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Archive for the ‘intellectual freedom’ Category

Yesterday a significant chunk of the librarian Twitterverse Twittersphere Twhatever-it’s-called lost its collective cardigans over a critique of the newly implemented ALA Statement of Appropriate Conduct at Conferences. Will Manley, author of the critique in question, argues that the code of conduct is a substantially flawed document and, in support of that conclusion, he raises four concerns: (1) that the group statuses singled out for protection from harassment are undefined and vague, (2) that the policy will have a chilling effect on intellectual freedom, (3) that much of the code’s language is ambiguous, and (4) that the code does not provide due process for alleged violators. To be honest, I find nothing particularly shocking or offensive about Manley’s criticisms. I also don’t happen to think they are convincing, but I’ll get to that in a minute. Where the real drama unfolds is in the comments to Will’s post, which quickly descended into a mess of identity politics, tone-deafness, ad hominem arguments, and general foolishness.

You can read Manley’s post and subsequent comments in their entirety by clicking the word trainwreck.

I’m not going to do a point-by-point analysis of Manley’s concerns: Matthew Ciszek already has a good refutation of Manley’s critique, as does Nina de Jesus. Instead, I want to look more broadly at the issue of anti-harassment policies. Believe it or not, but there are substantive reasons to reject anti-harassment policies. There are also substantive reasons to endorse said policies. Let’s look at each in turn. (And I apologize in advance for the very rough treatment of each position; I don’t want to take too long a lunch break #newyearsevelibrarian)

freespeechzone

The libertarian* argument

Those who reject anti-harassment policies typically make the argument that (1) most harassment is already covered by existing policy and (2) anti-harassment policies stifle otherwise protected speech (or, intellectual freedom). Manley invokes this argument (poorly I might add). On the first part, Eugene Volokh explains that most harassment occurs “one-to-one”, that is, when a speaker is saying things to one listener that the listener clearly doesn’t want to hear. This type of harassment is clearly restrictable on the grounds that restricting it does not infringe upon the speaker’s ability to spread a message or make a public expression of a belief. One-to-one harassment annoys and offends (rather than persuades or convinces) and can therefore be dealt with without violating freedom of speech. Likewise, unwanted physical contact is not speech and, therefore, not at an intellectual freedom issue. If anything, that’s sexual battery, which is wrong in its own rights. However, the free speech libertarian argues that public speech not aimed at an individual is protected no matter how offensive. The libertarian will advocate for the “marketplace of ideas” where there should be no restrictions on the content of public speech. For example, a speaker at ALA Midwinter may want to present arguments against book-challenges raised by fundamentalist Christians. No matter how offended fundamentalist Christians in the audience feel about the presentation (and the ALA code mentions religion), the free speech libertarian would argue that the presentation must be allowed on the “marketplace of ideas” doctrine. Likewise, if speakers wanted to criticize affirmative action, advocate for an Equal Rights Amendment, discuss millennials unfavorably, or otherwise express a contested view, anti-harassment policies could have a chilling effect. Restricting public speech on the basis of its content, no matter how offensive, is antithetical to democratic values, so the argument goes. Think of it this way: while an anti-harassment policy may allow a lesbian or gay audience member some redress against a speaker who argues that homosexuality is immoral, it would also allow a fundamentalist Christian redress against a lesbian or gay speaker who argues that traditional Christian attitudes towards homosexuality are immoral. The best response is to avoid content-based restrictions all together and allow the truth to emerge on its own. Again, so the argument goes.

Whatever you think of the free-speech libertarian position, you should at least know that it is the dominant view in the United States. You know the whole “I hate what you say, but I’ll defend your right to say it” doctrine? That’s what I’m talking about. This is why the ACLU (in?)famously defended the right of Nazis to assemble in Skokie and the right of Fred Phelps to spout hate. This is why the Supreme Court ruled that both burning a flag as well as burning a cross are protected speech (though illegal on other grounds). The list goes on and the point is clear: offensiveness and emotional outrage do not trump freedom of expression. Like it or not, that’s the status quo. (If you’re interested, Anthony Lewis wrote a history of the libertarian view in his recent book Freedom for the Thought that We Hate.)

