Social Responsibilities Round Table Newsletter #127

Table of Contents

budget update
task force contact list
listserv update
outsourcing task force report
DC volunteering opportunities
news items
web filtering
task force reports
library education
hello new members

From the srrt coordinator

If you didn't make it to New Orleans for Midwinter, you missed three days of sunshine, three days of rain, and several hours of budget discussions (see page 2 for a recap of the latter if you missed it). In our second year of having the task forces meet in one room before Action Council I, I think most of us would agree this arrangement works. It brings us all together in one room, we get the chance to meet each other, and it serves as a good way to funnel task force people into SRR T and SRRT people into task forces.

Other important developments at Midwinter. Resolutions were passed on the SRRT budget and on supporting a Pastors for Peace bookmobile effort for Cuba. There were discussions on the future of library schools, which are becoming more narrowly specialized ( see page 11 for a report on this). ALA presidential candidates Martin Gomez and Sarah Long made presentations at Action Council II; SRRT members voted to endorse Gomez. And speaking of elections.... ALA is on a new election schedule this year, so we'll st art getting ballots earlier, probably by March. It's really important to get SRRT members and other progressive people elected to ALA Council, so please read your ballots carefully and VOTE! At press time, the following SRRT members were running for ALA C ouncil: Sandy Berman, Elaine Harger, Sylvia Curtis and Dee Conkling. There may be others, so read those biographical statements carefully. Also, the ballot mailing will include a section for SRRT; we will be filling four Action Council slots.

If you are a SRRT member, and you haven't done so already, check out our web site (, with great links to SRRT task forces and affiliates. In addition to the newsletter and our listserv, i t's a good way to keep up with SRRT between conferences. And, as always, if you are looking for a volunteer opportunity with SRRT, let me know! We will have liaison vacancies coming up after the Annual conference in New York, but before then we could pro bably use some help with contacting new and renewed members. If you can make a few phone calls a month, and/or mail out a few welcoming postcards, get in touch with our membership coordinator, Ron Landskroner (rla or with me. Thanks!

Wendy Thomas, SRRT Coordinator
(; 617.495.8549)

SRRT budget update

The SRRT budget dominated both Action Council meetings in New Orleans, and was also the topic of a marathon four-hour meeting at the OLOS desk on Tuesday. If you missed the discussions, and/or havenít been following this thread on the listserv, read on.

First, a little background information. SRRT has struggled for years to gain any information or understanding about our budget situation and ALAís budget process. Until last year, when Satia Orange took over our liaison office at ALA, the Office for Liter acy and Outreach Services (OLOS), we received virtually no information from ALA about our budget, despite literally years of trying. Now that Satia is on board, weíre beginning to learn how things operate, and weíre getting regular budget reports from OLO S. Some of the things weíve learned include the following:

  • The money that SRRT has to spend each year basically consists of our dues income, and any income we raise. This is true for all roundtables at ALA. With the exception of $1500 annually for programming, ALA does not fund roundtables.
  • All money spent or raised by SRRT subunits (task forces) is, in the eyes of ALA, SRRT money. ALA does not account down to the task force level.

Unfortunately, we also recently learned that we have a deficit of approximately $5-6,000 dollars, and we are asking ALA for copies of our old financial records to see where this deficit has come from (see resolution on the SRRT budget, page 3). While this deficit is disturbing, it is not, in the words of ALA, ëdire.í With new budget procedures in place, we will certainly be able to prevent this from happening in the future, and we will be working on figuring out the source of the deficit between now and A nnual. These are the things weíre going to do to make our budget process easier:

  • A budget ëcheat sheetí for each SRRT unit. Satia Orange will be working on this right after Midwinter, with the help of SRRT Treasurer Dotty Granger and SRRT Coordinator Wendy Thomas. It will help task force chairs understand the budget process.
  • A new, simpler reimbursement form. Dotty Granger brought this to Midwinter; it was distributed at the first Action Council meeting.
  • A standardized budget request form for each SRRT unit to use and submit at the Midwinter budget meeting. Dotty Granger passed out a twelve-month budget request form for task force chairs to use at Midwinter.

Further information about the budget situation will be posted on the SRRT listserv as it develops.

Wendy Thomas, SRRT Coordinator

Task Force Contact List

Alternatives in Print

Charles Willett

Coretta Scott King Award

Barbara Jones Clark


Frederick Stoss
716.645.2946, X224


Kristen Carlson
Veronda Pitchford

Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual

Michael Miller, co-chair
Bonita Corliss, co-chair

International Responsibilities

Alfred Kagan

Hunger, Homelessness & Poverty

Sanford Berman

listserv update

The SRRTAC-L was opened to all interested parties in October 1997. At that time I also took over management of the list. In looking over the statistics that are available from the listserv it is hard to know exactly how many took adv antage of the list being opened. Our total subscriber count is 80 as of January 7, 1998. Of those 80, 36 are currently on Action Council, state reps, or have some official capacity with SRRT. The remaining 44 have no current position but I recognize many names as people who have been past members of AC or Task Force chairs. It would be safe to say that less than 30 people have joined who have had no recent AC experience.

