Issue 179, June 2012
ALA Overview - Schedule of SRRT Events
Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Task Force News
International Responsibilites Task Force News
Hunger, Homelessness and Poverty Task Force News
REFORMA - Denim & Diamonds Gala
Letter From the Editor
Task Force on the Enviroment Volunteer Opportunity
Book Review: Deep Green Resistance
Book Review: Food versus Fuel
Book Review: Prophets of the Fourth Estate
Book Review: Libraries and the Enlightenment
Call for Submissions
SRRT Events at ALA
Friday, June 22
All Task Forces Meeting
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Hilton Anaheim - Oceanside
Feminist Task Force Meeting I
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Hilton Anaheim - Oceanside Table 3
Hunger, Homelessness and Poverty Task Force Meeting
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Hilton Anaheim - Oceanside Table 6
International Responsibilities Task Force Meeting
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Hilton Anaheim - Oceanside Table 2
Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Task Force Meeting
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Hilton Anaheim - Oceanside Table 4
Rainbow Project Task Force Meeting (SRRT / GLBTRT)
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Hilton Anaheim - Oceanside Table 1
Task Force on the Environment Meeting
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Hilton Anaheim - Oceanside Table 5
Saturday, June 23
Action Council Meeting I
8:30 am - 12:30 pm
Red Lion Hotel Anaheim - Serafina C & D
Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Multicultural Idea
1:30 pm - 3:30 pm
Anaheim Convention Center - 201A
A panel representing public, academic, school, and special libraries will present the programs and activities that promoted the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in their libraries and communities to “Keep the Dream Alive.”
During the Audience Exchange, attendees will have a two-minute opportunity to tout their own special events. Everyone is asked to bring at least 25 copies of each handout to fully participate in the closing Materials Exchange.
National Security vs. the Right to Know
1:30 pm - 3:30 pm
Hilton Anaheim - Pacific B
This panel discussion will address issues - including the potential conflict between security concerns and the requirements of transparency, democracy, free press, and the protection of whistle blowers - related to the release of classified U.S. documents by WikiLeaks. Speakers will include Emma Cape, organizer for the Bradley Manning Support Network.
Membership Meeting and Social
Governance/Membership Meeting, Social event
8:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Hilton Anaheim - Pacific A
Bring your concerns to the SRRT Membership Meeting. If you are new, learn about what SRRT does and how to get involved. If you have been involved, meet some new people. Relax at the social. Enjoy some appetizers, cash bar, entertainment.
Sunday, June 24
Action Council Meeting II
1:30 pm - 5:30 pm
Anaheim Convention Center - 212B
Progressive Librarians Guild (SRRT - PLG)
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Hyatt Regency Orange County - Royal Ballroom A
Feminist Night at the Movies
8:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Anaheim Convention Center – 202A
by LaJuan Pringle -Library Manager, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
and Julie Ann Winkelstein - PhD candidate, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Task Force is pleased to present three events at the upcoming ALA annual conference in Anaheim.
Saturday, June 23 – 1:30 to 3:30 pm
Anaheim Convention Center, Room 201A
First, the 2012 annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Task Force Multicultural Idea Exchange offers an opportunity to hear from speakers who are committed to incorporating the ideals of Martin Luther King, Jr. into their professional work as librarians. We invite you to bring examples of handouts and other materials from your library’s celebration of this important holiday and we ask you to be prepared to share highlights from your library’s activities, so we can all learn from each other.
Saturday, June 23 – 3:00 to 5:00 pm
Anaheim Convention Center, Exhibit Hall 3
Our second event is participation in this year’s Diversity and Outreach Fair, which is organized by ALA’s Office for Literacy and Outreach Services (OLOS). Please join us for this annual event, which brings together library professionals to share their successful diversity and outreach initiatives. The MLKTF is proud to be a part of the Fair, since it highlights the ideals we so completely embrace. The theme for this year’s Fair is “Building Community Connections.”
Sunday, June 24 – 1:30 to 3:30 pm
Our third – particularly exciting – event is the Martin Luther King, Jr. video project, entitled “Librarians and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: His Words and Our Lives.” We invite librarians of all types to record a brief reflection on the ways in which Martin Luther King, Jr.’s commitment to equality, peace, nonviolence, justice, hope, freedom, service, civil rights and human rights has played a part in your work as a librarian. The video project serves to remind all of us of the importance of the work we are doing and it highlights SRRT’s commitment to recognizing and addressing social justice issues. Advance sign-ups aren’t necessary - please stop by and add your voice to this project. The recording will take place on Sunday, June 24, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the Convention Center, in the A Mezzanine Room, in Hall A.
