Issue 177, December 2011
ALA Midwinter Schedule
Letter From the Editor
Why SRRT and Why Action Council
Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Task Force News
Alternative Media Task Force News
Book Review- The Culture of the Internet and the Internet as Cult
Book Reviews Editor Wanted
Call for Submissions
Friday, January 20th, 2012
12:00 – 5:30 pm: Amelia Bloomer Project Committee Meeting, Marriott City Center (Nice)
Saturday, January 21st, 2012
8:30 – 10:00 am: All Task Forces Meeting, Dallas Convention Center (D221)
9:00 – 1:00 pm: Amelia Bloomer Project Committee Meeting II, Marriott City Center (Nice)
10:15 – 12:30 pm: Action Council Meeting I, Dallas Convention Center (D175)
2:00 – 5:00 pm: Rainbow Project Book List Committee I, Sheraton Dallas Hotel (Trinity 3)
3:00 – 6:00 pm: Amelia Bloomer Project Committee Meeting III, Marriott City Center (Nice)
4:00 – 5:30 pm: Progressive Librarians Guild, Dallas Convention Center (D170)
Sunday, January 22nd, 2012
9:00 – 1:00 pm: Amelia Bloomer Project Committee Meeting IV, Marriott City Center (Nice)
9:00 – 5:00 pm: Rainbow Project Book List Committee II, Sheraton Dallas Hotel (Trinity 3)
1:00 – 3:00 pm: Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Task Force Meeting II, Omni Hotel Dallas (White Rock 1)
2:30 – 6:30 pm: Action Council Meeting II, Dallas Convention Center (D222)
3:00 – 6:00 pm: Amelia Bloomer Project Committee Meeting V, Marriott City Center (Nice)
6:00 – 7:30 pm: Feminist Task Force Meeting II, Dallas Convention Center (A101)
Monday, January 23rd, 2012
6:30 – 7:30 am: Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Observance and Sunrise Celebration, Dallas Convention Center (A2)
9:30 – 1:00 pm: Amelia Bloomer Project Committee Meeting VI, Marriott City Center (Nice)
3:30 – 6:30 pm: Amelia Bloomer Project Committee Meeting VII, Marriott City Center (Nice)
by Amy Honisett
Hello SRRT Newsletter readers, and happy holidays.
This Thanksgiving I reflected on how thankful I am to have a job in which I am able to make a difference in patrons’ lives, and in the lives of the people they serve.
I work in a health sciences library. I feel lucky that I get to go into work every day and help students, staff, and faculty learn about the information resources they need to do their job. By working to help the patrons at my library, I contribute to social justice; information literate nurses, doctors, pharmacists, physical therapists, and other health care professionals are better able to help their patients get the necessary care and information, regardless of income, education, or any other barrier.
What makes you thankful about your work, about your library, or about librarianship in general? The SRRT Newsletter Editorial Board and I would like to invite you share your experiences with SRRT Newsletter readers. For the next newsletter, we would like to hear how you effect societal change or work towards social justice in your position.
Enjoy the Midwinter meeting, and please don’t forget that you can always contact me at email@example.com with suggestions, comments, and contributions to the newsletter.
By Jane Glasby
Midwinter Meeting is just around the corner. I am looking forward to seeing old friends and colleagues and meeting new ones. In particular, I am glad that we can expect a full complement of Action Councilors this time. All of our At-Large positions have been filled, including three positions created by resignations. We welcome back Theresa Tobin, who just finished a stint as an ALA Councilor-At-Large and has long been very active on the Feminist Task Force, and John Buschman, one of the founders of the Progressive Librarians Guild and an editor of the Progressive Librarian. We also welcome new member Susan Hayes. Susan has volunteered to take up the position of Secretary, a.k.a Documentarian. I am very grateful, as the position is essential. We will miss Nancy Garmer, who has very ably filled the role for several years. Thank you, Nancy. Al Kagan has stepped up to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of SRRT Councilor Tiffani Conner until elections this coming year. Al was our SRRT representative on ALA Council for many years and his tenure was marked by responsibility, attention to detail when he reported back to members, and bravery. Although it can be exhilarating to speak your mind, it is not easy being the SRRT Councilor; you are required to stand up and argue what can be uncomfortable positions to an increasingly right-wing/liberal Council. I wish to thank Tiffani for her work over the past two years, in particular the research that went into her full reports.