dignityaintcheapThe dignity argument

So, what’s the alternative? What arguments can be raised in defense of an anti-harassment policy? I think a good counter to the libertarian position is the dignity argument raised by Jeremy Waldron in his monograph The Harm in Hate Speech (though, each chapter was previously published elsewhere and easily Googled). Though Waldron argues in favor of hate-speech legislation rather than anti-harassment policies, the issues are similar enough that Waldron’s arguments apply in both cases. Adapting Waldron, we can make the following argument:First, anti-harassment policies are not directed at thought, they are directed at harm. Specifically, these policies address the harm that harassment causes to the dignity of targeted persons or groups–where a person’s dignity is “a matter of status–one’s status as a member of society in good standing–and it generates demands for recognition and for treatment that accords with that status” (Waldron, p. 60). In the context of the ALA, a librarian’s dignity (or, arguably, any conference attendee) is the assurance of equal standing within the library community. Harassment and intimidation are, by their very nature, demeaning of the dignity of the person or group being targeted, thus depriving them of the “assurance . . . that they can count on being treated justly” (Ibid., p. 85). Note that this has nothing to do with a person’s being offended or made uncomfortable. Offense is subjective; dignity is objective. A frank discussion of sexuality or race might be incredibly uncomfortable for some listeners, but it only becomes harassment if the discussion is calculated to undermine dignity or demean those listeners.

Second, though isolated instances of one-to-one harassment should be able to be handled by existing policy (a concession to the libertarians), many isolated instances of harassment have the effect of creating an unwelcome atmosphere in which the dignity (i.e., the equal standing) of an entire group is undermined. When left unchecked, harassment can harm this “dignitary order” of the community (ibid., p. 92). Whereas we want conferences to be inclusive of many viewpoints (a concession to the marketplace of ideas doctrine), harassment compounds as an environmental toxin that undermines group dignity and, hence, undermines inclusiveness. A fair marketplace requires that all agents involved are assured equal standing but, to take just one example, harassment on the grounds of sexual identity serves to undermine that assurance among the LGBT community, thus removing them from the marketplace. This winds up not just harming the LGBT community but also harming the entire community who would otherwise benefit from the additional perspectives. Put another way, if we really want a marketplace of ideas, we have to assure all community members that their ideas will be heard.

Third, although regulating to prevent this dignitary harm may have some costs, the benefits justify the adoption of anti-harassment policies. Yes, we want a marketplace of ideas but, just as there are regulations over economic markets, there ought to be regulations curtailing abuse of the intellectual market. Think of the ALA Code of Conference Conduct as a sort of intellectual Glass-Steagall Act maybe. Given that the most frequent types of harassment are based on “race, religion, language, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, appearance, or other group status” it only makes sense to expressly prohibit those types of harassment in order to improve the intellectual market (there’s a long conversation we could have here about identifying “vulnerable groups” but we can save that for later). I don’t really know if this is even making sense, but in a nutshell, we need the ALA Code of Conference Conduct because it is our best way of assuring librarians of all backgrounds that the library community respects their basic dignity. And we need to provide this assurance because without dignitary order we lose out on the public good of inclusiveness. This isn’t about restricting intellectual freedom, it’s about restricting all and only those actions and words that undermine dignity. So Manley’s fear that Richard Pryor wouldn’t be allowed at an ALA conference is completely unfounded: Pryor may have been offensive, but he didn’t undermine people’s dignity.  Anyway, that’s the quick version of the dignity argument.

Conclusion

I’m just putting these theories out there for people to think about. While I do tend to lean towards the dignity argument, I do have some purely philosophical concerns about it. Likewise, while I’m not convinced of the libertarian argument, I’m not going to think poorly of those who invoke it. Whatever the case, I’m glad that the ALA has a Code of Conference Conduct and I hope that the discussions at Midwinter (in particular Andromeda’s panel on gender issues, which will probably touch on the code of conduct) are more thoughtful than what happened yesterday.

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* that’s ‘libertarian’ in the philosophical sense, not the “your crazy 9/11 truther uncle who reads Ayn Rand” sense

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by gfoots on Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA

On February 1 of this year, philosopher Brian Leiter announced a poll to determine the “best book publishers in philosophy in English.” On February 5, after receiving over 500 votes, Leiter posted the results. I don’t think anyone was surprised to see Oxford as the Condorcet winner by a landslide, followed by the usual cast of characters: Cambridge, Harvard, Routledge, and so on. Almost as an afterthought, Leiter added that “at the very bottom of the list of 34 were Peter Lang…and then Edwin Mellen Press, which lost to Oxford 407-1, and to Peter Lang by 73-39.  I don’t know much about either, but both do publish a significant number of philosophy titles.”