My personal feeling is that opening the list up has not lead to an overwhelming increase in subscribers or unwanted or inappropriate messages. I would encourage AC to keep the list open and to promote its use by all SRRT members. I have had no list manage ment problems, the largest number of error messages have been delivery failures due to equipment failures at various sites. A total of 702 messages have been posted to the list since it began Oct. 1, 1996. If you would like to join the SRRT listserv, send the following message to

subscribe SRRTAC-L [your first name] [your last name]

-- Linda Pierce



Submitted by Al Kagan

WHEREAS the Social Responsibilities Round Table has recently been informed of a budget deficit of approximately $6000; and
WHEREAS SRRT has long been committed to fiscal responsibility and is, therefore, shocked by this deficit notification; and
WHEREAS SRRT has vigorously, but unsuccessfully, tried over many years to get accurate and timely budget information from the previous OLOS staff; and
WHEREAS the current OLOS staff has been very responsive to SRRTís concerns; therefore be it
RESOLVED that SRRT request full budget information from 1990 to the present from the OLOS office; and
RESOLVED that SRRT should not be asked to assume responsibility for an undocumented deficit; and further
RESOLVED that SRRT work to resolve this problem in a timely manner in consultation with the OLOS office and the ALA Comptroller.

Passed unanimously, Jan. 12, 1998 by SRRT Action Council meeting in New Orleans


Submitted by Ann Sparanese

WHEREAS the Pastors for Peace (IFCO) are planning their 8th Friendshipment Caravan to Cuba, scheduled for July 1998; and
WHEREAS this Caravan will be composed of bookmobiles, stocked with computers as well as humanitarian aid; and
WHEREAS the long-standing unjust US economic blockade against Cuba has deprived the Cuban people of the benefits of technology, as well as food and medicine, and has deprived both US and Cuban people of normal cultural, social and educational i nteraction; and
WHEREAS we as librarians have a special interest and responsibility to support the expansion of library services in Cuba; and further
WHEREAS this presidential year in ALA is dedicated to the vision of Local Touch, Global Reach; be it therefore
RESOLVED that the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association:

  1. Endorses and supports the goals of the Pastors for Peace Bookmobile Friendshipment Caravan to Cuba, and
  2. Encourages the participation of librarians in the Friendshipment Caravan, and
  3. Will work to aid, promote, and publicize this project amon g librarians within SRRT and within ALA to help achieve its success.

Passed unanimously, Jan. 12, 1998 by SRRT Action Council meeting in New Orleans

outsourcing task force report

[Although Wendy Thomas, SRRT Coordiator, is a member of the Outsourcing Task Force, she was unable to attend their meetings, which were inconveniently scheduled at the same time as SRRT Action Council meetings. Larry Heiman observed the meeting, and s ubmitted this report.]

The Monday afternoon meeting of the ALA Outsourcing Task Force followed the format of the first meeting -- informal presentations followed by a meeting. Observers were not allowed to speak.

The speakers included librarians and others discussing their experiences with outsourcing. Remarks tended to be positive. I did not attend the first meeting so donít know if they also were positive. The speakers were:

  1. Jan Ison, Director, Lincoln Trail Libraries System, Champaign, Ill. discussing services provided to libraries of multi-type library systems (consortia). Lincoln Trails has shared automation system through vendor. Not all librarians have MLAs. Some of the training is contracted out. Collection development for electronic resources is outsourced so librarians have no control.
  2. Caroline A. Killens, Acquisitions Librarian, University of Georgia, Athens discussing use of OCLC services in the university systems of Georgia. OCLC services it uses: statewide level of first search, ILL, processing of Arabic and Chinese materials .
  3. Johannah Sherrer, Committee Chair of the ALA Professional Ethics Committee. The ALA code of ethics allows for other organizations within ALA to submit statements to the Committee on Ethics if they have something they want added to the code concernin g ethical dilemmas caused by conflicting values. The Committee wants to be approached by the Outsourcing Task Force; it wants to be involved. The code should be used as a guideline as they establish a definition of outsourcing.
  4. Gretchen Freeman, Dynix Communication Center, discussing criteria for automation outsourcing. The signed agreement should be very precise in what is expected and to what level. Approach outsourcing as a buisness; make sure what you want is in the c ontract.

This was followed by discussion among the committee. There seemed to be disagreement on what outsourcing is and what the committee was to cover in its report. There was talk of going back to ALA and getting a more precise explanation of the charge. Ther e seemed to be a consensus that the Task Force was not to be giving recommendations on the best way to outsource. There will be another open forum at the 1998 annual at Washington. Other ways of obtaining ALA membership input will be forthcoming.

Larry W. Heiman
New York University Bobst Library

Local Touch ... Refuge and Sanctuary in DC

by Fred Stoss, Chair, Task Force on the Environment

[ALA President Barbara Ford has paved a new road for ALA during its Midwinter and Annual Meetings. This road is one that uses the times and talents of those attending ALA meetings to volunteer their service and help the communities in which ALA gathers . This description is one place where you may want to give a bit of your time and service while attending the 1998 ALA Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. Watch American Libraries and your ALA listservs for details on ALA Volunteer Day.]

I met Rev. John Steinbruck at a Lutheran Global Mission Event held at Muhlenberg College (Allentown, Pennsylvania) in the mid-1980s. These annual gatherings provide an opportunity for Lutherans from around the U.S. and Canada to learn and share experiences related to Lutheran's mission activities around the world. John Steinbruck provided a local touch to the program describing a mission taking place in the nation's capitol. John was then pastor of Luther Place Memorial Church at Thom as Circle in D.C.

