Library Juice 4:42 - November 21, 2001
- Dennis A. Mahoney discovers the modern librarian
- "Libraries are a whole new business"
- One-Stop Shopping for Reference Sites (RUSA "best" list)
- Bibliometrics of electronic journals in information science
- Media self-censorship? Mother Jones article
- Rising Fears That What We Do Know Can Hurt Us
- Rights-L: Digital Rights Management Listserv
- Cites & Insights 1:13 (December 2001)
- Are College Libraries Too Empty?
- Nolo Press library campaign (matching funds for libraries)
- Joseph Labadie on-line exhibit now available
- Beta Phi Mu award
- Last Call for Nominations for Service to Labor
- Applicants: LeRoy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund
- CIPA Legal Defense: Please Help
- Is book-burning a library issue?
- Protest planned flag display at Multnomah County Library
- Underneath the Lintel
Quote for the week:
"This is one of those critical moments in history, and I did not
want to look back and regret not having said something."
- Aaron McGruder, author of the "Boondocks" newspaper cartoon, explaining
why the strip has expressed anti-war, pro-civil liberty opinions in the
past few weeks.
Homepage of the week: Terren Ilana Wein
(If you want to know if Ranganathan really said "Librarians must be like
Krishna," you should contact Terren. Her website was my source for the
1. Dennis A. Mahoney discovers the modern librarian
in "The Secret Land of Librarians"
at 0 (zero) format
Thanks to Juanita at newbreed for the link. Dennis admires weblogging
librarians, but seems a little too surprised by his new discovery.
2. "Libraries are a whole new business"
LISnews author Ieleen posted a story from an Atlanta rag that began,
"Once viewed as cold edifices, where equally cold, bun-laden librarians
shushed everyone, including the mouse in the corner, libraries have evolved
into hi-tech businesses which successfully mix and match tradition with
trend, creating a hub of community services and a fun gathering place for
In one brief reply and then a longer one I spelled out why I think the
"business model," as it's usually meant, is bad news. The thread is long
past its presence on the front page of LISNews, but there's no reason we
can't still add to it. You can post your comments at the URL listed above. - Rory ________________________________________________________________________top
3. One-Stop Shopping for Reference Sites (RUSA "best" list)
The American Library Association has released its list of the best free
reference web sites on the Internet:
4. Bibliometrics of electronic journals in information science
Donald T. Hawkins
Editor-in-Chief, Information Science Abstracts
Information Today, Inc.
Medford, NJ, USA
The bibliometric characteristics of electronic journals (e-journals)
covering the field of information science have been studied. Twenty-eight
e-journals were identified and ranked by number of articles on the subject
they published. A Bradford plot revealed that the core is not well
developed yet, but it will likely contain six journals. The publication of
information science articles in e-journals began about 1990. In 1995 (the
starting date for this study), a modest 26 articles appeared, but
publication has now risen to approximately 250 articles per year. The most
prolific authors are identified. The vast majority of them are located in
the United States or United Kingdom. Only 26 articles have authors from
more than one country, showing that electronic technology has not yet
strongly influenced international collaboration. About 2/3 of the articles
originate in academic institutions. Common topics of e-journal articles in
information science include electronic information, electronic publishing,
virtual (digital) libraries, information search and retrieval, and use of
the Internet. Seven online databases cover these e-journals; Information
Science Abstracts is the only one to cover all 28 journals, and it has the
highest number of abstracts from them - over 1,100.
5. Media self-censorship? Mother Jones article
"Under what conditions should media outlets in a democracy alter their
coverage in compliance with requests of their elected or appointed
6. Rising Fears That What We Do Know Can Hurt Us
Information: The government is pulling back on previously shared data to
keep it from aiding terrorists.
By ERIC LICHTBLAU, Times Staff Writer
WASHINGTON -- The document seemed innocuous enough: a survey of government
data on reservoirs and dams on CD-ROM. But then came last month's federal
directive to U.S. libraries: "Destroy the report."
So a Syracuse University library clerk broke the disc into pieces, saving a
single shard to prove that the deed was done.
The unusual order from the Government Printing Office reflects one of the
hidden casualties of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks: the public's shrinking
access to information that many once took for granted.
Want to find out whether there are any hazardous waste sites near the local
day-care center? What safety controls are in place at nuclear power plants?
