Social Responsibilities Round Table Newsletter #129

Table of Contents

ALA [in]action
task force reports
book reviews

From the SRRT Coordinator

Despite the heat and the humidity, ALA's Annual Conference in DC left me energized and optimistic. This was one of the most rewarding conferences I've attended, thanks to Barbara Fordís conference theme, Global Reach, Local Touch, and to SRRT's inspiring program, Social Responsibilities Around the World. There's a full report on our program, but it deserves another mention. Progressive, socially responsible librarians from Austria, Sweden, Germany, South Africa, Scotland, and England participated in a three-hour session that provided time for information-sharing, questions, and suggestions for follow-up activities. Thanks are due to Al Kagan, for all his organizing efforts; to Barbara Ford, who supported our program with a generous donation; and to our international guests, who not only participated in our program but attended SRRT events and meetings, observed ALA Council and Membership chats, and provided so many valuable insights into the issues facing libraries and library workers in their countries. SRRT's meetings at Annual were extremely productive: see inside for the text of the resolutions we passed. Other topics discussed:

  • Creating a listserv etiquette policy, which will be emailed to the list once a month, as a reminder, and coming up with guidelines to make resolution discussions on the listserv easier.
  • Deciding not to change our resolution policy to allow resolutions to be passed between conferences, as we need and value the opportunity for in person discussion.
  • Approving a small expenditure to reprint and update the SRRT brochure.
  • Discussing the new Round Table Councilor positions, and how we will determine who the SRRT Councilor will be (see next issue of the newsletter for details).
  • Avoiding conflicts between SRRT programs and meetings.
  • Urging all task forces to have bylaws, or, at least, a mission statement by Midwinter.
  • Deciding that having a separate Membership meeting at Annual is not working. We will try to combine the Membership Meeting with one of the Action Council meetings next year.

Thanks to the efforts of SRRT secretary Elaine Harger, we started a new tradition this year: a snazzy one-page flyer listing all SRRT programs. It was a great publicity tool! Our booth was well staffed and organized, thanks to Fred Stoss, Ann Sparanese, Charles Willett, and all the volunteers who helped with staffing.

As usual at this time of year, we pause to say thank you to those who are cycling off SRRT positions and welcome to those coming on board. SRRT members leaving Action Council this year are Dorothy Granger, Al Kagan, Mark Rosenzweig, and Nel Ward. Special thanks to Dotty, for her heroic efforts in the SRRT Treasurer position, and advanced gratitude to Nel Ward, who has volunteered to take over the Treasurer job. Welcome to new SRRT Action Council members Ceci Chapple, Wayne Mullin and Ann Sparanese, and re-elected Action Council member, Mark Rosenzweig! Elaine Harger will continue as Secretary for one last year, and I will stay on for one more year as coordinator.

I would also like to thank outgoing liaisons Tom Wilding (Literacy Assembly) and Alison Hopkins (Education Assembly) and outgoing Newsletter Editorial Board member Madeleine Tainton, who has completed her third year on the Board. Stephen Stillwell, former SRRT Coordinator, will take Tom Wildingís place; replacements for Alison Hopkins and Madeleine Tainton will be announced in the next issue of the newsletter.

Last, but not least, welcome to new SRRT task force chairs and affiliate liaisons!

Wendy Thomas, SRRT Coordinator


WHEREAS the Multilateral Agreement on Investments (MAI) is a pending global trade agreement which will require signatory governments to relinquish a degree of sovereignty to multinational corporations; and
WHEREAS the MAI is being negotiated in secret under the auspices of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a grouping of the world's 29 wealthiest countries; and
WHEREAS the MAI will require governments to provide equal treatment for domestic and foreign businesses, meaning that laws offering preferential treatment to businesses or organizations in a given locale or situation would be subject to lawsuits to be heard in courts and as-of-yet unnamed international tribunals, opening them up to unlimited liability for the continuation of democratically created laws; and
WHEREAS the MAI is intended to apply to all levels of government (national, regional, local, community) regardless of whether or not the governmental body in question ratified the treaty, meaning that local ordinances may be challenged by multinational corporations; and
WHEREAS many public and academic libraries receive the majority of their funding from governmental bodies, who will be constrained in the policy-making arena by the threat of foreign corporations taking legal action against them if they feel local interests are being placed ahead of their "rights"; and
WHEREAS the MAI will apply retroactively to contracts and laws implemented before the MAI is ratified; and
WHEREAS the MAI is anti-democratic and gives multinational corporations rights that citizens to not have while absolving them of most responsibilities; and
WHEREAS libraries and librarians are vital components in maintaining democratic systems by providing the information needed to maintain an informed and involved populace, and so have a significant stake in rebuffing attacks on democracy and the power of citizens to control their lives; and
WHEREAS the British Columbia Library Association Executive has already voiced its opposition to MAI; therefore be it
RESOLVED that the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association declares its opposition to the continued negotiation of the MAI until such time as the negotiations are opened up to representation by developing countries and by non-governmental organizations dedicated to protecting intellectual freedom, environmental, labor and consumer interests; and be it further
RESOLVED that SRRT urges the ALA Council, current President, and Presidents-Elect to publicly oppose MAI as a threat to democratic values, local autonomy, and human rights.