My wife, Dottie, and I were intrigued by the program's description and went to see what type of global mission was taking place in the heart of one of the world's most important cities. We were in store for a treat and a relationship that has lasted more than a decade. I once frequented the D.C.-area for activities associated with my work at the Center for Environmental Information (Rochester, NY) and for Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Oak Ridge, Tenn.). I accepted Pastor Steinbruck's invitation to worsh ip at Luther Place and to lend a helping hand at N Street Village.

At Muhlenberg, we met a person filled with passion for justice, compassion for the less fortunate, love for his neighborhood, concern for the plight of the disenfranchised, frustration with city and church bureaucracies, and an unbridled drive to overcome seemingly insurmountable circumstances and situations. John's story for me is still unfolding, and prompts me to share it with colleagues and friends before we descend on Washington, D.C. this June for the ALA Annual Meeting. I also will tell you up fron t that this will also be an invitation to become a part of that story.

John's story is longer than the 25-plus years he served as Pastor of Luther Place, and it is more than his role as pastor of this large urban church. Stories need beginnings and I will begin with Luther Place and D.C.'s Thomas Circle. Luther Place was bui lt in 1873 after the trauma of the Civil War. It is a red sand stone church modeled after European architecture ó perhaps reflecting the cultural heritage of the Lutheran Church in Germany or Scandinavia. In the front of the church, facing south and gazin g across Thomas Circle down Vermont Avenue toward the White House is a statue of the great reformer, Martin Luther. It is a formidable setting and the church has provided many chapters to the city's rich religious and cultural history.

A century after its first service, Thomas Circle's Lutheran Church was in the midst of a major U.S. city and full into the throngs of social decay that sadly lingers, in part, to this present day. Like many other U.S. urban areas, D.C. had become an integ ral player in a bizarre juxtapositioning of culture and counterculture ó times that were a theme for the 1960s. These were times of social unrest and upheaval, and Thomas Circle seemed to be at the very hub of all the good, the bad, and the ugly. Viet Nam war protesters, civil rights activists, social advocates, prostitutes, pimps, lobbyists, tourists, workers, businessmen, runaways, addicts and drug pushers, street hustlers, neighborhood residents, transients, homeless, commuters, and dignitaries -- thes e were the people of Thomas Circle. They all were human beings. Some needed help. Some could walk away. Some would provide help.

During this time, Luther Place Memorial Church also had an identity crisis and was in the midst of a deep, long, and sometimes painful search for its identity in a changing world, a changing city, a changing neighborhood, a changing congregation. In April of 1968 the seed of that identity sprang out of the ground when the congregation opened its doors and hearts to provide food, clothes, and shelter to those residents of the neighborhood left without essential resources after cataclysmic fires on 14th, 7t h, and H Streets. In time this seed of humanity sprouted and took root in fertile soil. The seedling grew into a neighborhood hospice that provided essential services, fellowship, education, and worship.

In 1973 the congregation used five church-owned buildings adjacent to Lutheran Place Memorial Church to accommodate programs and direct services for the destitute and homeless. This complex or campus was given the name of its neighborhood - N Street Villa ge. For more than 25 years the sapling has grown (not without much controversy, trial, and toil) and now serves an interfaith community to meet the immediate, interim, and long-term needs of the homeless, especially homeless women.

In 1998 N Street Village is a home, a family, and a community offering temporary shelter and service-enriched housing for the homeless and formerly homeless women who are regaining control of their lives. The service-enriched environment provided by N Str eet Village includes programs for chemical dependency, job training and skills enhancement, psychological counseling, and limited health care services a continuum of services to enhance and empower. N street Village is

  • Bethany Women's Center, a safe haven for 60-70 homeless women.
  • Harriet Tubman House, a residential substance abuse treatment program.
  • Sarah House, a residential setting for women in the post-treatment phase of substance abuse recovery.
  • Raoul Wallenberg House and Carol Holmes Houses, permanent, affordable housing for the elderly and mentally ill women, for whom no other suitable housing exists.
  • After School Program, a nurturing and friendly setting for the children of N Street Village.
  • The Wellness Center, a facility to provide holistic care as a complement to conventional medical care.

The 1995 Annual Report provided thanks to the 2,909 contributors who supported N Street Village, including one (yes, only one!) federal grant of $17,500 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). An N Street Village brochure modestly hides the s trength of its success -- the alumnae of N Street Village and more than 1,100 other community volunteers who contribute their time and talents with more than 20,000 hours of service each year. Yes, a lot has taken place at Thomas Circle from 1968 to 1998.

N Street Village welcomes men and women as individual volunteers and members of groups willing to serve this special interfaith community. If you want to cook in the kitchen, serve a meal (sharing food is a universal expression of hospitality), read a sto ry, fix a room, put your hands to work, you might want to be a part of this program that serves D.C.s less fortunate residents.

Write for N Street Villages Volunteer Opportunities brochure and other materials describing N Street Village.