I would imagine that Professor Leiter now knows more than he ever cared to know about Edwin Mellen Press given the chain of events that followed. I won’t offer a full summary here, but let’s just say that the strange case of Edwin Mellen Press begins* in 2010 with a librarian who had the temerity to assert his professional opinion that EMP is a “junk publisher” specializing in “second-class scholarship” at “egregiously high prices”. And from there, we get a tawdry tale of alleged libel, lawsuits, petitions, partial retractions, spurious domain names, deranged legal threats, and oh so much more. Check out Colleen Flaherty’s “Price of a Bad Review” at Inside Higher Ed for a good review of the beginnings of the EMP drama and check out “Edwin Mellen Press Demonstrates How Not To Respond To Criticism” at Techdirt for a good overview of more batshit insane recent developments. Anyway, throughout this unfolding drama there have been quite a few mentions of a boycott [here, here, all over the Chronicle forums, etc.]. And that’s the bit I want to address…

On March 29, in a now removed (but easily found) post, Wayne Bivens-Tatum announced that the ACRL Philosophy, Religion, & Theology Discussion Group would meet at ALA Annual in Chicago to discuss a provocative question: Should we buy philosophy and religion materials from publishers who sue libraries and librarians?” Strangely, ACRL requested that the topic be changed and Bivens-Tatum acquiesced, replacing the initial question with a more abstract (hence, less provocative) question: “are publishers suing or threatening to sue libraries or librarians threats to academic freedom for librarians?” This is still an important and interesting question, but I want to go back to the first question. Should we as purchasing agents boycott litigious publishers?**

by quinn.anya on FLickr, CC BY-SA

by quinn.anya on FLickr, CC BY-SA

Should we buy philosophy and religion materials from publishers who sue libraries and librarians?

Well, the first thing to do is to clarify what sort of litigation we’re concerned with: not all law suits are created equal. Currently, the salient instances of library litigation are (1) the EMP shenanigans and (2) the civil action brought by Oxford, Cambridge, and SAGE against Georgia State over e-reserve policies. Calls to boycott the publishers in the Georgia State case have been floating around for a while, but I think Kevin Smith is absolutely correct in pointing out that this sort of boycott cannot be unilateral; it requires consultation with the teachers, students, and other researchers that make up the campus community because “this deplorable lawsuit is not a “library problem,” it is an academic problem; an issue that needs to be addressed by the higher education community.” As librarians, it’s not our call to make and we should not boycott Oxford, Cambridge, or SAGE without having a (very important) discussion with the campus community. Can the same reasoning be applied to the EMP situation or similar cases? I think not…for a few different reasons.

First, the issues at the heart of the Georgia State case are, as Smith argued, indicative of wider problems in academe and librarians are not the only stakeholders in the matter. Hell, we’re not even the primary stakeholders (that would be the students, teachers, and researchers). A unilateral boycott against Oxford and Cambridge, on the grounds that they have an adversarial interpretation of copyright law, is indefensible without the approval of at least the primary stakeholders (i.e., the teachers, students, and researchers who are most affected by access to e-reserves). On the other hand, librarians are by definition the primary stakeholders on issues relating to academic freedom for librarians. If a publisher is acting in a manner that directly challenges or threatens librarians’s professional expertise, then I think it is fairly easy to make the argument that librarians should have the freedom to initiate a boycott.

Second, though the Georgia State suit is problematic in a number of ways, it is ultimately an issue of intellectual property law (fair use and copyright infringement) and thus it is a different beast from situations like the EMP litigation which constitute issues of intellectual freedom (defamation vs. critical professional opinion). Intellectual freedom is clearly a moral concern, given that it is predicated on fundamental rights of self expression, and it is this moral dimension that suggests a boycott may be appropriate. This is not to say that IP issues are unimportant, just that they are primarily practical concerns rather than explicitly moral concerns (though there are frequently secondary moral considerations), and it should be the moral dimension that drives the boycott. Keep in mind that boycotts are essentially punitive measures and that punishment in general can only be sanctioned on moral grounds.