Passed by SRRT Action Council, 6/27/98 Washington DC


WHEREAS it is essential for a healthy democracy that the public is well informed about the activities and policies of Congress; and
WHEREAS objective and comprehensive coverage of Congress can only happen when there is a free press; and
WHEREAS Congress has delegated the credentialling of reporters to the Senate and House Periodical Press Galleries, whose members are "correspondents, newsgathers, or reporters"; and
WHEREAS in 1996, the Executive Committee of the Press Galleries denied press credentials to Vigdor Schreibman, a reporter whose work is ublished through the Federal Information News Syndicate (FINS); and
WHEREAS the Press Galleries issued credentials to Mr. Schreibman in 1993, 1994 and 1995 as a correspondent for the Electronic Public Information Newsletter (EPIN); and
WHEREAS there has been no substantial change in Mr. Schreibmanís functions, inasmuch as he has always issued his news columns and special reports in the names of FINS, distributed over the Intrnet and in print as a correspondent for EPIN; and
WHEREAS Mr. Schreibman's actions as a bona fide correspondent and newsgatherer, previously accredited by the Periodical Press Galleries and validated by his continuing work, are entitled to the protections of the First Amendment, which is a personal right independent of who he serves as a correspondent at any particular time; and
WHEREAS Mr. Schreibman has filed a lawsuit (Schreibman vs. Holmes) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia challenging the denial of his press credentials based upon the first Amendment to the Constitution command that "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom...of the Press"; therefore be it
RESOLVED that the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association recognizes the validity of Mr. Schreibman's claim to be a correspondent and news gatherer and supports his lawsuit as a means of resolving the constitutional issues that refusal of his credentials has raised; and be it further
RESOLVED that SRRT urges ALA to file an amicus brief supporting Mr. Schreibman's law suit.

Passed by SRRT Action Council, 2/27/98 Wash. DC


WHEREAS the American Library Association (ALA) has had a long official relationship with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), currently in the form of a designated ALSC (Association for Library Service to Children) liaison; and
WHEREAS ALA and units may provide bibliographies and other material and services to any organization with or without formal or official affiliation; and
WHEREAS the BSA continues to exclude persons from membership and leadership on the basis of religious ideas and/or sexual orientation; and
WHEREAS ALA Policy 9.5 specifically prohibits ALA or its component units from having formal relationships with organizations which violate ALA's principles and policies regarding human rights and social justice; and
WHEREAS ALA policies 54/17 and 60.2 declare the Association's support for gay rights and against creed-based discrimination; therefore be it
RESOLVED that the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association calls upon ALA to suspend formal or official relations with the Boy Scouts of America until such time as the Boy Scouts of America ends its exclusionary policy on the basis of a person's religious beliefs or sexual orientation; and be it further
RESOLVED that the ALA Social Responsibilities Round Table strongly urges the Boy Scouts of America to change its membership practices so that they demonstrate a commitment to human rights, inclusivity and mutual respect.

Passed by SRRT Action Council, 6/27/98 Washington DC


WHEREAS the object of the American Library Association is to promote library service and librarianship (ALA Constitution and Bylaws, Art. II, Sec. I); and
WHEREAS library service and librarianship can best be promoted in an environment in which individuals and organizations act in a socially responsible way (ALA Policy Manual, Section 1.1, 2nd paragraph); therefore be it
RESOLVED that the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association urges ALA to place its Endowment Fund and other investments in socially responsible financial instruments, as defined by the following Investment Code of Conduct (based, in part on the "Code of Conduct for Businesses Operating in South Africa," prepared by the South African Council of Churches, July 1993):

  1. Equal Opportunity. Companies should ensure that their operations are free from discrimination based on race, sex, religion, political opinion or physical handicap, and implement affirmative action programs designed to protect the equal rights and treatment of the historically disadvantaged.
  2. Training and Education. Companies should develop and implement training and education programs to increase the productive capacities of their employees in consultation with the labor union movement.
  3. Workers Rights. Companies should recognize representative unions and uphold their employeesí rights to organize openly, bargain collectively, picket peacefully and strike without intimidation and harassment.
  4. Working and Living Conditions. Companies should maintain safe and healthy work environment and strive to ensure that the working and living conditions they provide accord with relevant international conventions.
  5. Job Creation and Security. Companies should strive to maintain productive employment opportunities and create new jobs in local communities.
  6. Community Relations. Companies should share information about their practices and proposed plans with communities affected by their operations, and develop social responsibility programs in ongoing consultation with representative bodies in these communities.
  7. Consumer Protection. Companies should inform consumers of any possible dangers associated with their products and cooperate with consumer protection and broader community organizations to develop and uphold appropriate product safety and quality standards.
  8. Environmental Protection. Companies should utilize environmentally sound practices and technologies, disclose how and in what amounts they dispose of their waste products, and seek to minimize hazardous waste.
  9. Empowerment of Disadvantaged Groups Businesses. Companies should strive to improve the development of disadvantaged population group businesses by purchasing from and subcontracting to such firms.
  10. Specific Commodities. Companies should not engages in the production or marketing of weapons, nuclear power, tobacco products, or any other commodities harmful to life.
  11. Implementation. Companies should cooperate withmonitors established to implement standards by disclosing relevant information in a timely fashion.

Passed by SRRT Action Council, 6/27/98 Wash. DC


WHEREAS temperate rainforests represent a very small percentage of coastal regions of temperate latitudes; and
WHEREAS temperate rainforests represent some of the most rare, rich, and remarkably diverse ecosystems along North America's Pacific Coast, providing a unique biodiversity reserve of plant and animal species; and
WHEREAS federal, state, and provincial governments have established laws governing logging practices in these temperate rainforests; and
WHEREAS logging continues to take place in these old-growth temperate rainforests often in violation of federal, state, and provincial laws; and that clear-cutting remains in many instances the preferred method of harvest; and
WHEREAS Simon & Schuster has taken a progressive and environmentally responsible lead among the publishing industry by formulating a corporate policy not to use, distribute, or purchase papers made wholly or in part from clear-cut, old-growth trees; therefore be it
RESOLVED that the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association stimulate and support other publishers, including ALA Editions, to adopt similar policies stipulating that paper used in their publishing and communication activities not come from paper mills a. using wood chips from clear-cut, old-growth trees, or b. using paper pulp or pulp stock from other mills that is using wholly or in part materials taken from pristine, old-growth forests.