N Street Village, 1333 N Street N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20005

202.939.2073 Ann Bodnyk, Executive Director
202.939.2077 Betty Haugue, Program Director
202.939.2075 Volunteer Coordinator

misc news items

ALA Midwinter Impression from a new SRRT member

I attended my first ALA conference at Midwinter in New Orleans. I found it to be overwhelming, exhausting, interesting, boring, confusing, worthwhile, and weird all at once. Although I have been an ALA member since 1995 I have been slow to involve mysel f in ALA activities or committee work. I have been working in the academic library world for over a year now and felt ready to immerse myself further in my profession. So, I went to Midwinter looking for a place to land that felt vital and engaged in real work where I might prove useful. I attended various discussion groups and task force-work sessions and round table council meetings and found the Social Responsibilities Round Table offerings to be the most interesting, well organized, inclusive, and just plain old more ALIVE than anything else that I attended. I quickly found myself involved in the GBLTF and slid right into the newly formed external relations committee. I am anxious to get more involved with SRRT and feel lucky to have return ed from Midwinter with something other than a cutesy cat bag filled with pencils and bookmarks. Yahoo!
Anne Gruel (

SUNY Buffalo SILS to match ALA Spectrum Scholarships

The School of Information and Library Studies has committed $20,000 to match up to four $5,000 Spectrum Scholarships being offered by the American Library Association during 1998-99. These scholarships are for persons of color. For more information contact Dean George S. Bobinski 716.645.2412 Fax: 716.645.3775

More on the Cuba Bookmobile Resolution

I have been in contact with Pastors for Peace, who are in the process of determining the kinds of aid they intend to send in the bookmobiles. They will most definitely be including Pentium computers, medical and other lab equipment, slide projectors, and the like. They will be getting together a list of the kinds of books they might like. There is one item, however, that we as librarians are particularly asked to help with at this time and that is the Physicians Desk Reference (PDR) which many of our pub lic libraries discard every year as the new edition comes in. Doctors in Cuba are generally working with VERY old editions, so late-year editions would be welcomed. They can be sent to me at:
Ann Sparanese
146 St. Nicholas Ave.
Englewood, NJ 07631

If you would like to be kept informed of the list of needed materials, or youíd like to be part of our subcommittee working on this project, send me email.
Ann Sparanese
International Responsibilities Task Force
Please use subject "pastors"

when in doubt... filter filter filter!

by Ken Thompson

SRRT Newsletter Co-Editor

The Internet holds at least one great promise: to put the power to publish ideas and distribute them on a grand scale into the hands of many who never had it before. Although the net is by no means egalitarian (it certainly doesn't y et transcend class barriers), it does allow a much broader cross-section of the public to get their ideas out, and engage in conversation with people of like mind, regardless of location. It allows people outside of mainstream thought to build communitie s allows the voices of dissent to be heard. Filtering software (also known as 'censorware') works against this ideal, especially as filters are applied in libraries.

As we shall see, in addition to pornography (which, incidentally is NOT ILLEGAL), the targets of filters are those concerns close to SRRT generally, especially gay/lesbian/bi and feminist issues. More generally, filters eliminate from discussion anything that society might feel even slightly squeamish about, including legal drug use, legal sex education, legal non-mainstream religions and atheism, legal body modification, and legal AIDS education. Given the history of such censorship efforts, one might b e surprised that libraries are utilizing filtering services. Although no cases involving filtering in public libraries have been tried before the courts (yet), case law would seem to indicate that filtering can not possibly be upheld as legal.

One line of federal cases held that government institutions can not outsource decisions about speech to private groups with vague criteria (these cases were related to municipalities banning films based on MPAA ratings). Another test that filters will ha ve to stand up to is that of "strict scrutiny." This test holds that rules limiting speech must be "narrowly tailored" to serve a "compelling government interest". Most censorware indiscriminately blocks all materials on a server in order to catch a few that it deems innapropriate, and this surely fails the "narrowly tailored" test. The foundation that the courts will no doubt rely on is the 1957 Supreme Court case Butler v. Michigan, where the Court held that banning all books unfit for children from a library violated adults' constitutional rights. And yet, internet filters are being used today in America's public libraries, at adult terminals as well as in children's sections.

One might also note that the American Library Association itself has been rather direct and forthright on this issue. It addresses the issue in its "Resolution on the Use of Filtering Software in Libraries" of 7/2/97, which states in part that "Whereas , The use in libraries of software filters which block Constitutionally protected speech is inconsistent with the United States Constitution and federal law and may lead to legal exposure for the library...therefore be it resolved; thet the American Libra ry Association affirms that the use of filtering software by libraries to block access to constitutionally protected speech violates the Library Bill of Rights." (

In addition, many other parts of the Library Bill of Rights (and its interpretations) speak directly to the issue of filtering, as evidenced in ALA's Intellectual Freedom Manual. "Libraries...must support access to information on all subjects that serve the needs or interests of each user, regardless of the user's age or the content of the material," (p. 24) and "The provision of access does not imply sponsorship or endorsement. These principles pertain to electronic resources no less than they do to the more traditional sources of information in libraries," (p. 24) are mentioned in the Access to Electronic Information interpretation. The Manual makes it clear that children should have total access to all materials in the library's collection, that every library needs to have "a clearly defined selection policy," that there must be diversity in collection development, and that restriced access and labeling is strictly forbidden as "labeling is an attempt to prejudice attitudes and as such, it is a censor 's tool." (p. 111) Clearly, the use of a filtering service violates all of these tenets: the censorware's primary purpose is to deny access to children, and to accomplish this goal it uses the most prejudicial of labeling systems.