More information about this event will be distributed soon.
International Responsibilities Task Force News - Final Plans for the IRTF Program on "National Security & the Right to Know" at Anaheim
by Tom Twiss - Government Information Librarian, University of Pittsburgh
Over the last few months, the IRTF has been finalizing preparations for the program that will be cosponsored by SRRT and the Law and Political Science Section (LPSS) of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) at the 2012 ALA annual conference in Anaheim. “National Security vs. the Right to Know” will address the potential conflict between security concerns and the requirements of transparency, democracy, free press and the protection of whistleblowers.
We are especially excited to announce the strong line-up of speakers who will appear on our panel. These will include:
William Binney, who served with the National Security Agency (NSA) for over 30 years, including serving as director of the NSA’s World Geopolitical and Military Analysis Reporting Group. Since his retirement in 2001, Mr. Binney has become a whistleblower, warning that the NSA’s data-mining program has become so vast that it could "create an Orwellian state." The FBI raided his home in 2007, in response to his whistle-blowing activities. Recently, Mr. Binney has appeared on the program “Democracy Now!” on April 20, April 23, and May 24, 2012.
Emma Cape, Campaign Organizer for the Bradley Manning Support Network. The BMSN is an ad hoc, international grassroots effort to help Private Bradley Manning, who has been accused of passing classified materials to the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks. Since attending Bowdoin College, Ms. Cape has worked for a number of grassroots political non-profits fighting for human rights and environmental protections.
Patrice McDermott, director of OpenTheGovernment.org, a coalition of journalists, consumer groups, and others dedicated to promoting good and limited government, environmentalists, library groups, labor, and others united to make the federal government a more open place. Before joining OpenTheGovernment, Ms. McDermott was director of the ALA Office for Government Relations. In 2011 she received the ALA’s James Madison Award, which recognizes those “who have championed, protected and promoted public access to government information and the public’s ‘right to know’ on the national level.”
The program will be held Saturday June 23, 2012 from 1:30 to 3:30 in the Pacific B ballroom at the Hilton Anaheim.
by Julie Ann Winkelstein - PhD candidate, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN
HHPTF is in the home stretch for our latest toolkit, which provides definitions, statistics, suggestions and model programs for libraries serving community members who are experiencing homelessness. This toolkit will be available to libraries later this year - watch for the ALA press release! Also, be sure to take a look at our latest news and extensive resources, available at http://www.hhptf.org/resources.
For more information about the toolkit, contact Julie Winkelstein at email@example.com or task force coordinator, Lisa Gieskes at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, even better, drop in on our task force meeting at annual.
The meeting is from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday, June 22, at the Hilton Anaheim, Oceanside room, table 6. We'd love to see you there.
The ALA's Educational Foundation was officially established at the ALA Midwinter Meeting. At the Annual Conference in Anaheim, the Foundation will sponsor the gala: Denim & Diamonds, a dinner and dance to benefit the education of potential Latino librarians to continue ALA's recruitment of Emerging Majority students to library careers.
Follow this link to register: http://www.reforma.org/gala2012, or register on our website: reforma.org. We hope that you will put Denim & Diamonds on your conference schedule. Make a difference while you have fun.
Join the Foundation Board for a night of dancing and socializing as we fund the future diversity of the profession and its leadership.
SRRT Action Council's Members at Large:
SRRT representative to ALA Council:
by Amy Honisett
ALA is just about two weeks away; I hope that many of you will have the opportunity to attend, and if you do, I hope you will have the chance to participate in some SRRT events. You can find a schedule of SRRT activities and room numbers in this issue and a preliminary conference program at http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/hall-erickson/ala_anaheim_2012prelim/.
In this issue, you will also find information from some SRRT task forces, results of the ALA elections relevant to SRRT members, and some great book reviews.
I’d like to congratulate Miguel Figueroa, who has been the director of ALA’s Office for Diversity and the acting director for OLOS (the Office for Literacy and Outreach Services). He has been appointed Director of Member Programs for the American Theological Library Association (you can read more about it here: https://www.atla.com/about/pressroom/Pages/Figueroa-Appointed-ALTA-Membership-Director.aspx). Numerous people have let me know how much they have enjoyed working with him. Stay tuned for the next issue of the SRRT Newsletter, in which I anticipate publishing an interview with Miguel Figueroa.
