books for Congress should be arranged,
and the other libraries of the District of Columbia should be coordinated
with the Library of Congress, and it should have a catalogue of all these
libraries. In some respects the equipment is inadequate for these larger
undertakings. Its authorities should consider what may be done in the
distribution of printed cards to general libraries. it may become the
bibliographic bureau of the United States and issue publications. If it
is to be the national library, it should loan books to other libraries,
serving the scholar through the local library."

No greater boon could come to American libraries than the realization of
the plans projected by Mr. Putnam for the development of a national
library, and outlined in the foregoing brief synopsis. This library is
the natural centre for all great bibliographical undertakings in this
country, and the natural point of contact with international enterprises.
During the conference, an agreement was reached between Mr. Putnam and the
publishing board of the American Library Association, and as a result the
Library of Congress is to furnish its printed cards for distribution to
other libraries. The details of the plan are still to be worked out, but
it will certainly be of the greatest benefit to the libraries of the
country. It means reduced expense and drudgery, and increased inspiration
as a consequence. One of the older librarians even said that he could now
depart in peace for he had seen cooperative printed cards established at
the national library.

Undoubtedly the general public cares very little about the details of
library cataloguing and classification. If it gets prompt serivce, it
asks no questions. But it must be a matter of deep interest to scholars
to see the librarians giving an increasing amount of attention to the
expert bibliographical aide of library matters. This tendency was very
marked at this meeting. Two long sessions of one section were devoted to
details of certain modifications in cataloguing rules, the standpoint of
the libraries for scholars being chiefly considered. Still another
session was occupied with bibliography in its strict sense. Another
indication of the same trend is the organization within two years of the
Bibliographic Society of Chicago. This society held an informal meeting
at Waukesha, many of the non-resident members being present. The spirit
there manifested will probably develop this into a national society in a
few years. The full and frequent consideration of the problems of the
small public library, with its abbreviated catalogue of books chiefly
American, has been a necessity. The stress laid upon the books for
children, and on children's rooms, is as it should be. But the lack of
the scholarly element in American library affairs has been unfavorably
commented on abroad, even while the American success in practical library
technique is freely admitted. This new emphasis on the scholarly side of
librarianship is a welcome development.

A period of library expansion is evidently at hand. The gifts to libraries
from June 1, 1900, to July 1, 1901, include 405 separate gifts, amounting
to $16,130,220.12; and of these gifts, 394 are for libraries in the United
States. The chief donor to libraries is Mr. Andrew Carnegie, his
benefactions amounting in this year to more than eleven millions. With
princely gifts to libraries, with Dr. John S. Billings as the new
president of the American Library Association, with cooperative
cataloguing established on a basis never before possible, with scholarship
receiving increasing recognition in library affairs, the outlook for
American libraries is heartening in the highest degree.


L I B R A R Y   J U I C E

ISSN 1544-9378

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