However, the blocking continues. No doubt, this would be a non-issue if all that was being blocked was self-proclaimed retailers of pornography. However, all the filters block a wide range of subject areas, from Sex Acts to Tobacco, and many web sites a re caught in the crossfire, improperly blocked due to the limitations of technology, prudishness, and/or greed. Among the blocked have been the web sites for: The National Organization for Women, The Fileroom (ironically, a database on censorship), the Cr itical Path AIDS Project, the Queer Resources Directory, the works of poet Ann Sexton and the NASA site (both contain the word 'sex' in them), the HIV Info Center, Hotwired (online news service of Wired magazine), San Jose Mercury New s, the Austin Chronicle classifieds, the Museum of Modern Art, and many others.

Although these site might have some content that would be objectionable to someone, somewhere, somewhat less explicable were some of the blocked sites reported by The Censorware Project (CWP) (www.spectac They included The MIT Project on Mathematics and Computation, Explore Underwater Magazine online, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Construction Engineering Research Center, and many others, all blocked by CyberPatrol under the categories FullNude and SexActs. Needless to say, none of these sites fell into these categories.

Overbroad blocking is another problem with filtering software: the filterers determine that a small percentage of web sites on a computer have 'objectionable' material, and rather than spend the time and money blocking the individual pages, they apply the whammy to the whole server. In this way, an entire area of, know as West Hollywood, was blocked -- over 23,000 users and 50,000 web pages. When this was brought to CyberPatrol's attention, they still declined to unblock the non-offensive si tes. CWP notes that while this primarily gay and lesbian server is blocked, the hetero porn site remains unblocked. In addition, CyberPatrol has declined to unblock the following newsgroups, even after they were brought to the company's a ttention as being erroneously blocked:, misc.headlines,,,, soc.feminism, soc.women.lesbian-and-bi, talk.abortion, talk.euthanasia, talk.politics.drugs,, alt. atheism, alt.censorship, alt.journalism,* [220 groups in all], alt.teens, alt.transgendered, and many more. What's frightening about many of these blocks is that they filter out not only controversial content, but discussion about controvers ial content (or in the case of alt.journalism, discussion about any content). The blocking of is also suspect, given the fact that CyberPatrol has a deal with AOL to provide blocking to its customers. Presto! No more unhappy cus tomers!

CyberPatrol and other filtering companies use an automated set of stop words (which if I printed here and posted this article to the SRRT website would get it blocked) that eliminate sites and domains from a list of those available on the web to its users . Blocks are only removed when a compaint is made. Other companies, such as N2H2, use human beings to review web sites.

Peter Lewis, in a rather insightful article in the Seattle Times of 12/17/97, lays out how N2H2 develops its Bess filtering system. Three shifts of workers, working four hour shifts, wade through 10,000 sites a day, blocking about 33% of the sites they r eview. They are paid $7 an hour, and at ages like 18 and 19, are hired on the basis of "being internet and computer savvy, and have a solid resume with good work experience." The average worker stays four to five months at N2H2, where they blocks sites b ased on a four page instruction sheet. One month into his new job, one 19 year old worker admitted that "Since I'm new here, there's lots of stuff I haven't completely learned." N2H2 CEO Peter Nickerson admitted that they were "venturing into uncharted wa ters, espcially when it comes to 'fuzzy' sites that could go either way - naughty or nice. 'It's not a hard science by any stretch of the imagination,' he says." And one shift supervisor said, "It's better to be safe than sorry."

Clearly the arbitrary decision making process inherent in both of these processes for blocking web sites violates the Library Bill of Rights, and probably is unconstitutional when applied to public libraries. However, libraries in many municipalities hav e signed up with these services: Boston Public, Austin Public, the Loudoun County (VA) Libraries, the Orange County (FL) Library System are but a few. Some libraries block only children's access, others block adult access, some with no option to turn the blocking off.

For those of us invested in protecting the voices of those outside of the mainstream, this is an important fight. Contrary to popular belief, the US was not founded on majority rule, but rather on the opposite: the protection of minorities from the unfai r oppression of the majority. The right to have yourself heard in public spaces (which surely an internet terminal in a public library qualifies as) is a fundamental right, one which no private corporation should have the final word on. Yet that is the cu rrent case.

One example from CyberPartrol's own web site ( illustrates this well. Their "CyberNOT" committee heard arguments from two groups who tried to explain why they shouldn't be blocked. A gr oup of pagans tried to convince them that paganism was an old and respected religion that had nothing to do with Satanism (they don't even have a Satan figure); at another time a group of naturists (nudists) attempted to explain how theirs was a wholesome family-oriented back to nature lifestyle, one which had nothing to do with sex. The outcome of these meetings: the pagans won, the naturists did not. All naturist sites are still routinely blocked.

What legally protected information and knowledge is it "safe" for the public to have access to? It is not proper to outsource these decision to unqualified third parties.


Filering Facts, an organizaion that advocates filtering in libraries.

MIT Student Association for Freedom of Expression has a great annotated list of web links on the subject of filtering

Censorware in the Stacks. Is your site being blocked? Check here. Also contains links to a lawsuit pending against Loudoun County VA libraries who use Internet filters.

Blacklisted by Cyber Patrol: From Ada to Yoyo, A report from The Censorware Project. CyberPatrol is the filtering software currently being used at Austin Public Library and Boston Public Library. Learn more about what it's really filtering.