Passed by SRRT Action Council, 6/29/98 Washington DC

Libraries: An American Value?

At ALA in DC, SRRT discussed Ann Symonís intellectual freedom statement Libraries: An American Value. This statement is to become an important policy to ALA, designed to be adopted nationwide by libraries nationwide and equal in stature to the Library Bill of Rights. Sandy Berman, Carol Reid and Charles Willett have created a revised version of the statement that was discussed in Action Council. Some councilors supported the changes, others recommended refusing to support the statement altogether. It was decided to discuss it further at Midwinter and let individual SRRT members lobby for changes they supported. Here is a quote from Charles:

This message invites you as individuals to support the revisions to the proposed ALA intellectual freedom statement, Libraries: An American Value. I have sent the text to June Pinnell-Stephens, chair of the presidential task force, which published a draft statement to ALA members in March 1998 and held a follow-up hearing at ALA in Washington last month. Ann Symons has made intellectual freedom the focus of her ALA presidency. The presidential task force will prepare a final text this Fall and will submit it to ALA Council at Midwinter for acceptance as official ALA policy.

If you support our more forceful, revised text -- or if you want to make other revisions of your own -- please write to June Pinnell-Stephens IMMEDIATELY. Waiting until the next SRRT Action Council meeting in January 1999 will be too late.

In the interests of space, the relevant documents are available online. Please send email to if you would like them emailed to you. For more information on the discussion, you may tune into the SRRT listserv.

Libraries: An American Value original document with comment form

memo with more info about LAV document

Willett/Reid/Berman amended revision

Library Bill of Rights

NO NLE? : A Response to ALA Council Actions

ALA's Committee on Legislation recommended no action on the issue to endorse the National Institute for the Environment (NIE) and the creation of a National Library for the Environment (NLE). This is VERY disappointing news. The Task Force on the Environment and SRRT held two programs at two Annual Meetings ('98 and '97) on the creation of the National Institute for the Environment and a National Library for the Environment. TFOE held specific programs at two annual meetings to introduce the concepts of the NIE and the proposed NLE to ALA.

One of the major features of the proposed NIE would be the creation of a National Library for the Environment. A NLE would be part of a comprehensive national environmental information infrastructure that would add value to existing data and information resources (including federal, state, academic, and other libraries and library networks) by linking existing information into a integrated system with one stop shopping for critical environmental information and data resources.

A NLE would provide a systems that places in one location the access to environmental information so that the person or organization seeking data or information doesnít have to know whether the data are maintained by EPA, WDCs, EOSDIS, DOE, NRDC, the University of North Carolina or whomever in order to find it. The NLE is proposed as a information management center where the user can easily navigate among simple summaries, metadata records, technical reports and data, appropriate to their level of expertise. Once the data and information are identified, the user then is "escorted" to the appropriate agency(ies), data center(s), or institution(s) where the needed data are located.

The benefits to academic, school, and public libraries would be tremendous, for no single agency now has the capability nor the support to serve as a comprehensive environmental information and data resource provider . This in large part was why the NLE was suggested as a major program area within a NIE. More than 220 colleges and universities in the U.S. have already endorsed the NIE. A dozen or so U.S. federal agency librarians have worked closely with the CNIE in the design of the NLE, assisting in the drafting of the original proposal to create the NLE, serving on various NLE Steering Committees and Advisory Boards, and promoting the benefits of the proposed NLE at various library and other professional meetings. For a glimpse of what the NLE could become, readers are directed to the the prototype NLE Web site at

One of the comments by the ALA Committee on Legislation was related to their perception that "the National Science Foundation recommends against creating such an institute." The National Science Foundation issued a report to Congress in April stating that "the needs for [environmental research], reliable assessment of that research, education of the public about environmental issues, and dissemination of environmental information are critically important now and will be in the future. NSF plays an important role in all of these activities, and is expanding its support of them..."

On November 7th, 1997 Representatives Jim Saxton (R-NJ) and Neil Abercrombie (D-HI) introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives - The Sound Science for the Environment Act (H.R. 2914) - which will authorize and direct the National Science Foundation to establish a National Institute for the Environment (NIE). There are now 69 co-sponsors of this initiative. A summary of this bill is found at and the full text of the legislation is found under H.R. 2914 at the Library of Congressí Thomas site,

However, last spring the NSF did not propose any institutional change to accomplish these activities, despite a request from Congress that they do so. They stated that, "establishing a stand-alone entity or agency is not an effective means". The NSF committee that worked on this report did not include anyone from the Computer and Information Sciences and Engineering (CISE) directorate, despite a request from CISE that they be represented.

The National Science Foundation has issued their report following a Congressional request which was approved as part of H. Rept. 105-297 and H. Rept. 105-175, Congress "directs the Foundation to study how it would establish and operate such an institute, including the potential cost of such an institute".... A copy of the report is available on the NSF website at A CNIE statement on this action can be found at

TFOE will re-introduce their resolution to ALA Council and again seek ALA to endorse the concept and creation of the National Institute for the Environment, including a National Library for the Environment.

-- Fred Stoss

Dear Mom : Radical Librarian Weekend at ALA

Well, I'm pretty much sitting around my office today, uncompressing after a whirlwind weekend spent at ALA and schmoozing with all the radical librarians who came to town.