Or how many people are incarcerated in terrorist-related probes?
Since Sept. 11, it has become much harder to get such information from the
federal government, a growing number of states and public libraries as
heightened concern about national security has often trumped the public's
"right to know:" .....
7. Rights-L: Digital Rights Management Listserv
This new mailing list stemmed from discussions on digital rights management
(DRM) at the Managing Digital Video workshop held this past August in
Atlanta, Georgia. The list is designed to provide a forum "to discuss
possible cooperative development of a DRM implementation for R&E, and to
enable workshop participants to communicate about work being conducted in
this area." Some of the first discussions will center around proposed
collaborations between the ViDe VideoAccess Working Group and the Internet2
Video Middleware (VidMid) Video-on-Demand group as part of the recently
announced NSF Middleware Initiative. [TK]
From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-2001.
Editor's note: If that abstract sounded like "wonk, wonka, wonka,
wonkwonk," let me tell you in a nutshell what digital rights management is.
Digital Rights Management is the field where new companies and initiatives
are working on ways to keep track of who owns what intellectual property
and to compensate them for it systematically and automatically.
Traditional aggregators are in the game (like Proquest, OCLC, Gale, etc.),
the Copyright Clearance Center is in the game, the new entity the National
Writers Union is trying to create would be a player, telecommunications
companies, who are gearing up to provide content via handhelds, are in the
game. BMI and ASCAP, which do rights management for musical property, are
looking like a model which digital content providers may begin to follow
(because of their per-use basis for compensation to rightsholders). There
was a very substantial program on the topic of Digital Rights Management at
the recent Internet Librarian conference. Gail Dykstra's powerpoint
presentation from that program, which is very informative, is at the
8. Cites & Insights 1:13 (December 2001) is now available.
This 20-page issue includes:
*Bibs & Blather
*The Filtering Follies
*PC Values: November 2001
*PC OS Stability (your comments)
*Journals and Technology: A Few Belated Notes
*Trends and Quick Takes...eight items
*Ebook Appliance Deja Vu
*Feedback: Your Insights
*Press Watch I...nine articles
*Product Watch...seven items
*Press Watch II...three items
Bibs & Blather appears first primarily to note that an index to the 14
issues so far produced will be out in a few weeks.
You can reach Cites & Insights at:
9. Are College Libraries Too Empty?
A Chronicle of Higher Education Colloquy, Thursday, November 15
Should educators be worried about the diminished use of libraries by
students? What should librarians do about it?
Many college libraries report that fewer and fewer students are using
their facilities -- at least not in person. More students are studying in
their dormitories, using the Internet to track down documents and
resources. And students prefer the informal atmosphere of big bookstores,
with their cafes, as places to hang out. Some educators worry that these
shifts are resulting in students' losing an appreciation for libraries and
the research process and that a key element of the college experience is
being lost. Some librarians fear that the shifts will bring budget cuts --
at a time when libraries are already having a tough time with expenses.
Deanna B. Marcum is president of the Council on Library and Information
Resources, and she was previously director of public service and collection
management at the Library of Congress and dean of the School of Library and
Information Science at the Catholic University of America. Mary Reichel is
president of the Association of College and Research Libraries and is the
university librarian at Appalachian State University. She has also been a
librarian at Arizona State University, Georgia State University, and the
State University of New York at Buffalo. Ms. Marcum and Ms. Reichel will
respond to comments and questions about the state of college libraries on
Thursday, November 15, at 2 p.m. U.S. Eastern time. Advance questions are
encouraged and may be submitted now.
Transcript of the chat:
10. Nolo Press library campaign (matching funds for libraries)
LOVE YOUR LIBRARY? HELP IT SURVIVE
Whenever there's financial trouble, our libraries
feel it first in their budgets. But Nolo will help
support your favorite library by doubling any
contribution you make!
Here's how it works: Send Nolo a check and tell us
which library should receive your gift. We'll
match the amount of your check and send your
library a credit memo for Nolo books in your name.
For example, if you send in $50, we'll add $50 and
give your library a credit memo for $100! Over the
past five years, our program has provided over
$40,000 to libraries nationwide.