Task Force Reports

alternatives in print

Jackie Eubanks Memorial Award Winner Announced

This yearís winner of the Jackie Eubanks Memorial Award is Chris Atton, currently Lecturer in Information and Media and formerly Subject Librarian for Sciences at Napier University, Edinburgh, Scotland. Atton has authored Alternative Literature: a practic al guide for librarians (Gower, 1996) and numerous articles dealing with alternative media, social responsibility, and censorship. He co-founded the UK-based progressive librariansí organization, Information for Social Change (and its journal by the same name). A member of the editorial board of Counterpoise and its British editor, he is currently working on a doctoral thesis at Napier University examining the value of the alternative press as a source of news and current affairs reporting. Attonís effort s in promoting the importance of alternative materials in libraries have been tireless and astonishing. Presented annually by the Alternatives in Print Task Force of the American Library Associationís Social Responsibilities Round Table, the Eubanks Award honors a person for outstanding advocacy in promoting the acquisition and use of alternative publicatio ns and products in libraries. The award, $500 and a plaque, will be presented at one of AIPís programs at the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, DC in June.


At Midwinter Charles Willett lost a bag that contained some new Counterpoise and CRISES Press orders, notes and calling cards (it was taken from his booth after the exhibits closed). Please contact him if a new order fails to arrive or he doesnít respond to some matter you discussed with him at the meeting. (352.335.2200;


Recovering from the delay of the second issue, Counterpoise fired off the third and fourth (July and October) issues in time for ALA Midwinter. Volume 1 contained 395 reviews and 24 articles and talks, and cumulated the author/title and subject indexes in the fourth issue. The first (January 1998) issue of Volume 2 should appear in February, and we hope to be back on schedule for the April issue and thereafter. Entering our second year, we are looking for additional associate editors and reviewers. We particularly need help in the following subject areas (following the LC class schedule): BL-BX. Religion (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, etc.); DA - DQ. Western Europe, history; DR. Eastern Europe, history; DS and PJ. Middle East: history and literature; DS and PK. South Asia: history and literature; DS and PL. East Asia: history and literature; E and PM. American Indians: history and literature; F an d PQ. Latin America: history and literature; F and PQ. West Indies: history and literature; HM and HN. Sociology/Social problems/Social reform; HQ. Feminism/Womenís studies; HV. Social pathology/Criminology; J. Political science; K. Law; M. Mus ic; N. Fine arts; PQ. Romance literature; PR/PS. UK/US literature, Fiction; PT. Germanic literature; PZ. Juvenile literature; U and V. Military and naval science.


Counterpoise needs to triple its subscription base every year for the next three years in order to become fully self-supporting. To do that we need a lot of exposure to likely subscribers. Please help market Counterpoise to libraries in your area. Wr ite for sample copies, reviews and promotional materials. Here are some things you can do:

  • Ask the library director to subscribe.
  • Talk to the SRRT, Intellectual Freedom, Collection Management, or Minority Concerns groups in your state library association, ALA, SLA, PLA, etc. about promoting Counterpoise and the alternative press in their programs and newsletters.
  • Ask editors of magazines in your area if they would accept a free ad, an insert or an article. Urge them to advertise their publications in Counterpoise (rate card available).
  • Write an article or a letter to the editor of a local publication (or give a talk) about Counterpoise and the alternative press.
  • Write an article or a letter to the editor about your own concerns for publication in Counterpoise.
  • Invite librarians to attend the AIP program at the 1998 Annual Conference, ìCounterpoise: Getting Started.î
  • Whenever you are promoting SRRT, discuss Counterpoise as well. It is a SRRT-wide publication.

Charles Willett, editor
1716 SW Williston Road
Gainesville, FL 32608-4049.


Sunday, June 28, 1998 9:30-11 am.
Chris Dodge and Chuck Munson are planning an innovative AIP program at ALA in Washington, DC: Street Libraries: Infoshops & Alternative Reading Rooms. After Midwinter, where he visited the Crescent Wrench Infoshop, Chris discovered that a new infoshop has just opened in Minneapolis.

Program description: Anarchist and punk information workers? Partly a response to public librariesí failure to meet the real needs and desires of young people and activist communities, a network of alternative libraries and infoshops has grown during the 90s in North America. Learn more about these spaces being staked out for use as zine archives, meeting rooms, day care centers, concert venues, free skools, and bookstores, from the folks who run them. For more info: Article on infoshops from March/April 1997 MSRRT Newsletter: Other articles on infoshops, as well as a directory and some infoshop home pages.


In a slap in the face of the Hawaii Working Group, the ALA administration did not name a single HWG member to the newly formed Outsourcing Task Force, although HWG had been the driving force in organizing opposition to the Hawaii total outsourcing contrac t with Baker & Taylor in 1996 and í97. Concerned that OTF may be unrepresentative and insensitive to certain points of view, the HWG has decided to extend its work at least until June 1999, when the OTF makes its final report. It also is enlarging its sco pe to include all aspects of library outsourcing, everywhere. HWG chair Pat Wallace addressed the OTF at its first meeting and attended its two other meetings at Midwinter. Current HWG projects include a book, Libraries Betrayed: the Hawaii Outsourcing Di saster (CRISES Press, forthcoming, paper, $20.00) and a program at the 1998 Annual Conference, ìHawaii: Putting the Pieces Back Together Again.î Its members are Pat Wallace (chair), Sandy Berman, Yvonne Farley, Deborah Gutermuth, Earl Lee, Sarah Preble, Carol Reid, Stephanie Strickland, Charles Willett, and Wendy Thomas (ex officio).

