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January 26, 2004

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Outfoxed

This is why I have never willing joined ALA (I am a librarian and expected to join). I let my membership lapse and then hold my nose and rejoin only when I need to go to the annual conference and want the cost breaks. The Assoc. has always been too leftist in the most knee-jerk fashion.

Librarians, like so many in the chattering classes, like to think of themselves as progressives and counter-cultural. They don't know that they are the culture (aka the "status-quo") and that those of us who don't go along with them are the counter-culture.

This "vote" is their most disgraceful act yet, during my time in the profession. What kills me is knowing that they feel like they have done the brave thing and upheld the progressive agenda. Like any institution which has an entrenched power base, they will not let go nor receive criticism gracefully.

At times like this I am glad that we aren't taken very seriously as a profession! Imagine if we had clout! Who knows what damage we could do.

Mike Petrik

I resigned from the ABA for similar reasons, Outfoxed. At least the ALA can proffer the plausible explanation that the political nature of the subject matter was outside the organization's appropiate purview. I have no idea how such an explanation might square with past practices, however.

Outfoxed

Mike:
The reason I and others are so alienated from ALA is precisely that it does mix itself up in fashionable left-wing causes that are outside its scope. It brooks no criticism and I resent supporting it with my money. ALA is pretty much like our federal gov't. It is so big that accountability is practically non-existent, it is self-sustaining, and it is a closed world that is impervious to the needs and wishes of most of the people it claims need libraries and library services the most.

I love being a librarian! But I could do without ALA (could you tell?)

Ken

Aren't these the same folks who opposed filters on library computers so kids wouldn't get into the porn? Something about "censorship"?

John McG

Here's a quote from Nate Hentoff's converage of this issue:


On December 9, one of Castro's defenders, Ann Sparanese, a member of the policy-making council of the ALA, sent a letter to her colleagues on the council, in which she wrote:

"Despite the fact that we as librarians prize them highly, political rights -- for instance, intellectual freedom -- is only one of a constellation of human rights, some of which Cuba respects in greater measure than the United States." Among those, she added, was "universal, free education."

I think this is interesting in that it shows the direction we go in when we consider all "rights" to be equal, as our nation has in the abortion debate.

I like the constellation of stars, but I'd give them all up to keep the sun.

Henry Dieterich

"human rights, some of which Cuba respects in greater measure than the United States." Among those, she added, was "universal, free education."

Education may be a right for the individual, but for the state mass education is a means of social control. If you like the control, it is enlightenment; if you don't like it, it is indoctrination. "Education" is not a good regardless of content.

Charles R. Williams

Once again the seamless garment argument.

John McG

Actually it's the antithesis of the seamless garment argument.

The librarians are (incorrectly) saying that since Cuba does better in some rights than the US does, we have no right to criticize them.

The seamless garment argument is that it's neccesary for Catholics to oppose all affronts to human dignity.

Where some people get carried away with it is thinking that a harmful stare is as great an affront to human dignity as the killing of abortion.

Ken

Did I miss something? Don't we have free, universal education?

Of course, it's not really free, but it's one of the taxes I gladly pay and no child is denied an education, are they?

Ken

Did I miss something? Don't we have free, universal education?

Of course, it's not really free, but it's one of the taxes I gladly pay and no child is denied an education, are they?

Mary Jane

In one of my past lives, I was a librarian and then a library director. ALA has a long track record of devoting its energies to leftist causes - and no interest in the economic welfare (i.e. wages) of its members. I remember one particularly idiotic moment where the leadership staged a "pro-choice" demonstration at one of the conferences. Whether this demonstration was representative of the opinions of the membership was of no concern.

ALA's epic struggle against Internet filters in public libraries continues to alienate the constituency it claims to serve. In Jacksonville, FL, there is now a hiring freeze after a study questioned the number of graduate-degreed librarians and suggested hiring "bright college graduates" for less.

My suggestion is that the entire leadership and professional staff of ALA relocate from Chicago to Havana.

Oengus Moonbones

I wonder if the ALA engages in virtual book burning here in this country?

And so my question would be: “Has anyone here ever noticed that certain books seem to be curiously absent from the bookshelf of your local library?”

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