When you send us a check, be sure to include the
following information (please note that Nolo will
not use this information for any other purpose):
- Your name
- Daytime phone
- Address, city, state & ZIP
- Library name
- Library phone
- Library address, city, state & ZIP
Make checks out to NOLO'S MATCHING FUNDS OFFER,
and send your information and contribution to
Nolo's Matching Funds Offer, 950 Parker St.,
Berkeley, CA 94710. Donations are tax deductible,
but may not be combined with other Nolo offers.
Offer good until the end of the year. If you have
questions, please email christine[at]nolo.com.
11. Joseph Labadie on-line exhibit now available!
In September, 2000, we mounted an original exhibit entitled "Joseph Labadie
and His Gift to Michigan: A Legacy for the Masses" in the Special
Collections Library at the University of Michigan. We have spent the past
year reformatting it into an electronic exhibit for those who could not
visit in person. After many hours of work, it is finally ready. We are
pleased to announce the opening of this virtual exhibit: Please visit
http://www.lib.umich.edu/spec-coll/jlabexhibit/index.html for a trip
through Detroit's radical past.
Thanks to the folks in the Scholarly Publishing Office at the University of
Michigan, especially Sally Bjork and Brian Rosenbloom, without whom this
project would not have been possible.
Julie Herrada, Curator
Special Collections Library
711 Hatcher Graduate Library
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1205
734 764-9377 phone
734 764-9368 fax
12. Beta Phi Mu award
From: "Freedman, Jenna" <JFreedman[at]iona.edu>
Hello Friends and Colleagues,
I'm on the Beta Phi Mu award jury this year--information below. I'm writing
to all of you because so far the applications have been sparse, and I would
like to encourage you to nominate a worthy candidate. Remember that the
awardee need not be an LIS faculty member; he or she can also be someone who
administers an internship, serves as a mentor, or contributes in some other
way to library education. Neither the nominator nor the nominee need be a
Beta Phi Mu member.
I'm also writing to you, people whose work and beliefs I value, because it
would be great to be able to honor someone in the profession who exemplifies
One proviso to those of you from the University of South Florida contingent:
because Elaine Yontz and I are both on the panel, it would be difficult for
us to give the award to a USFer. Hold onto those candidates for next year.
Text of call for nominations:
I am writing to invite your nominations for the 2002 Beta Phi Mu Award.
Donated by Beta Phi Mu and administered by ALA, the award is given annually
to a library school faculty member or to an individual for distinguished
service to education for librarianship.
The nomination form and a list of past recipients are available at:
The deadline is December 1. Specific questions may be sent to me at
Your support of this award is appreciated.
Elaine Yontz, Ph. D.
Chair, 2002 Beta Phi Mu Award Jury
Master of Library and Information Science Program
Valdosta State University
Odum Library-1500 N. Patterson Street
Valdosta, GA 31698-0150
PS I suppressed the recipient list only to spare you the annoying header. If
you want to know who all I sent this message to, let me know.
Jenna Freedman, MaLIS
Electronic Resources Librarian
715 North Ave.
New Rochelle, NY 10801
13. Last Call for Nominations for Service to Labor
From: Ann Sparanese <sparanese[at]englewoodlibrary.org>
To: PLGNet-L[at]listproc.sjsu.edu, srrtac-l[at]ala.org,
Last call for nominations/applications for the Sessions Award. Deadline
is December 15, 2001.
Award for Library Service to Labor
Nominations are now being accepted for the 2002 John Sessions Memorial
Award (http://www.ala.org/rusa/awards/awd_sessions.html) given by the
American Library Association's Reference and User Services Association.
Self-nominations are welcomed. Applications must be received by
Saturday, December 15, 2001.
The John Sessions Memorial Award, established in 1980, recognizes a
library or library system that has made significant efforts to work with
the labor community. Such efforts may include outreach projects to local
labor unions; establishment, or significant expansion of, special labor
collections; initiation of programs of special interest to the labor
community; or other library activities that serve the labor community.
The 2001 winner was the Duane G. Meyer Library, Southwest Missouri State
"Over a period of seventeen years, the Ozark Labor Union Archives (OLUA)
has developed itself as a major repository for labor and working class
records and collections. It has developed an active outreach component
that promotes an understanding and appreciation of labor history," said
Ann Sparanese, chair of the 2001 Award Committee. "It was this excellent
duality, archival collection and an outreach program, including a
student essay contest sponsored by the OLUA and American Postal Workers
Union Local 888, that made the OLUA stand out as the winner."