Hunger, Homelessness and Poverty

The Hunger, Homelessness and Poverty Task Force met in New Orleans without our chair, Sandy Berman. Sandy was home in Minnesota having some tests done but Kim Edson managed to get us through our agenda admirably. The program for D.C. is falling into plac e but we have been unable to get Sen. Paul Wellborne to commit to appearing. We do have speakers lined up including someone from the West Virginia Economic Justice Program and the founder of Arise, a welfare group in Massachusetts. Brainstorming on ideas for the 1999 conference was profitable. The consensus seemed to be that a program dealing with literacy and literature and the poor/homeless might be good and have a broad appeal. We will be looking for writers who write on the t opic or people who are in writing programs, etc. for the homeless. Any potential speakers ideas can be sent to Kim Edson at

A draft brochure for the committee was presented and changes suggested. The final product will be available at D.C. Also the Poverty Cookbook project is at the publisher and the publication date is sometime this year hopefully. The TF is working on a directory of librarians interested in the task force and on poverty and homelessness issues. If you would like to be included please email Kim Edson (email address above).

The Task Force is excited about its programs and projects and is looking forward to an excellent year.

Linda Pierce

The Poor Peopleís Policy Subcommittee of the OLOS Advisory Committee met twice at the Midwinter Meeting in New Orleans. They are discussing strategies for the implementation of the Poor Peoples Policy within ALA. Planned activities include an article in A merican Libraries that includes the policy actions that libraries and library organizations can take to implement the policy, and a list of related resources. In addition, the committee is developing a pre-conference program for the 1999 Annual Conference in New Orleans. Collaboration among the various ALA units who address poverty issues is also being encouraged. Anyone interested in assisting with this effort should contact Carol Liu at or the OLOS liason, Satia Orange 312.280.4295 or 1.800.545.3433, ext 4295.

Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual

The Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Task Force is pleased to have welcomed so many new faces to the scheduled meetings in New Orleans. The faces appeared at our well-attended social in the French Market (where over 120 people were in attendance) as well as in our business meetings.

This showing in the business meetings was very heartening. Last annual, the task force voted three new committees into existence. They were the new Book Award Breakfast Planning Committee, the External Relations Committee, and the Fundraising Committee. W hy these committees? So that the task force can go about the business of becoming self-supportive as per the ALA parent organizationís mandated deadline of the Year 2000.

The Breakfast has become a major fundraiser for us now and the Fundraising Committeeís job is to keep the $$$ rolling in for this and other task force activities, special events, and the new initiatives that will be ferret{t}ed out by the External Relatio ns Committee. Ongoing work with the SRRT budget procedures [in cooperation with capable SRRT teasurer, Dotty Granger and OLOS Director, Satia Orange] will allow us to commence with our future fundraising initiatives.

Our External Relations Committee has been given the charge to beef up membership as well the GLBTFís exposure and presence within and outside of the profession. For too long weíve sat cloistered apart from major missions and activities of ALA at large. Ou r inclusion on the Diversity Council, greater participation in the great filtering debate and feedback on issues of personal liberties (among them, sex) are but points of departure in our new activism.

Looking toward the future, we have many activities in progress. As my Co-Chair, Bonita Corliss cited last quarter, we have good programs at annual. Our Book Award Breakfast and program will be on Monday morning, June 29th. The program, "What have you done for me lately?": Gay and Lesbian Youth Speak Outí will feature young adults as speakers defining what information they and their need for lifeís spectrum of challenges.

Youíre still looking for a reason to participate? How about joining our committee to prepare for our thirtieth anniversary celebratory programs? Chet Mulawka will be our Programming Planning Chair as of Annual í98 and will be coordinating those efforts. He can be reached via email at

Donít miss our www site. Follow the links from the ALA/Roundtables/SRRT path or go directly to Contact my co-chair, Bonita Corliss ( or me with questions or other GLBTF inquiries.

Michael J. Miller
Co-Chair Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Task Force

Coretta Scott King

Sharon M. Draper, author of Forged by Fire and Javaka Steptoe, illustrator for In Daddyís Arms I Am Tall, are the 1998 winners of Coretta Scott King Awards honoring African American authors and illustrators of outstanding books for children and young adul ts. Forged by Fire (Atheneum Books for Young Readers) tells the story of a teenager struggling to find stability in his life of abuse and addiction at home. Despite his grim experiences, he grows into a steadfast, optimistic and caring young man. Calling the story "riveting, realistic and hopeful," Heather Caines, chair of the King Awards jury said: "Draper ably tackles troubling contemporary issues, providing concrete options and positive African American role models." Steptoeís mixed media illustratio ns accompany a series of poems celebrating fatherhood by African American writers. Published by Lee & Low Books, Inc., it is Steptoeís first picture book.

The Coretta Scott King Awards are adminstered by the Coretta Scott King Task Force of the American Library Associationís Social Responsibilties Round Table. The awards jury named two King Author Honor Books: I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly: The Diary of Patsy, a Freed Girl by Joyce Hansen (Scholastic, Inc.) and Bayard Rustin: Behind the Scenes of the Civil Rights Movement by James Haskins (Hyperion Books for Children).