Finally, even though I think that boycotts are appropriate if (1) librarians are the primary stakeholders and (2) the boycott is raised on moral grounds, I think the potential harm to our communities is worth considering. That is, even if librarians are completely justified in boycotting a publisher on moral grounds, it may be wrong to boycott if it would place an undue burden on our community. This is one reason that boycotting Oxford and Cambridge would be so difficult, even if librarians were otherwise justified in boycotting. After all, as Leiter’s poll suggests, Oxford and Cambridge are the top two most respected scholarly publishers in philosophy (SAGE doesn’t publish monographs in philosophy). It’s not that they are so important that they can’t be boycotted, just that moral decision making is a balancing act and the potential negative impact of boycotting Oxford and Cambridge is far more severe than the potential impact of boycotting a much smaller press. 

So, in answer to the question of whether to purchase books from publishers who sue librarians (or libraries), I say we are unilaterally justified in boycotting these publishers when (1) librarians are the primary stakeholders, (2) the boycott is primarily raised on moral grounds, and (3) the potential harm caused by the boycott is outweighed by the potential good. If a boycott fails to meet any of these three conditions, then it should not be a unilateral decision by the library. If the stakes aren’t moral, if we aren’t the primary stakeholders, or if the harm creates an undue burden on our community, then we should hold back on boycotting.

by twicepix on Flickr, CC BY-SA

by twicepix on Flickr, CC BY-SA

Edwin Mellen

Now, the sensitive questions. First, are librarians the primary stakeholders in the Edwin Mellen situation? Second, would a boycott of Edwin Mellen be raised primarily on moral grounds? Finally, are the potential harms caused by a boycott of Edwin Mellen justifiable on balance? If the answer to all three questions is “yes”, then go ahead and get to boycotting. Otherwise, do not make a unilateral decision to boycott without securing either the assent of the primary stakeholders, solid moral reasoning, or a means of reducing potential harm.

Personally, however, the issue of boycotting Edwin Mellen isn’t an issue for me at all because I’m not really in a position to boycott a scholarly press from which I would not willingly purchase books in the first place. It’s sort of the same way I don’t eat at Olive Garden, not because I’m boycotting them, but because I don’t like their food. Similarly, I don’t buy from Edwin Mellen, not because I’m boycotting, but because independent from the quality of their books they don’t publish titles that fit my criteria for collection development. To date, I have not received any faculty requests for books published by Edwin Mellen and neither have any UTC faculty have published with Edwin Mellen. I could go to the EMP website, but they only list reasons to publish with EMP, not reasons to purchase from them. And as for holdings at other libraries, sure, places like Harvard might have over 4,000 titles by Edwin Mellen. But, Harvard also has over 1,000 titles from actual vanity publisher Vantage Press, so the mere fact that Harvard owns something is in no way a mark of quality and in no way relevant to my purchasing decisions.

So, that leaves me with book reviews. Thankfully, Brian Leiter also has a poll covering the most influential book reviewers. Within the top five sources for book reviews in philosophy only two Edwin Mellen books have been reviewed, both by Notre Dame Philosophy Reviews (the most influential reviews according to Leiter’s poll) and both reviews specifically mention bad editing (“It is not a well-edited book” and “this is a provocative book that deserved better editing.” There have been no recent reviews that I can find in Philosophical Review, MindPhilosophy & Phenomenological Research, or Ethics (just a couple of mentions under ‘Books Received’). Even if we look at the least influential reviews, Choice hasn’t reviewed EMP since 2005 and Library Journal hasn’t in even longer. Of course, a lack of reviews in top journals does not imply that Edwin Mellen publishes inferior books; all I’m pointing out is that I really have no reliable means for assessing their quality and relevance to my collection.  Given my limited funds, it would be irresponsible of me to spend money blindly.***

In a nutshell, the reason I have no intention of boycotting the Edwin Mellen Press goes back to the event that started this whole farrago. Put simply, I won’t buy from the Edwin Mellen Press not because of the lawsuit but because they are the lowest ranked publisher in philosophy according to Brian Leiter’s survey and I can find no reliable means (faculty requests, book reviews, etc.) to determine otherwise. Truth be told, I was only vaguely familiar with Edwin Mellen before the case against Askey materialized. Now that the press has willingly subjected itself to intense scrutiny, I can’t help but think that, boycott or no boycott, the damage has already been done.

Just a random picture of a smashed cantaloupe.

* Actually, EMP has a rather interesting history prior to 2010, but prior events aren’t germane to the current round of legal maneuvering.