My experience of the last ALA Conference seemed to be all about whistleblowers and WikiLeaks, and I expect that this coming Meeting will have a bit more of WikiLeaks about it, especially since I see that the prestigious Walkley Foundation award for the “Most Outstanding Contribution to Journalism” has just been awarded to the whistle-blowing site. It may be that the tide of opinion is turning and ALA Council tends to reflect the opinion of the general population, as we saw when they finally came around to supporting a SRRT resolution against the war in Iraq. This Midwinter Meeting will also have quite a flavor of “occupation.” Anyone watching the ALA Council listserv will know that resolutions are already being written about the Occupy Wall Street library. Some valuable conversation has arisen about the loss of federal libraries on SRRT listservs. Elsewhere, some really interesting discussion has happened about voices and representation of people of color, of age, of disabilities in the movement of the 99%, and the contentious use of the word “occupation.” I hope that we will be looking at any resolutions heading towards ALA Council, and writing our own on these and many other issues. The “occupation” movement reminds me of my first involvement in student politics, when we occupied the university administrative block. Having time to sit in long meetings face-to-face, hammering out issues through discussion, was a luxury. The general assemblies of the current movement, and the opportunity for activists to spend time together discussing issues and using their libraries as resources and repositories, give me hope for a resurgence of political understanding and activism. I hope to spend time in deep discussion with some of you at the Midwinter Meeting in Dallas.
SRRT Coordinator 2011-2012
SRRT Action Council members tell us what SRRT means to them, how they define social responsibility, and why they ran for Action Council.
I want to thank the SRRT Editorial Board for inviting Action Council members to introduce ourselves to the SRRT members and give a sense of what SRRT means to us and why we ran for Action Council. I have been a member of the Round Table for several years, including serving as ALA’s Budget Analysis and Review Committee’s liaison to SRRT a few years back. However, only recently did I think that this would be a good point in my career to get involved and give back to SRRT.
I have spent my career as an academic librarian, but I have also volunteered in support of public and school libraries in the different communities in which I have lived. For the past twenty years, it has been my privilege to be the Dean of the Library at The University of Scranton, a nationally recognized Catholic and Jesuit university in northeast Pennsylvania. I credit my years working with the Jesuits for my strong grounding in social justice and a deep desire to give back to others. The Jesuits have helped me see the importance of helping people who have experienced separation from their homes by conflict, natural disaster, economic injustice, or violation of other human rights. In my local community in Pennsylvania, I am strongly committed to working to help the homeless. With the current recession, I see more and more people losing their homes, so I try to do whatever I can to help people experiencing these difficult transitions.
This grounding in my career and my personal life has brought me to want to be more involved in SRRT and contribute through the Action Council.
In addition, the current economic recession and government gridlock have moved me to want to do more to help others, including preserving and protecting libraries. When I decided to run for Action Council, I could not have anticipated the recent New York Occupy Wall Street movement and its impact on libraries, but it reinforces to me that SRRT - now more than ever - needs to step up and fight for libraries, to fight for free access to information, to fight for economic equality, and to fight for the right to freely express one’s views. This is why I want to be a part of the Action Council.
Over my years of participation in ALA, I have been fortunate to work on ALA Council and in several divisions and round tables. I hope to bring the benefits of that experience to Action Council. I recently chaired ALA’s Committee on Legislation and I have great concerns about the future of the Government Printing Office and the Federal Depository Libraries program.
As a new member in his first year, I have much to learn from my colleagues, but I look forward to contributing to work of the Round Table. SRRT’s Task Forces on the environment, poverty, homelessness, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday, and the Rainbow Project are all doing work that aligns well with my interests and passions. I look forward to working with all of them.