It was good to see several people there who are on this list, including Kati Roberto from Illinois (, Rory Litwin from California (, Chris Dodge from Minnysota ( and his wife Jan DeSirey (also an MSRRT Newsletter editor). I also got to hang with some new friends like Ken Thompson and Jessamyn West from Seattle who edit the SRRT Newsletter. Jessamyn spent a lot of time taking pictures for her Tattooed Librarian page. Unfortunately, we were unable to do anything for the Nekkid Librarians page, but we did stage a lesbian kissing scene in front of the Family Research Council, a noted anti-gay think tank.

This photo went into the second issue of CogNots, an alternative conference zine published by some creative malcontents that I may or may not have shared beers with. Cognots was distributed at several locations and events at ALA and became a sought ought underground commodity. The first issue of Cognots had a list of places offering free food during the conference, i.e. receptions, vendor parties, and SLIS reunions. Both issues included plenty of satirical reports on real and imagined ALA sessions (First Aid & Laundry Care: Whatís a Library Worker to Do?) and hints about cool things to do in DC (i.e. hang out at the Waffle Shop with the local branch of the Lesbian Avengers).

I also discovered on Friday that one of the Cognots staff had been going around to the Internet Cafes in the convention center and changing the default home page to the ALA Disorientation Guide that I posted to my MA Infoshop site ( The index page for the Disorientation guide got 600 hits last month, which helped the Anarchist Librarians page get around 700 hits. I think its pretty cool that several hundred librarians checked out the Guide before and during the convention. Thanks to those of you who pulled the Cafe stunt. The Anarchist Beer night happened as planned, although we probably shouldn't be planning beer nights. ;-) About 7-8 people showed up, thanks to a late afternoon surge by the Cognots distaff. We should do this again next year in New Orleans and hopefully in a more central location.

Chris Atton spoke at several events during the conference. He's written about Spunk and reviewed several of my web sites, as well as writing about alternative in print from the U.K. perspective. Chris was a discussant at an evening session on social responsibilities around the world (more about this in a minute) and on Monday morning he received the Jackie Eubanks award from SRRT. One of the unusual things about the award session was that the head of the British Library Association was in the audience and he got up and congratulated Chris on his award.

I also got a chance to talk with Raimund from Germany who does the International Directory of Progressive Librarians. The theme of ALA this year was Global reach, local touch, so the ALA SRRT organized a panel discussion with representatives from SRRT-like organizations around the world. There were reps from Bis in Sweden, KRIBIBI in Austria, LIWO in South Africa, and organizations in Germany and the U.K. I later gave the KRIBIBI rep a copy of Practical Anarchy and the Atlantic Anarchist Circle contact guide, so she could give them to the punk rockers she knew. I think it is very important to cultivate solidarity ties with radical librarians around the world. We share many similar concerns.

On Monday night the AIP hosted the annual Free Speech Buffet, which is an attempt to get local small presses and zines together with librarians who acquire new materials for libraries. The Buffet was held at the Washington Home of Stuart Mott which is this nice house with a courtyard across the street from the Supreme Court. Rumor has it that Mott was from the applesauce Mott family and that he gives money to liberal causes. The ACLU has an office here. The small press turnout was small, but several of you made it to the cool reception. One of the small magazines was Link which is a performance art zine from Baltimore.

A new issue of Charles Willet's Librarians at Liberty is available and the new edition of *Alternative Library Literature* by Jim Danky and Sanford Berman has been published by McFarland. I've been talking with Alternatives in Print task force people about workshops for next yearís ALA in New Orleans. We are talking about doing a session on erotica in libraries and one on corporate bookstores, which may include Industrial Worker editor Jon Bekken.

It was a fun weekend, but now it's time for a veg-out weekend.


Task Force Reports

Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Task Force

Activities of the GLBTF continue to draw in record crowds. Annual saw an attendance of nearly 180 people for our Book Award Breakfast. Each attendee heard fantastic comments and readings from our winners, Lucy Jane Bledsoe (Working Parts, Seal Press) and Adam Mastoon (The Shared Heart, Wm. Marrow) as well as inspiring speeches from our speakers Rep. Barney Frank and David Bergman (Men on Men series editor). So inspired were the attendees that the membership moved to appoint a new standing committee. The new Elections Committee will be recruited and given charges by Midwinter. With the advice and inspiration of ALA Councilor, Karen Schneider, the GLBTF hopes to more fully and effectively participate in the guidance of the profession via the ALA machine.

The GBLTF program, "'What have you done for me lately?' Gay and Lesbian youth speak out." drew an audience of 80 people and was attended by librarians from all corners of the library world: many from remote areas who needed solidarity and progressive ideas. Many thanks to President-Elect Ann Symons for attending and participating in both the Breakfast and the program. Revolutions have occurred within the ranks of the GLBTF. I bid a bittersweet farewell to Co-Chair Bonita Corliss (Enjoy your free time!) and heartily welcome Shari Clifton as she steps into Bonitaís spot. I look forward to intense and fun times in the year ahead. We also welcome Michael Poma as the new Secretary who replaces long standing scribe and friend Michael Nitz. Barbara Stevens will assume one of the positions as our representative to the Diversity Council.

Finally, the membership voted to appoint a standing committee to investigate the GLBTF's possible run for Round-Table status. I was quite moved by the show of support from SRRT and intend to make sure that SRRT is included and considered in this investigation as well as fully informed of the progress of the committee and it's work.

Donít forget our www site! It has a volunteer form on it now!

Have a wonderful Summer/Autumn!

Michael J. Miller, MLS, MS

Alternatives In Print

Chris Atton was the 1998 winner of the Jackie Eubanks Award, presented annually by the Alternatives in Print Task Force. The award was presented at the beginning of the AIP-sponsored conference program, ìCounterpoise, ALAís New Alternative Review Journal: Getting Started.î Atton was also a presenter at this session.