Enjoy the newsletter, and please always feel free to contact me with any questions, comments, or concerns. Don’t forget this is your newsletter. We welcome submissions from all SRRT members. Conferences are important because they give us a chance to spend time in conversation with each other; this newsletter can continue those conversations.
One easy way to contribute to the newsletter is by letting us know about you. Who are you and what do you do? Send me a 200 – 500 word piece describing your work, how long you’ve been doing it, how you became involved in SRRT, what social responsibility means to you, or any other information newsletter readers might be interested in. I hope to hear from you soon!
by Jane Glasby - Program Manager, Library for the Blind and Print Disabled - San Francisco Public Library
Annual Conference is coming and we'll all be packing our bags for Anaheim very soon. Last time we were there I was persuaded, against my better judgment, to visit Disneyland. I spent the whole time muttering about union buster Walt Disney and the cold war propaganda cartoons he produced. All the same, I did enjoy the fireworks. To me, one of the benefits of having the conference in California is that I can get there by train without traveling overnight. In other efforts to support our environment, remember to bring your reusable water bottle and coffee mug to reduce the huge piles of trash we create when ALA floods into town.
This year, we are experimenting with a few schedule changes. Since so many people are unwilling or unable to consider meeting on days outside Friday evening through Sunday, it is impossible to schedule all our meetings without clashes. Unfortunately, Action Council II will overlap with the Progressive Librarians Guild meeting on Sunday afternoon. We will try to get through business quickly so that those on AC who want to go to PLG can do so. The All Task Forces meeting has moved from early Saturday morning to a new slot on Friday evening.
The Membership Meeting has been moved to Saturday evening, and will shift into a social as business finishes. We'll have light refreshments and a cash bar. The Membership Meeting is an opportunity for all members to say what they think SRRT should be doing and how to do it. I hope to see new people there; we are always delighted to see new members at any of our meetings and welcome participation in discussions and activity right from the moment you walk in the door. Please bring your interests and concerns. I look forward to seeing you there!
The Task Force on the Environment is looking for a volunteer chair or co-chair.
To learn about the Task Force’s past programs and actions, read Maria A. Jankowska’s editorial, Going beyond Environmental Programs and Green Practices at the American Library Association, available at Electronic Green Journal: http://escholarship.org/uc/item/1zs6k7m2.
If you are interested please contact Jane Glasby, SRRT Coordinator, at email@example.com.
McBay, Aric, Lierre Keith, and Derrick Jensen. Deep Green Resistance: Strategy to Save the Planet. New York: Seven Stories Press, 2011. www.sevenstories.com
Reviewed by Lana Thelen, Library Director, Relay Graduate School of Education
Deep Green Resistance, by Aric McBay, Lierre Keith, and Derrick Jensen, provides a comprehensive field guide for fighting back against the destruction of the planet. Where this book differs from other environmental books is that it fully elaborates on the extent of destruction to the land, sea, water, and creatures, while insisting on strategic direct action and providing detailed and researched strategies to carry it out. The chapters are authored individually; Keith primarily authors part one – Resistance and completely part four – The Future, McBay authors parts two – Organization and three – Strategy and Tactics, and Jensen provides the preface and brief contributions at the end of chapters in a question and answer format. They collectively argue that individual action, particularly consumer-based “green” choices, will never solve the large-scale environmental crisis we are living in and collective action, both underground and aboveground, is necessary. Their unapologetic call is for the end of civilization. Such a bold assertion requires extensive support, and this 556-page book provides a grim diagnosis for the planet as it exists now and lays out the options left in order to preserve what we can.
While overall the text is comprehensive and the authors are knowledgeable, at times it can be difficult to sift through. Keith writes with an angry urgency while laying out the historical foundation of resistance. Her first chapter, presenting different environmental justice issues, is choppy and, along with all of the authors of this book, facts are rarely cited unless they are direct quotes. If you lack familiarity with a broad swath of environmental and social justice issues, it can be difficult to see the connections between the issues presented. She also jumps among different historical references and personal anecdotes at a jarring rate, sometimes venturing into judgmental rants. That said, the breadth of social justice movements and historical parallels she draws from is wide and informed, and the many examples provided are helpful in understanding the larger context of social movements that have shaped the author’s perspective.