I hope that more ALA members will become involved in SRRT's work. Please email your Action Council members with issues of concern and questions. You can contact me at Charles.Kratz@scranton.edu. It would great to hear from you.
When I first joined ALA as a library school student in 1991, I looked through the list of divisions and round tables and was surprised and excited to see that there was a group devoted to social responsibility: SRRT. In my formative high school years, I worked as an intern at WPFW, the Pacifica radio station affiliate in D.C., where I learned the value of disseminating information that was suppressed by the mainstream media and I archived Alternative Radio broadcasts and other community affairs programs. I learned a lot about the importance of alternative collections and of airing viewpoints on the Left that were not available even in the local university libraries (Georgetown U. and American U.) where I used to research high school assignments. Later, I was heavily involved in street theater groups protesting the war against Nicaragua in the ’80s. As I began library school, I was very disheartened by the lack of interest and the complacency in my MLIS colleagues and, in fact, the entire student body of University of Washington at that time. The first Gulf War started and nobody seemed to care about the biased media coverage or the role of U.S. weapons in the destruction of infrastructure and lives. I was, however, happy to see that many Seattle Public Library branches rolled out information about Iraq’s history and customs.
I found some solace when I first went to the ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco in 1992. I listened to SRRT members rise in support of ALA participants in the Gay Pride Parade who were being attacked by other ALA members in a Membership Meeting. I somehow stumbled upon the PLG meeting at that conference and was even more thrilled that radical librarians had a voice in the Progressive Librarian quarterly publication, without which I would not have learned about Sandy Berman’s critique of LCSH, the censorship of Palestinian libraries, or myriad other important connections between librarianship and social justice. For the next decade I drifted away from ALA – I could not afford it for a long time – but I read the Progressive Librarian and the SRRT web site.
Years later, when I finally had a better footing in my library career, after marching against the WTO in the Battle of Seattle and being sickened by ALA’s deference to Laura Bush despite her association with her war criminal husband, I decided to get involved more directly and ran for SRRT Action Council in 2007. I wanted to contribute organizational skills to SRRT and help to move library-related social justice concerns forward. Awareness about social responsibility and keeping it alive within ALA is critical, especially now when so many assume librarianship is naturally a liberal cause and liberals have moved to the center in order to align with and benefit from the safe conservatism of establishment politics. SRRT issues often challenge the safety and status quo of centrist or right business models and are labeled as uncompromising, radical, and especially “not library related.”
Action Council debates uncomfortable or paradigm–shift issues; through its task forces it educates ALA members by using creative conference programming. There is no doubt that there are socially responsible ALA members in other divisions and round tables fighting for progressive principles, but SRRT’s existence and ongoing presence does influence and remind ALA that it has an obligation to champion the librarian’s and library’s social contract with our society. I’m glad to be one voice on Action Council and heartened to know that I have past, present, and future SRRT colleagues who have and will fight for various socially responsible library issues.
Reverend Dr. Lewis Baldwin Keynotes Celebration of Dr. King’s Lasting, Inspiring Legacy
By Virginia Moore and Miguel Figueroa
Photo by Daniel Dubois
The Reverend Dr. Lewis V. Baldwin, Professor of Religious Studies at Vanderbilt University, will keynote the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Sunrise Celebration during the American Library Association’s (ALA) 2012 Midwinter Meeting in Dallas. The Celebration will be held from 6:30-7:30 a.m. on Monday, January 23, 2012. Light refreshments will be served thanks to the generous sponsorship of World Book, Inc. Attendance is open to all attendees of the 2012 ALA Midwinter Meeting.
