"Repudiation by ALA," Library Journal 65: 599 (July, 1940)



During the A.L.A. conference held at Cincinnati in May, the 
Progressive Librarians Council sent the following communication to 
President Roosevelt which was subsequently endorsed by the Library Unions 
Round Table and, in part, by the Staff Organizaitons Round Table:

"Alarmed by the rapid drift of this country toward involvement in 
the European war, we librarians, assembled at the sixty-second annual 
conference of the American Library Association in Cincinnati, May 26 to 
June 1, respectfully urge you to keep this country at peace."

"We believe that if we Americans are to save western civilization, our 
first duty towards mankind is to remain at peace, to preserve and improve 
our standard of living, and to maintain the civil liberties with which 
libraries are so greatly concerned."

"We believe that our grave unemployment problem will best be solved by 
increasing opportunities for peaceful employment rather than by employing 
our people to produce materials which can only mean further destruction."

"We urge you, therefore, to keep America out of war and to protect the 
cultural achievements and civil liberties of the American people by ending 
loans and credits to warring nations and by solving our domestic problems 
constructively."

When this communication came to the attention of the Executive Board on 
June 1, the right of the Progressive Librarians Council to speak for itself 
was not questioned, but the Board unanimously condemned the misleading 
first sentence of the communication which might be interpreted to mean that 
the A.L.A. itself had taken action.  Accordingly, a telegram was sent to 
President Roosevelt by the President and Executive Secretary of the A.L.A. 
explaining that the communication sent to him by the Progressive Librarians 
Council advocating peace at any price represented the opinion of a very 
small group, not a part of the American Library Association, and with no 
authority whatever to speak for the librarians of the United States on this 
or any other subject.  It was also pointed out to the President that if the 
opinions of the 17,000 members of the Association were to vote on the 
question presented by the Progressive Librarians Council they would 
overwhelmingly oppose any such communication.



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