McBay’s sections provide a practical and tactical playbook for a successful deep green resistance. The strategies outlined are informed by liberation and social justice campaigns from various places and centuries – from the Underground Railroad, to the Weather Underground, to Holocaust concentration camp uprisings. The plans he details are well thought out and provide a rich blueprint for building and sustaining a successful resistance culture. He includes potential pitfalls and ways to work around them to build a flourishing movement. While this book centers on environmental rights, the tactics, organization, and strategy presented are applicable to any radical movement.
Deep Green Resistance is unlike any other environmental book available and deserves a place on the shelf. The authors’ intentions for publishing the book are to arm radicals with advanced skills and strategies for building successful movements and to spur dialogue. Their no-excuses call for action for the planet will do just that.
Rosillo, Callé F, and Francis X. Johnson. Food Versus Fuel: An Informed Introduction to Biofuels. London: Zed Books, 2010. http://zedbooks.co.uk/
Reviewed by Bob Sotak, Collection Manager for Life Sciences, North Carolina State University Libraries
As the human population increases and consumes more resources from an already overstressed earth, biofuels have been proposed as a more environmentally sustainable approach to meet energy needs. Food versus Fuel strives to present arguments for and against biofuels on a variety of issues, such as availability of land, environmental effects, and socio-economic development.
Some of the arguments against biofuels include: biofuels lead to food insecurity, cause food prices to go up, and cause increased competition for land, leading to environmental degradation. Ethanol derived from corn, a first generation biofuel, is criticized for having a negative energy balance and for receiving high government subsidies. Corn is also the crop on which the highest levels of insecticide, herbicide and nitrogen fertilizer are used and this crop has a very high ratio of water used relative to the amount of ethanol produced.
Some arguments for biofuels are that there is enough land to grow biofuel crops to replace at least 5-20% of demand for transportation fuels and that some countries have multi-functional agriculture already, so they can adjust to the social and environmental impacts of growing biofuel crops. Countries with food security issues could save foreign currency by switching to biofuels from fossil fuels.
Some recent research has changed the thinking about the ability of biofuels to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Ideally, life cycle analysis should be carried out to determine the effect of biofuels on greenhouse gas generation, since emissions can occur at various stages, such as land clearing, growing of crops, and processing of the feedstock.
Each biofuel crop has advantages and disadvantages and each country will have to deal with different sets of issues. Challenges related to land use issues are discussed, like developing sustainable production systems, which could include a landscape or ecoregion approach, and creating accessible markets. A case study is presented of Jatrophacurcas, a drought-resistant plant grown in Zambia, which could be used to produce biodiesel, reduce energy insecurity, and improve rural livelihoods.
First generation biofuels typically utilize food crops – such as corn and sugar cane – to produce ethanol, or oilseed crops – such as soybean – to produce biodiesel. Second generation biofuels present less of a food versus fuel choice, since they focus more on woody biomass, perennial grasses, and agricultural residue. However, even removal of agricultural and forestry residues present environmental issues like erosion and effects on soil fertility.
Research is being conducted on third generation biofuels that utilize lipids derived from algae, overcoming land use issues, and fourth generation biofuels that employ techniques from genetic engineering and synthetic biology to improve biofuel feed stocks, with the potential goal of creating carbon-negative biofuels.
The editors present the issues addressed in this book in the first chapter. They also wrote the final chapter, providing an excellent summary of the middle six chapters, which were written by experts from academia, national laboratories and other research centers. The editors’ goal of presenting both sides of the issues surrounding biofuels was successful. Food versus Fuel provides an excellent starting point to learn about environmental, socio-economic and other issues related to biofuel production.
Reynolds, Amy and Gary R. Hicks. Prophets of the Fourth Estate: Broadsides by Press Critics of the Progressive Era. Los Angeles, CA: Litwin Books, 2012. http://litwinbooks.com
Reviewed by Heather McCann, Urban Studies & Planning and GIS Librarian, MIT Libraries & Marcus Verduchi, MSLIS
Prophets of the Fourth Estate presents criticisms of popular journalism – and criticisms of business interests that influence popular journalism – written in the Progressive era by critics who are also activist-journalists. This book bridges problems that are frequently studied separately, including economic and social inequality, media consolidation, corruption, corporatization, and the influence of industry on public opinion. Prophets helps us see how these issues, which are just as relevant today, are inextricably interrelated.