Dr. Baldwin has written and edited several books, including his latest, “Thou Dear God”: Prayers That Open Hearts and Spirits (Beacon, 2011), the first and only collection of prayers by Dr. King. Dr. Baldwin’s other titles include Toward the Beloved Community: Martin Luther King, Jr. and South Africa (Pilgrim Press, 1995), To Make the Wounded Whole: The Cultural Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. (Augsburg Fortress, 1992), and There is a Balm in Gilead: The Cultural Roots of Martin Luther King, Jr. (Augsburg Fortress, 1991).
Dr. Baldwin’s acclaimed work has won the American Theological Library Association Award and the Midwest Book Achievement Award of the Midwest Independent Publishers Association. An ordained Baptist minister, Dr. Baldwin came of age during the Civil Rights and Black Power era. He participated in student demonstrations and other civil rights activities while attending college, experiences that would profoundly influence his work as a historian, author, and professor. Dr. Baldwin’s participation in the 2012 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Sunrise Celebration is made possible through the generous support of Beacon Press and Random House, Inc.
The theme of the 2012 celebration will be Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Honoring a Legacy that Still Inspires and will bring together leaders from the across the association, including 2011-12 ALA President Molly Raphael and ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels. Featured readings will include selections from the works of Dr. King.
The program is sponsored by the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Task Force of the ALA Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT) and the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) and is supported by the ALA Office for Literacy and Outreach Services (OLOS).
The Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA), an affiliate of the American Library Association, serves as an advocate for the development, promotion, and improvement of library services and resources to the nation's African American community and provides leadership for the recruitment and professional development of African American librarians. To learn more about BCALA, please visit http://www.bcala.org/.
Beacon Press is an independent publisher of serious non-fiction and fiction. Beacon’s books promote such values as freedom of speech and thought, diversity, religious pluralism, anti-racism and respect for diversity in all areas of life. Beacon Press is partnering with the Estate of Martin Luther King Jr. in a new publishing program, The King Legacy, to print new editions of previously published King titles and compile Dr. King's writings, sermons, orations, lectures, and prayers into entirely new editions, including significant new introductions by leading scholars. To learn more about Beacon Press, please visit http://www.beacon.org/.
World Book strives to publish accurate, current, and reliable reference and learning materials for children and adults. Based in Chicago, World Book is committed to creating educational products that meet the highest standards of editorial excellence in print and online. This commitment has resulted in a wide range of products, including the number-one selling The World Book Encyclopedia and the World Book Web, which includes the World Book Online Reference Center, http://www.worldbookonline.com, World Book Kids, and World Book Advanced.
For more information, please visit www.alamidwinter.org.
by Cathy Michael and Teri Reinemann
Lynn Anderson, Director of the Durland Alternatives Library, will be retiring at the end of the year after 20 years of service to the community. The Durland Alternatives Library (DAL) was founded in 1973 and inhabits Anabel Taylor Hall (of Cornell University) in Ithaca, NY. The library collects items on a diverse array of alternative media topics, such as organic farming, transforming conflict, holistic medicine, prison conditions, and labor issues.
Lynn has made a significant contribution to the community during her term. She made the collection visible to the community by having the records loaded into the Finger Lakes Library System. The DAL was also the first library in the United States to join the UNESCO program, which brings libraries together under twinning agreements through its United Nations Network of Associated Libraries (UNAL).
Lynn has hosted numerous programs for the library, including poet Denise Levertov and ecologist Sandra Steingraber. She also hired local writer Irene Zahava, who created a Public Poetry Project and Gary Fine, who works for the affiliated Prisoner Express project, providing books and educational resources to the incarcerated. Many on the Board of the DAL know her devotion to the MacCormick Secure Center, a correctional facility located in Brooktondale, NY. As a member of MacCormick’s Citizens Advisory Board, Lynn collaborated with Literacy Volunteers (now Tompkins Learning Partners) to establish a tutoring program for the residents. Later, Lynn would secure a VISTA /Americorps grant to create a community re-entry program for the residents. Further community collaboration included bringing TC3 online college courses to MacCormick, the first such college program in a maximum security OCFS facility.