Three Honor Books were selected for illustrations Ashley Bryanís ABC of African American Poetry illustrated by Ashley Bryan (Atheneum Books for Young Readers); The Hunterman and the Crocodile: A West African Folktale, illustrated by Baba Wague Diakite (Sc holastic Press) and Harlem, illustrated by Christopher Myters (Scholastic Press). Awards will be given at ALA in Washington D.C. on Tuesday June 30th, 1998. Watch for ticket details.


The Feminist Task Forceís Annual Feminist Author Breakfast theme for this year is "Rhythms of Life." Women authors from independent feminist presses participating in the Womenís Press Library Project will speak on issues such as aging, health and other to pics of interest to women. The breakfast is scheduled for Sunday, June 28, 1998 in Washington D.C. For ticket information please contact: Dorothy Granger at Andrew Norman Library, Pacifics Oaks College, 5 Westmoreland, Pasadena CA 91103 or email or call 1.800.684.0500.

International Responsibilities

Social Responsibility Around the World
ALA Annual : June 28th 7-10 pm

Program: Each organization will have 20 minutes to give an overview of its philosophy, activities, successes and failures, impact on the library profession, and impact on society in its own country. Solidarity links with other countries and interna tional activities should be included. Proposals for further international cooperation can also be put forward. Then questions, answers, and discussion from those attending.
Meeting: Proposals will be formally considered at the 2nd meeting of SRRT Action Council, Monday, June 29, 2-4 PM. Other Meetings: All SRRT and ALA meetings are open. International visitors are cordially invited to attend the first SRRT Action Council meeting on Saturday, June 27th, 9:30-11 AM and the SRRT Task Force Meetings on Saturday, June 27th, 8-9:30 AM . The SRRT Membership Meeting is also open, Sunday, June 28th, 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM. Further information on task force programs will be forthcoming. Participants: The following organizations have expressed interest in participating. Contact names following organization names.

  • Anti-Nuclear Librarians Club, Japan, Miyoji Murakami
  • Arbeitskreis kritischer BibliothekarInnen (AKRIBIE), Working Group of Critical Librarians, Germany, Frauke Mahrt-Thomsen, Raimund Dehmlow, and Maria KÚhn-Ludewig
  • Arbeitskreis kritischer Bibliothekarinnen und Bibliothekare im Renner-Institut (KRIBIBI), Austria, Heimo Gruber, Renate Obadalek and Ulrike Retschitzegger
  • Bibliotek i Samh¨lle (BIS), Libraries in Society, Sweden, Lennart Wettmark
  • Information for Social Change, UK, John Pateman
  • Library and Information Workers Organization, South Africa (LIWO), Johnny Jacobs, Colin Darch, Christopher Merrett

Al Kagan, African Studies Bibliographer
328 Library, University of Illinois
1408 West Gregory Drive, Urbana, IL 61801 USA
217.333.6519 fax 217.333.2214

SRRT to Review State of Library Education

Prompted by a letter from ALA Mary K. Chelton of Emporia, KS, who questions the appropriateness of ALA accreditation of library schools which abandon the education of librarians for the public sector in favor of the more lucrat ive corporate sector, SRRT Action Council decided at its Jan. 12th meeting to investigate this growing trend away from education for librarianship and toward education for information management. Chelton included with her letter an article from the Augus t 1997 issue of Wired entitled "Morphing the Librarians" in which the new dean of UC/Berkeleyís School of Information Management and Systems is quoted as saying, ìThis is no longer a library school. This is a new school to train people for new job market s. Chelton urged SRRT, along with ALAís youth divisions and the PLA, to act on the matter with resolutions to ALAís Committee on Accreditation. As Wendy Thomas, Nel Ward and Elaine Harger worked to draft a resolution on the matter, we learned further tha t just prior to the convening of ALAís midwinter conference, the Association of Library and Information Science Educators discussed dropping the word library from its name. Any SRRT members interested in working on an ad hoc committee to examine the prese nt state of library education should contact Wendy.
Reported by Elaine Harger, 1/19/98

Hello New Members

Welcome to SRRT, the voice for social change and progressive priorities within ALA and the profession. We are glad to have you as a new member! If you would like to learn more about SRRT and its various task forces, hereís how. If you have specific questions about getting involved in SRRT, contact the SRRT Coordinator, Wendy Thomas ( 617.495.8549). If you would like to get involved with one of the SRRT task forces (Alternatives in Print; Coretta Scott King; Environment; Feminist; Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual; Hunger, Homelessness & Poverty; and International Responsibilities), contact the task force chai rs directly. If you attend ALAís Annual Conference, come to SRRT Action Council, Membership, or task force meetings! We always welcome new members and volunteers. Also check out the fledgling SRRT web site at

Wendy Thomas, SRRT Coordinator

Publication Information

SRRT Newsletter (ISSN 0749-1670) is published quarterly by the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association. It is sent to members of SRRT as part of their membership and is available to others by subscription for $15.00 per year. Subscription is open to both members and non-members of ALA. Correspondence and manuscripts may be sent directly to the editors by email:

Jessamyn West at
or Ken Thompson at

Views expressed in the newsletter are not necessarily those of ALA/SRRT. The editors reserve the right to edit submitted material as necessary or as whimsy strikes.