The book does not draw explicit parallels between the present and the past. It doesn’t need to; anyone who reads this book cannot help but notice that critics of journalism between 1890 and 1920 were grappling with issues that are familiar to us today. The lengthy reprints of Progressive-era articles – which are woven in with the authors’ analyses – remind us that we are not the first to confront these issues and we will certainly not be the last.
Reprinted articles and editorials, presented in rough chronological order, trace the trajectory of the Progressive era, touching on such subjects as the impact of postal rates on newspaper distribution, sensational reporting as an economic survival mechanism, the effects of media consolidation, the use of propaganda by the US government, and the invention of the public relations business.
The editorial choices of the authors are what make this book worth reading. It is a well-curated collection of little-known, little-appreciated works that range widely in subject matter, but always come back to central themes: the importance of public opinion in a democracy and deep concern about how public opinion is being manipulated in our democracy. The authors were wise to organize the book around essays reprinted in their entirety (or excerpted at length). This allows the works to speak for themselves – and the reprinted authors are perfectly capable of making their opinions quite clear. Prophets fills a dual role: part sourcebook, allowing the knowledgeable reader to dive right in to primary materials, and part primer, allowing any reader to engage with the subject matter.
The authors do not endeavor to disguise their sympathies with the protagonists whose work is reprinted. The writing is at its strongest when it focuses on effectively presenting the primary material and allowing readers to draw their own conclusions – after all this is, at its core, a book about the right of citizens to form their own informed opinions. For any student of Progressive politics or anyone concerned about the future of our democracy who wants some historical perspective on the issues we face today, Prophets of the Fourth Estate will be an edifying read.
Bivens-Tatum, Wayne. Libraries and the Enlightenment. Los Angeles, CA: Library Juice Press, 2012. http://litwinbooks.com/
Reviewed by Nyssa J. Walsh, MLS Oregon College of Oriental Medicine
“Sapere aude!” [Dare to know!]
Immanuel Kant wrote this subversive (for the time) statement in his 1784 essay, “What is Enlightenment?” to communicate to his readers the importance of personal education. During the late 17th and early 18th centuries, the Church was the foremost purveyor of teaching for underprivileged and lower class citizens in Western Europe and America. In order to learn the truth, citizens looked to their bibles or their church leaders. The Age of Enlightenment inspired Kant and many other philosophers to search for another way to seek truth from the world. Enlightened thought attempted to reform society through the advancement of knowledge, rather than religion. Public education would be based on reason and judgment, rather than traditions and regulation. In Libraries and the Enlightenment, Wayne Bivens-Tatum proposes that this enlightened perspective is the root of the modern library system as we know it today.
Education for all: a simple idea to the modern reader, but during the time, this was radical change in both government and American culture. When Enlightenment ideals began to spread through America via philosophers and writers such as Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, politicians embraced the concept of an educated society. Democracy required politically informed citizens; education would be their way of promoting the American ideals of liberty and the republic. The creation of public schools was the beginning of the new age of education, but the public library became the flagship of Enlightenment ideals: free education for any citizen, on any topic the people would like to study.
As soon as these libraries were established, the clash between public education, political strategy and philosophical growth become evident. The government prevented the Enlightenment’s expression of social equality and public education by attempting to limit library collections. Since the earliest incarnation of the modern library (as an institution of free learning for any citizen), the “quality” of the collection has constantly been in question. Even today, the American Library Association’s (ALA) promotion of equality through the encouragement and recognition of literature inclusive of homosexuality has caused religious and political backlash against libraries. But, as Bivens-Tatum writes in his chapter on the ALA, “Despite the claims to neutrality, this is what one would expect of a social agency governed by the spirit of the Enlightenment.”
As a book about the development of libraries through a balance of philosophical and political ideals, Libraries and the Enlightenment reminds us about where we started and where we may be returning. Libraries are models of social equality in that they make education possible to any user who walks through the door. Self-education is vital in these times when higher education is necessary to join the workforce, but is prohibitively expensive to a large number of people. Through the ups and downs in library culture, from Alexandria to Google, the central tenet of education for all will continue to sustain the library as we grow and evolve with the changing times around us.
The SRRT newsletter is always looking for good articles, essays, and letters to the editor. The next submission deadline is September 1, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 Reviews Editor, Candise Branum at email@example.com. 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.
Reviews Editor: Candise Branum
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.