Since July of 1996, the DAL has also been a partner to the Bibliotheque Ousmane Sembene du Yoff (BOSY), the community library in Yoff, a traditional fishing village on the coast of the West African country of Senegal. Through this partnership, the two libraries have shared in book and cultural exchanges and worked to facilitate understanding across cultures.
Lynn has been an active member of the Progressive Librarians Guild and has published articles in their publication, the Progressive Librarian [“Books in Prison” (Issue #21, Winter 2002) and “Taking it to the Streets” (Issue #18, Summer 2001)].
Ryan Clover-Owens, a long time user of the Durland Library, was hired to succeed Lynn in January. He is a community and media activist who founded Silent City Distro, a distribution center for self-published zines in the Worker’s Center above a local bookstore in Ithaca.
For more information on the Durland Alternatives Library, visit the website at http://www.alternativeslibrary.org/ and become a friend on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Alternatives-Library-Anne-Carry-Durland-Memorial/194407494159?v=wall.
You can help the library’s mission by making a donation on the library’s website. You can also use the GoodSearch browser (http://www.goodsearch.com/) for searching and add the Alternatives Library in the “enter your charity here” box.
Thank you for supporting the library, congratulating Lynn, and welcoming Ryan.
by Jane Glasby
Action Council agreed this year to donate $1000 in SRRT’s name to the Spectrum Scholarship.
The Spectrum Scholarship Program is ALA’s effort to “address the specific issue of under-representation of critically needed ethnic librarians within the profession while serving as a model for ways to bring attention to larger diversity issues in the future” (ala.org). See the ALA’s Spectrum Scholarship Program page at http://www.ala.org/ala/aboutala/offices/diversity/spectrum/index.cfm for more information about the scholarship and the program.
If SRRT members would like to make a donation, they can mail their checks to:
American Library Association, Spectrum Scholarship Program
50 E. Huron Street
Chicago, IL 60311
Make your checks out to ALA Spectrum and note in the memo field that the donation is credited as a gift from SRRT.
Donors can also use also use www.ala.org/giveala to make their donation online. When giving online, donors will have the option to give in honor of SRRT and we will note the gift as part of SRRT's support of Spectrum. Donors will receive an individual acknowledgement for their gift, but giving in honor of SRRT is a nice way to show SRRT's support of Spectrum and to amplify the generous gift made by SRRT.
Breton, Philippe. The Culture of the Internet and the Internet as Cult: Social Fears and Religious Fantasy. Translated by David Bade. Minnesota: Litwin Books, LLC, 2011.
Reviewed by James Walter, MLS 2011 graduate, University of Arizona
When I first picked up the Litwin Books translation of Philippe Breton’s The Culture of the Internet, I was skeptical about the sensationalism I perceived in the “Internet as cult” portion of the book’s title. With my multi-tabbed internet browser open on my computer (to provide me with background reading music), I opened the book to see if Breton could convince me of his argument.
It did not take long for him to do so. Translator David Bade is right when he states, “Even though a decade old, [this book] has lost none of its relevance….” The issues that Breton examined in 2000 are the same that libraries (and the rest of society) face at the tail end of 2011: the digital divide, censorship, removal of direct human contact, information quality concerns, the illusions of transparency, and the overreliance on digital information in the modern world. Breton describes the “cult of the internet” as “the veneration or simply the strong attachment that one may have for anything….”
What is the object of this cult, he asks? “[Their] vision is of an ideal world that would be composed entirely of form, behavior, information, message communication….The price to be paid…is physical separation, the end of direct encounter.” I thought of a family of four sitting “together” on the beach, all absorbed by the smartphones in their hands. “These conditions, draconian, almost monastic, nourish the ideal of a new social bond, entirely virtual…we must initially separate ourselves from one another.”