The award honors outstanding advocacy in promoting the acquisition and use of alternative materials in libraries. Acclaimed for his book, Alternative Literature: A Practical Guide for Librarians, and articles dealing with media politics, class bias in libraries, and critical thinking, Atton is cited as a relentless networker. He organizes programs for librarians at book fairs, seeks out publications from independent presses, and enthusiastically shares information with colleagues internationally. Atton is lecturer at Napier University in Edinburgh, Scotland in the Department of Print Media, Publishing and Communication. He is working on a doctoral thesis examining the value of the alternative press as a source of news and current affairs reporting. He is a member of the editorial board of Counterpoise, and co-founder of the UK-based organization, Information for Social Change. Past Eubanks Award honorees include Noel Peattie, Chris Dodge, and Mev Miller.

The AIP booth, shared with the Alternative Press Center and the Independent Press Association, displayed Counterpoise, Alternative Publishers of Books in North America (3rd ed.), the Alternative Press Index and Annotations from APC, a triple issue of Librarians at Liberty from CRISES Press, t-shirts advertising the new 8th edition of Berman & Dankyís biennial Alternative Library Literature (McFarland), and a wide selection of buttons linking the alternative press to intellectual freedom. Beth Schulman of IPA and Nancy Willett of CRISES Press did the lionís share of the staffing.

Representing the alternative Civic Media Center library in Gainesville, Florida, which he helped found, Charles Willett took part in the Diversity Fair project of ALA/OLOS, together with Shu-min Hsieh of the Alachua County Library District, demonstrating a unique cataloging project completed in the last two years that has put 1,100 CMC titles into the public libraryís on-line database.

Street Libraries Program

Organized by Chuck Munson and Chris Dodge, the session ìStreet Libraries: Infoshops and Alternative Reading Roomsî went well, with 85 people attending. This meant a standing-room-only audience, not bad for a Sunday morning in a remote hotel (unhappily in conflict a time-slot conflict with the Feminist Author Breakfast). The room was really goodówell lit and coolóand the audience also stuck around for most of the session. There were a lot of straight-looking librarians there, so attendance wasnít dominated by friends and the usual suspects.

The witty and insightful Chris Atton (attending ALA in part to receive the Eubanks Award) got things started by presenting an overview of the infoshop movement, focusing on the Autonomous Centre of Edinburgh. Next Joe Courter talked about and showed slides of the Civic Media Center in Gainesville, Florida. Chantel Guidry described her experiences with the Crescent Wrench Infoshop in New Orleans. (Many were amused when she listed free skool classes, including one on sewing your own menstrual pad.) Alexis Buss talked about the A-Space, Wooden Shoe, and other anarchist activities in Philadelphia, and Munson finished up with comments about the Mid-Atlantic Infoshop. Perhaps surprisingly, some of the questions after panelistsí presentations dealt with Internet issues. One person asked if the Mid-Atlantic Infoshop had ever gotten filtered. (It was.)

Afterwards most of the panelists went out for lunch, walking far more than the ìfew blockî the DC-based Munson had promised. While lunch is not included in the deal, a vicarious experience can be obtained via audiocassette. The session was taped by ALA $12 + $1 shipping and handling; for ordering info:

312-467-0424, FAX:
312-467-9271, 1-800-225-3775

International Responsibilities Task Force

Social Responsibility Around the World

The International Responsibilities Task Force sponsored the main SRRT program this year titled, ìSocial Responsibility Around the World,î endorsed the Pastors for Peace caravan to Cuba, and endorsed the Basic Services for Libraries project for Palestine. Contact Ann Sparanese,, for further information on how to help with the Pastors for Peace caravan to Cuba. They are bringing bookmobiles as well as library and school supplies. Contact Elaine Harger, to help out with the Palestine project to aid the Gaza Health Sciences Library at the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.

In coordination with ALA President Barbara Fordís 1998 theme, ìLocal Touch, Global Reach,î the Task Force was energized through its successful program on ìSocial Responsibility Around the World.î The papers will be printed in the Progressive Librarian. The following speakers from our sister progressive library organizations gave overviews of their organizations and explained the library environment in their respective countries:

  • Austria: Renate Obadalek from Arbeitskreis Kritischer Bibliothekarinen und Bibliothekare im Renner-Institut (KRIBIBI). Translation: Male and Female Critical Librarians.
  • Germany: Frauke Mahrt-Thomsen from Arbeitskreis Kritischer BibliothekarInen (AKRIBIE). Translation: Working Group of Critical Librarians.
  • South Africa: Johnny Jacobs from Library and Information Workers Organization (LIWO.
  • Sweden: Lennart Wettmark from Bibliotek i Samhle (BIS). Translation: Libraries in Society.
  • United Kingdom: Martyn Lowe from Information for Social Change.

Several other members from the Austrian and German organizations also attended the meetings and participated in our discussions, including Raimund Dehmlow, editor of the Directory of Progressive Librarians Around the World (Hannover: Laurentius, 1997). An expanded directory is online without descriptions at the following URL. Links to various homepages are provided:

Chris Atton, author of Alternative Literature: A Practical Guide for Librarians (Aldershot, UK: Gower, 1996) was the panel discussant. Chris noted that it can sometimes be lonely working on issues in our respective countries, but the act of coming together and meeting each other is actually ìa validation of our work.î He described how winning this yearís SRRT Jackie Eubanks award validated his work in the UK, and brought mainstream attention to his work. So giving each other more awards may be a viable organizing strategy.

The great positive energy generated resulted in the beginnings of an international network of progressive library organizations. Our first action was to endorse a statement on the inappropriate venue for this yearís International Visitors Reception at the World Bank. All of the speakers boycotted the event in protest over the Bankís ìStructural Adjustment Programsî which decimate social programs so that countries can pay their debts as dictated by the international financial system. The first campaign will be opposition to the Multinational Agreement on Investments (MAI). See the SRRT resolution in this issue.