** I’m going to use ‘boycott’ in what I presume is the everyday (i.e., Wikipedia) sense: “an act of voluntarily abstaining from using, buying, or dealing with a person, organization, or country as an expression of protest, usually for social or political reasons.” And I’m going to discuss it strictly in terms of purchasing. There is a wholly distinct issue of whether potential authors should refrain from publishing through Edwin Mellen. This latter boycott is far less problematic and I see no prima facie reason to object to it, so I’m not going to talk about it.

*** For the record, the library at UTC currently holds 132 titles from the Edwin Mellen Press. Of the 23 titles received since 2008, 19 were on the approval plan. Since 2001, only one Edwin Mellen title has entered the philosophy and religion collection…also an approval title. In light of recent events, the approval plan has been modified.

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Photo by peskylibrary on Flickr

Well, Banned Books Week is officially over. I don’t really have a problem with the event, though it’s hard not to make snarky observations. Thankfully, the Annoyed Librarian has already taken care of the snark, so I can get along with my day.

Anyway, reading about all of the banned book displays and banned book read-outs has got me thinking about how highlighting banned challenged controversial books matches up with the policies recommended by the ALA. Surprisingly, these displays are a violation of ALA policies on intellectual freedom. Specifically, it seems that a lot of the hoopla surrounding banned books is in direct violation of the ALA’s official position on labeling. That’s right…by pulling controversial titles from the general collection, assembling them into a special exhibit, and encouraging patrons to read them, librarians are going against an official policy of the ALA regarding censorship.

Labeling and Rating
Long before our society was overrun by gay penguins and sparkly vampires, conservative and religious groups had a different problem: Commies. Those damned pinkos were everywhere and they needed to be stopped. So, concerned citizens started pressuring libraries to place big, fat stickers on any books that might be considered “subversive” or “un-American”. Of course, the ALA was having none of that, so in 1951 it released an official Statement on Labeling that condemned any attempts to label a book “subversive”. As the statement argued “labeling is an attempt to prejudice the reader, and as such, it is a censor’s tool.”

The statement on labeling has been amended a handful of times over the past 60 years, ultimately ending up as a statement on “Labels and Rating Systems.” Here are the five core principles regarding labeling:

  1. “The presence of books and other resources in a library does not indicate endorsement of their contents by the library.” 
  2. “Labels on library materials may be viewpoint-neutral directional aids that save the time of users, or they may be attempts to prejudice or discourage users or restrict their access to materials.” 
  3. “Prejudicial labels are designed to restrict access, based on a value judgment that the content, language or themes of the material, or the background or views of the creator(s) of the material, render it inappropriate or offensive for all or certain groups of users.”
  4. “Viewpoint-neutral directional aids facilitate access by making it easier for users to locate materials.” 
  5. “When directional aids are used to forbid access or to suggest moral or doctrinal endorsement, the effect is the same as prejudicial labeling.”

The ALA also provides this helpful FAQ on labeling, if you’d like (slightly) more explanation.

Are Banned Books displays viewpoint-neutral?
The statement on labeling makes it pretty clear that there are only two types of labels: directional and prejudicial. That’s it. The call number on the spine is a finding aid, so that’s an acceptable directional aid. Same goes for barcodes. A sign that says “Fiction” is okay, and it’s even permissible to make a display for a summer reading list, because “assembling materials that will be in high demand for a limited period of time helps library users find them.” But, as the ALA repeatedly insist, any non-directional label is prejudicial. So, where do the Banned Books displays fit in?

It seems clear that a Banned Book display would fall under the “directional aid” category. But, the ALA is explicit that when a directional aid is used “to suggest moral or doctrinal endorsement, the effect is the same as prejudicial labeling.” Moral or doctrinal endorsement, huh? What am I doing if I actively encourage people to read a select class of books in order “to draw attention to the danger that exists when restraints are imposed on the availability of information in a free society“? Sounds to me like I’m…wait for it…suggesting moral or doctrinal endorsement. Oh, snap! We’re endorsing a particular moral stance towards the freedom to read! Oh, double-snap! That means Banned Books Week displays are a form of prejudicial labeling! Yes, I’m completely serious about this. According to the official ALA statement on labeling, Banned Books Week is a biased treatment of specific library materials. Sure, it’s a bias in favor of something librarians think is morally acceptable, but according to the ALA it’s a “prejudice” all the same.

“Ooh, dang!” 