Breton follows this startling declaration with an examination of the historical and philosophical implications of the Internet. Money, power, and narcissism have their roles in the continued expansion of this technology. He examines the dream of a perfect Internet “Utopia” and the role of censorship and hacking in relation to the cult. In the “Rejection of Censorship” section, Breton studies closely the words of his contemporary Nicholas Negroponte, “There is simply no way to limit the freedom of bit radiation, any more than the Romans could stop Christianity, even though…data broadcasters may be eaten by the Washington lions in the process.” Consider the controversy of PIPA (Protect IP Act) and SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act), the latest battles in the war for the control of the flow of information through the Internet.
Librarians might be most interested in the sections regarding social inequalities and the disappearance of human interaction in our society. Breton warns, “Far from reducing the inequalities of access to learning we may fear that the new world will develop toward the reinforcement of already existing inequalities.” Indeed, as libraries increase the amount of technology assistance they provide to their patrons, it becomes apparent that the difficulty of vital tasks (such as completing job applications) is compounded for many patrons because of a lack of computer skills. As many libraries have realized, the role of the library as community center can combat the increasing lack of human contact that technological reliance has placed on our society.
The Culture of the Internet and the Internet as Cult does not contain any shocking revelations that will turn the worldview of the reader upside down. What it does provide is an engaging, thoughtful examination of the issues that faced librarians and our society in the year 2000 and that we continue to face today. I did appreciate the historical and philosophical research in this book; these lenses are noticeably absent in other books of this kind that I have read. The book is an ideal overview of the issues facing librarianship today in both an introductory and review setting. More information can be found at the Litwin Books website: http://litwinbooks.com.
Are you looking for a way to be more involved in the Social Responsibilities Round Table? Are you passionate about books and their role in social responsibility? Do you have excellent writing and editing skills? Are you good at meeting deadlines and encouraging others to meet them as well? If so, the SRRT Newsletter book reviews editor might be just the volunteer position you’re looking for!
Jennifer Caldwell is stepping down as book reviews editor and the SRRT Editorial Board is looking for a new editor to take her place. The SRRT Newsletter is produced electronically on a quarterly basis. The book reviews editor’s responsibilities include maintaining a list of reviewers, editing reviews, selecting materials for review and soliciting reviews. If you’re interested, please send a copy of your CV/resume, a brief statement outlining your qualifications and interest in the position, and a writing sample and/or examples of previous work to Editorial Board member Julie Winkelstein at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the last issue of the newsletter, Diane Kadanoff's name was misspelled.
The SRRT Newsletter is always looking for good articles, essays, and letters to the editor. The next submission deadline is February 24, 2012.
Submissions to the SRRT Newsletter may be made by any current SRRT Member or SRRT affiliate. Please send your submissions electronically in one of the following formats: MS Word, RTF, PDF, or plain text pasted into the body of an e-mail. Submissions should be 500 to 1,000 words. Graphics are encouraged. If using images that are already on the Internet, the URL of the image and a caption or description may be added to the text of the submission.
Please send submissions and inquiries to SRRT Newsletter Editor Amy Honisett at email@example.com , indicating "SRRT Newsletter" within the subject line of your e-mail. A confirmation of receipt will be sent in a timely manner.
Submissions for book reviews should be submitted to the book reviews editor Jennifer Caldwell at Jennifer.Caldwell@pima.gov. Submissions should be sent electronically in MS-Word format or a Word-compatible format. Reviewers should keep their reviews to 300-500 words; any length much shorter or longer should be discussed with the reviews editor prior to submission. Reviewers should avoid conflicts of interest. Full disclosure should be made to the book reviews editor when appropriate.
SRRT Newsletter is published quarterly by the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association. ISSN: 0749-1670. Copyright © 2011 by the Social Responsibilities Round Table. No part of this periodical may be reproduced without permission. Editor: Amy Honisett, firstname.lastname@example.org. Book Reviews Editor: Jennifer Caldwell, Jennifer.Caldwell@pima.gov.
Editorial Board Members: Gerardo Colmenar, Heather Edmonds, Erik Estep, Alison Lewis, and Julie Winkelstein. Views expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily those of ALA/SRRT. The editors reserve the right to edit submitted material as necessary or as the whimsy strikes.