Al Kagan

Task Force on the Environment

Last spring TFOE was contacted by the Rainforest Action Network, a nonprofit organization advocating on behalf of threatened and endangered rainforest around the world. Specifically, the Rainforest Action Network was seeking to leverage ALA support in hopes of eliminating or reducing the amount of material from old growth temperate rainforests (primarily along the Pacific Coast of British Columbia in Canada). Rainforest Action noted ALAís effectiveness in getting large publishing houses to switch to acid-free papers.

A TFOE resolution to that request was made and approved by the Social Responsibilities Round Table. The Resolved statement can be read in the resolution section on page 3.

ALA Action on previous TFOE Resolutions

TFOE has worked for several years to present two resolutions before the ALA Council. Both resolutions were introduced to Council at the 1998 Midwinter Meeting and acted upon by the respective ALA Committees to which they were referred. Here are the Committee Reports and their findings.

CD#40 Use of Chlorine-Free Paper From Budget Analysis and Review Committee (BARC) The resolution recommends that ALA Publishing and Reprographics use only chlorine-free paper. ALA Publishing unit reported to BARC that currently ALA uses elementally (sic) chlorine-free paper (CFP). This paper contains small amounts of post consumer recycled paper that may have been bleached with chlorine at some point in the past. At this point, moving to CFP would increase ALA expenses 7,000 to $120,000 annually. Publishing reported that Canada and Europe have taken a lead in producing TCF paper and there are only a fee suppliers in the US. US paper manufacturers are currently working on the process and expect to convert to TCF in about two years. Staff will continue to monitor the issue. At this time, BARC does not recommend moving to CFP demands to significantly greater expense and limited exposure of elementally DFP (sic) currently used.

CD#41 Endorsement of the National Institute for the Environment and the National Library for the Environment Committee on Legislation

"The COL chose not to take action on this resolution. The Committee concluded that ALA does not have the expertise to determine if a National Institute for the Environment is needed, and the National Science Foundation recommends against creating such an institute. The Committee observes that there is no compelling documentation for the creation of another national library. Such a library would duplicate materials in existing national libraries and federal agency libraries."

TFOE Selects New Co-Chairs

The Task Force on the Environment has selected two librarians known for their environmental activities to serve as Co-Chairs for TFOE for the next two years. Their experience in environmental matters and their willingness to see TFOE and ALA take on new challenges will bring TFOE into the 21st Century and provide a firm leadership basis for this task force.

Patricia ìPattyî Owen has her BA from Mount Holyoke College in the Biological Sciences and her MLS from the University of South Florida, where she was inducted into Beta Phi Mu. Patty serves as Pasco County Library System Assistant Director, Public Services. She is a former Chair of the Environment and Resource Management Division of the Special Libraries Association and is currently Chair of the Florida Library Association LAMA Interest Group. Her current environmental projects include a Stormwater Pond Restoration Aquascape project at South Holiday Branch Library in partnership with Southwest Florida Water Management District and establishing public access environmental information Internet stations at Hudson Regional Library in conjunction with SWFWMD. Patty is interested in continuing efforts towards the creation of a Rachel Carson Book Award planned to begin in 2000 to recognize excellence in youth oriented environmental fiction and non fiction.

Maria Jankowska returns to the helm of the Task Force. A member of TFOE since its inception in 1989, Maria will serve a two-year term as Co-Chair with the intent of exploring new initiatives in the areas of environmental education and environmental justice. Maria is a reference librarian at the University of Idaho and is leading an effort in Geographic Information Systems. Maria holds a Ph.D. in economics in addition to her library science degree. She continues to serve as Editor of the Electronic Green Journal and was the founding editor of its printed predecessor, The Green Library Journal.


Call For Mentors! The Feminist Task Force is actively seeking mentors for the Women of Color Mentoring Program. Mentors are asked to allow their mentees to accompany them to ALA events at ALAís annual conference in New Orleans. Part of the purpose of the women of Color Mentoring Program is to personalize the often overwhelming ALA experience for new conference attendees. Women interested in participating should contact Deb Gilchrist at

Hunger, Homelessness and Poverty

Will the Poor Always be Among Us?

ìI use libraries for intellectual stimulation,î said a homeless ìdumpster diverî to librarians at the Taskforce on Hunger, Homelessness and Povertyís (HHP) program at ALAís Annual conference in Washington, D.C. He did not, he said, use the library just to ìget out of the coldî.

The homeless D.C. resident was a panelist for ìWill the Poor Always Be Among Us? Welfare Reform and its Aftermathî along with two other representatives from the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) and a representative from the Institute for Womenís Policy Research.

About 125 people attended this program where Michael Stoops, an organizer for the NCH and a member of the HHP Taskforce, presented a saddening slide program with music entitled ìFaces of Homelessnessî. The slide show communicated in an impressive way that homelessness has many faces including those of children. Stoops also talked to librarians about his anger at the current administrationís lack of action on the issue of homelessness. His remarks were supported by the testimonies of two homeless men who spoke about their lives on the streets.

Katherine Allen, a research associate with the Institute for Womenís Policy Research in Washington, D.C. talked about welfare reform and how libraries could meet the needs of current welfare recipients and of those coming off welfare. Some the greatest needs, she said, will be for learning experiences, informal training and literacy programs.

The goal of this program was to continue promoting ALAís Poor Peopleís Policy and to stimulate discussion about economic barriers to information access. Having two men talk about what it was like to be homeless seemed to have a moving effect on the audience.