By yaffamedia on Flickr

Celebrating banned books…with extreme prejudice.
Before you assume I’m a conservative zealot like that jackass from SafeLibraries, let me add that I’m all about the freedom to read. I love Banned Books Week. I used to read And Tango Makes Three to my son regularly and if he wants to read those controversial YA books with mature themes, I’m all for it. The problem isn’t with Banned Books Week. The problem is that ALA policies on censorship are inconsistently applied and poorly defined.

The Statement on Labeling was a purely reactionary gesture at the height of the Red Scare but, for whatever reason, subsequent amendments have only increased the derp. In a nutshell, the statement is founded on a straightforward false dilemma: labels are either directional or they are a prejudicial “censor’s tool”. Period. But, there is no reason at all to suppose that these are the only two options for labels.

A simple example of acceptable labeling would be the case of a label indicating that certain pages are missing from a volume. That sort of label is not a finding aid, but it’s also not an instance of censorship. To take another example, if my library decides to go with an OPAC that allows user reviews, public lists, and links to book reviews (which we’re deciding right now) then we are enhancing records with non-directional information. But is this prejudicial information? I think not.

But, you know what, these are boring examples of how libraries might inform patrons as to the quality or value of their collections. They suffice to show that the statement on labeling is B.S., but let’s try something more challenging. What about bowdlerized books? I’m sort of thinking that bowdlerized books should be labeled as such, if only to prevent patrons from mistaking an expurgated text for an original. What do we tell the Freshman English major who checks out the Charles Lamb edition of Romeo and Juliet, where the roles of Mercutio and the Nurse have vanished? Or, more recently, what do we do with that copy of Stephenson’s Reamde that Amazon just reworked on the fly? Shouldn’t we indicate whether a book on the shelf is the censored or abridged version, at least so that we might be consistent in our moral opposition to censorship?

Or, what about instances of fraud? If it turns out that a book in the collection is plagiarized, falsifies data, or the author just made everything up, should you include a little descriptive note in the MARC 500 field? Something like, “hey there, it turns out the author plagiarized, so here’s a link to the original version of this work” or ” ‘sup bro, just wanted to let you know that even though this book is shelved with the non-fiction books, the author admitted that he just made everything up.” Can we do that? Did you know you probably do it already? Yeppers, take a look at your library’s record for James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces. What’s that little bit in the 500 field? Oh, crap, it’s a non-directional note! Dear God, your library is an affront to intellectual freedom! You heartless pinko censor, you!

“THE LITTLE RED BOOK OF GOSSIP GIRL IS THE UNIVERSITY OF MAO ZEDONG THOUGHT!”

by fortinbras on Flickr

We aren’t prejudiced, we’re discriminating
Obviously, there’s more to maintaining a collection than slapping on a barcode and then washing our hands. The simple fact of the matter is that the Statement on Labeling is poorly written. But, I think the tension between the statement and Banned Books Week points to a larger issue: that official ALA policies on intellectual freedom are inconsistent with other library values and ignore the important distinction between prejudice and discrimination. Librarians advocating for intellectual freedom are not prejudiced, they’re discriminating, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Prejudice involves passing judgment without adequate knowledge or relevant reasons. But, sometimes we do know something about the books on our shelves and we believe that our patrons need to share in the same information. We know how to distinguish between different information sources, and we know how to distinguish between relevant and irrelevant bibliographic data. Likewise, sometimes we do know something about intellectual freedom and we believe that we should spread the word. Obviously, we have constraining moral rules, ideals, and virtues. Out of respect for autonomy, we’re not going to command a patron to read or not read a particular book. But, as discriminating experts on intellectual freedom, there’s nothing wrong with advocacy.

If we took the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom at it’s word, we’d not just have to abandon Banned Books Week, but abandon most forms of library advocacy (want kids to get library cards? sorry, that’s indoctrination). I realize that the ALA doesn’t really want to end library advocacy. Nor does it want to turn its back on issues of intellectual freedom, censorship, literacy, and the other moral concerns of libraries. But, we can’t go about understanding intellectual freedom through policy statements, and I guess all I’m pointing out is that any librarian interested in promoting intellectual freedom is making a tacit admission that the “official” policies on intellectual freedom can be safely ignored. Though, I wouldn’t go so far as to ban them…that’s just what the ALA would want.

By anirvan on Flickr

[and, by the way, I got bored of this post and decided to move on to more interesting stuff halfway through writing it. but, whatever, it’s my blog, I’ll do what I want, yo.]


[[crap. that was a non-directional label on my own post. I am so screwed.]]

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