Coretta Scott King

CSK Breakfast and Program Initiatives

Attendance at the Coretta Scott King Award breakfast numbered four hundred and fifty at the ALA Conference in DC, and The CSK Task Force is committed to doubling that number for the 30th Anniversary celebration scheduled for New Orleans in the Summer of 1999. This yearsí breakfast was complete with local student guests sponsored by the Prince Hall Masons and various publishing houses: Lee & Low, Scholastic, Atheneum/Simon & Schuster, and Hyperion. Among head table guests were SRRT Coordinator, Wendy Thomas, ALA President Barbara Ford, Basil Phillips, honorarium presenter from Johnson Publishing, James Gurke, honorarium presenter Encyclopeadia Britannica, Alvin Granowsky, honorarium presenter World Book Encyclopedia, and John Nelson honorarium presenter Book Wholesalers Inc. 1998 Award recipients were Sharon Draper (text) and Javaka Steptoe (illustrations). 1998 Honor winners were: Joyce Hansen and James Haskins for text, and Ashley Bryan, Baba Wague Diakite, and Christopher Myers for illustrations.

A series of celebratory programs are being planned for the 30th Birthday of the Coretta Scott King Award inclusive of storytelling, art workshops, young author workshops, a read-in, A CSK Gala, and the Annual CSK Breakfast. In addition, the Task Force is planning a yearlong campaign to heighten the awareness of the Coretta Scott King Award to the general public and library community. Watch the CSK web sight for additional features highlighting CSK collaborations and initiatives. The CSK Task Force will be involved in collaborative efforts to develop and/or facilitate programs, publications, and other appropriate activities, which connect children, librarians, teachers, and families to quality literature of African American authors and illustrators.

Bridging the Gap, Building the Future Program

The first CSK joint program effort (ALA Black Caucus and the SRRT/CSK Task Force) was held at the ALA DC Conference at the Martin Luther King Public Library. Program host was Khafre Abif, Head of Childrenís Services at the Mount Vernon Public Library. Khafre lead the audience in African sing-a-longs with enthusiastic audience participation using various African instruments. Barbara Clark, Coordinator of Media and Enrichment Services with Birmingham Public Schools, shared the oral tradition by telling the title story from CSK award winning book ìThe People Could Flyî by Virginia Hamilton. The two major program highlights were performances by local and guests youngsters. Ten students from the ìHatari Paca Chuii Sana Skuliî after school program from Newark New Jersey under the direction of Mr. Oba Saeed Lewis presented wonderful ìSwahili Call and Response Exercises in Disciple.î Several students from the District of Columbia YMCA Summer Camp Program introduced themselves and read their favorite poems from the ìIn Daddyís Arms I am Tallî illustrated by Javaka Steptoe (1998 CSK Award Winner). It was truly a celebration in story, song, and poetry. Cultural Connection to African Art Exhibit at the Saint Louis Art Museum One of CSKís first collaborative efforts will be implemented with the Saint Louis Art Museum connecting art and literature using the CSK Award Books for the opening program of the international ì Masterpieces from Central Africa Exhibitî from September 12 - November 29, 1998. Ashley Bryan, Coretta Scott King Award recipient, will be the featured Artist/author- In -Residence in the opening festivities (September 10-14, 1998). Twelve CSK Award titles that highlight African themes, presentations by Ashley Bryan, and a book fair with autographing will be the focal point of the weekend opening festivities. CSK Award brochures will be available to teachers attending lectures by Mr. Bryan. A full schedule of program activities can be found on the Saint Louis Museum Web page .

CSK Task Force Meeting Highlights

Newly revised Constitution and Bylaws were passed by membership. CSK Task Force meeting time was changed to Saturday to coincide with the All Task Force Meeting times of SRRT and to better facilitate the business of the Task Force. Tentative 30th Anniversary Plans were approved. Four new Award Jury members were elected. Black Caucus Conference CSK Booth and Program were approved. As outlined by new constitution, Chair Barbara Clark summarized goals of her term: 1) Strengthen SRRT/CSK ties. 2) Increasing membership and foster expansion of the CSK talent pool. 3) Update CSK Constitution and Bylaws. 4) Develop a 5-year plan for the financial solvency of the CSK Task Force. 5) Foster programming and awareness of the Coretta Scott King Award on a national level .

CSK Volunteers Still Needed

While we are happy to report that since the last SRRT Newsletter, fourteen new members have joined the ranks of CSK Task Force, we are still in need of new members and volunteers to facilitate the purposes of CSK. If you have expertise in any of the areas listed below and would like to join the CSK Task Force, please contact Task Force Chair Barbara Clark or 30th Anniversary Chair Denyvetta Davis We need volunteers for the following duties: Fund Raising (assist in developing list and contacting corporate sponsors) Public Relations (Writing of articles for various publications; conference presenters-local state and national) Publications (writing of curriculum guides for CSK titles, developing annotated bibliographies, design of CSK publications, writing of public service announcements) Archives and History (Video recording of CSK Programs; written history of programs) 30th Anniversary Programs (Program organization and planning)

Book Reviews

Information Ethics for Librarians
Mark Alfino and Linda Pierce.
(ISBN 0-7864-0376-4)

In ìInformation Ethics for Librariansî Alfino and Pierce present a basis for the ethical considerations facing librarians today and in the past. They trace the evolution of the profession, with attention to the moral role of the librarian over the years, and how it has changed and developed. The preface contains an explicit outline of what will be covered in the forthcoming chapters, and they adhere to it very nicely.

Alfino (philosopher) and Pierce (librarian) combine their two perspectives well. There is a clear discussion on varying ethical theories, with discernable conclusions and explanations of how each applies to the moral value of information. They address the issue that librarians know intuitively that information is important, but how do we justify it ethically? Alfino and Pierce provide great re-capping and synthesis of ideas. They present and discuss several concepts, then draw conclusions.

They donít contend to solve all ethical dilemmas for librarians in all places, settings or times. But Alfino and Pierce provide excellent background and perspectives for consideration while establishing your own approach to current ethical information questions. I found it well written, useful and interesting to read. Includes the ALA codes of ethics over the years, notes and an index. McFarland & Co, Inc. Box 611 Jefferson, N. Carolina, 28640.

Adrienne Julius

Managing Childrenís Services in the Public Library
Fasick, Adele M.
Second Edition, 1998. Libraries Unlimited, Inc., Englewood, CO.

Adele Fasick lays the groundwork for this guidebook by emphasizing that "changing demographics, economics, social patterns, and media and technology will effect [sic] how childrenís departments in public libraries organize, plan, and implement their services." In particular, she emphasizes the importance of knowing the libraryís clients, and that the diversity of young people will likely change due to increased immigration patterns.

Advocating for childrenís departments in public libraries, Fasick forthrightly asserts in her introduction that ìpublic libraries were created to decrease social divisions and give children from working class families, many of whom are also racial or ethnic minorities, a chance to compete at the same level with other children. This role as a force for social justice may be increasingly important in the early years of the twenty-first century as a counterbalance to conservative political agendas.î (pg. xv) She leaves it to the readerís imagination to decide what may constitute these agendas. The chapters cover mission statements, collection development, community assessments, goal and objective setting, policies and procedures, etc. Each chapter is filled with detailed situational examples, as well as reprints of selected examples from public libraries throughout the United States. Included, if applicable, are URL, Listserv, and e-mail addresses. The book also has an informative bibliographic reference section. Although electronic tools are referenced throughout the book, Fasick emphasizes that children need a variety of experiences (books, tapes, videos, computers, storytimes) in order to learn. This book is surprisingly deceptive in its modest paperback cover and straight forward textbook style and layout, because it is chockfull of extremely useful guidelines, advice, examples, references, and strategies for providing library services. It can be a useful tool for all librarians, not just managers and not just those with responsibilities in childrenís or young adult services. I highly recommend this book to public library practitioners and to library and information science students.

Carla Hopkins

Jobs You Can Live With: Working at the Crossroads of Science, Technology, and Society
Susan M. Higman, Ed.

This is a directory of organizations working for a better world. The mission of Student Pugwash USA is to promote socially responsible applications of science and technology in the 21st century. Each entry is provide the standard point-of-contact information and a profile of the organization (including its mission statement, programs, and descriptions and requirements for available positions and internships. Additional chapters provide helpful hints for job searching, resume and cover letter preparation, interviewing tips, and other relevant resources for locating sources of employment. Jobs You Can Live With is for students and young professionals who are in the midst of their academic studies or are just beginning their careers and want to start their life¼s work by creating a more just, secure, and sustainable world. A tremendous resource for identifying internship opportunities. The environmental and natural resources are very well represented in this compendium. Thanks to a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, this reference book can be ordered free of charge. Student Pugwash USA 815 15th Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20005 202/393-6555 202/393-6550 FAX

Fred Stoss
SUNY University at Buffalo

Information, Communication and Society
v.1(1) Spring 1998
ISSN 1369-118X

IC&S does a pretty good job of living up to its stated goal of exploring the ìsocial, economic, political and cultural properties of the emerging information and communications technologies.î In its inaugural issue, it tackles a number of topics, including ìinformation warfare,î cultural politics in the information age, surveillance, and ethical considerations around nanotechnology (autonomous molecule-sized machines). Landing somewhere between JASIS and Cultural Studies, this peer reviewed quarterly manages to write about the complicated intersection of culture and technology in fairly plain and accessible terms.

For example, Frank Webster and Kevin Robinsí ìThe iron cage of the information societyî critiques trends in futurist thought through the 80ís and 90ís, and traces the effects that the death of communism has had on information technology, and examines the roles that ìsymbolic analystsî (information workers) have held in creating a new class structure. In all, it adds up to one of the better analyses of the history, motivations, and effects of the so called "information revolution."

Subscriptions to IC&S (institutional) are US$180. Samples can be obtained from or by contacting Routledge 29 W. 35th St. NY NY 10001 (

Ken Thompson

Poor people and library services
Edited by Karen Venturella, forward by Sanford Berman.
McFarland and Co., Inc, 1998. 190 p.

Library programs have been initiated across the United States in an attempt to reach those whose poverty has erected physical and cultural barriers to library services. This collection of program descriptions compiled by Karen Venturella may serve to inspire such outreach initiatives. Services such as literacy programs, foreign language material collections, on-site library collections and read-aloud programs have been shown to reach this underserved population. Many of the programs involve cooperation between public libraries and public or private welfare organizations. A librarian from the Orange County Public Library developed a materials collection and reading program on-site at Orangewood Childrenís Home, Orange County, Californiaís largest public emergency shelter for children who have been removed from their homes as a result of abuse, neglect or abandonment. Services now extend to the Juvenile Hall across the street. In Denver, the Read-Aloud program reaches low-income neighborhoods by sending volunteers to homeless and abuse shelters, low-income daycare centers, and the Childrenís Hospital oncology floor. A non-profit organization from outside the library community, the Fourth World Movement Tapori Street Library, serves children in New York City and helps develop a relationship between community members and the local public library. Volunteers drive up in a van, spread out a blanket on the sidewalk, and create a library on the street. These stories provide real life examples of programs developed to serve the poor. While this compilation may serve as a basis for ideas, information on how to determine where the need lies or how to fund such initiatives must be sought elsewhere. (Box 611, Jefferson, NC 28640, 336-246-460, $26.50, paper, 0-7864-0563-5;

Deirdre McDonough

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 to the editors at
Jessamyn West:
or Ken Thompson:
or the SRRT Newsletter book review editor Adrienne Julius:

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.