Previous winners (http://www.ala.org/rusa/awards/awd_sessions.html) have
included public and academic libraries, unions, and library advocate
Winning projects have been as diverse as working with local unions to
provide information on job training and education; creating exhibits of
local union history; building and preserving labor and union archives;
creating more accessible cataloging; and sponsoring Labor History Month
outreach to local unions.
The award is named for John Sessions, the former AFL-CIO co-chair of the
AFL-CIO/ALA Joint Committee on Library Service to Labor Groups. The
winning library receives a handsome plaque donated by the AFL-CIO.
For applications for the Sessions Award, or more information, contact
the Sessions Committee Chairperson:
Amy Tracy Wells
Preferred address: 71 University Drive, East Lansing, MI 48823
Phone: (517) 432-9857
14. Applicants: LeRoy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund
From: "Don Wood" <dwood[at]ala.org>
This Call for Applicants and Donors is being sent to multiple lists;
please forgive the cross-posting.
The Merritt Fund gives unique aid to librarians who are willing to stand
up for professional standards in library service and for their own personal
rights by rejecting:
- discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, race, color,
creed, age, disability, or place of national origin;
- unfair employment practices;
- censorship of library collections and suppression of freedom of
In our 25 years, the Fund has given over $80,000 in grants to support
librarians in their fight for intellectual freedom and professional
integrity. Some of the individuals who received grants include:
- A school librarian who was denied tenure in a small-town district for
vague reasons. The librarian had faced continued resistance to her stands
for intellectual freedom. A $1,000 grant from the Merritt Fund helped pay
bills that had backed up until she found a new position.
- A medical librarian who was terminated without just cause. The Merritt
Fund awarded $1,500 so she could secure legal counsel.
- A public librarian who did not support the library board's request to
restrict children's access to the adult section of the library and was
forced to resign. The Merritt Fund provided a $1,430 grant to assist with
Please apply for assistance yourself if you are facing a professional and
personal challenge of this kind, by filling out an application at:
Tell others about the Fund's existence, and please consider making a
direct donation in memory of LeRoy C. Merritt. Your contribution will
directly assist Librarians in need. For more information, including
information on how to donate to the Fund, go to: www.merrittfund.org/.
The LeRoy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund was established as a special trust
in memory of Dr. LeRoy C. Merritt. Dr. Merritt, who died in 1970, was one
of the library profession's staunchest opponents of censorship and one of
its most vigorous defenders of intellectual freedom. More about LeRoy C.
Merritt can be learned at: www.merrittfund.org/lcmerritt.html.
15. CIPA Legal Defense: Please Help
From: "Don Wood" <dwood[at]ala.org>
To: Intellectual Freedom Action News <ifaction[at]ala1.ala.org>
November 16, 2001
To: Our Colleagues
From: Office for Intellectual Freedom and ALA Development Office
During this difficult time, librarians must continue to be at the
forefront of efforts to preserve and promote access to information and free
expression, not an easy task anywhere, any time.
In this light, we need your help today.
On March 20, 2001, the American Library Association (ALA) filed suit to
challenge the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA). This Act requires
public libraries that receive federal funding to install and enforce the
use of blocking software on all computers with Internet access.
ALA filed suit, not only because of the flawed nature of filtering
software, but also because CIPA violates the First Amendment and hinders
the ability of libraries to fulfill their responsibility to provide access
A trial date has been set for February 14, 2002. For the most current
information on the legal challenge, please visit http://www.ala.org/cipa
In order to meet funding needs for this legal challenge, ALA launched its
campaign to raise $1.3 million for the CIPA Legal Fund. Thanks to many ALA
member libraries, divisions, chapters, affiliates, and others, we are
nearly halfway to our fund-raising goal.
Please visit http://www.ala.org/cipa/cipalegalfund.html to make your gift
to the CIPA Legal Fund and join ALA in our fight to protect intellectual
freedom and equity of access. Please consider a contribution that will
express your personal commitment to keeping Americas libraries safe from
By defending intellectual freedom, even during times of uncertainty,
librarians help to ensure that intellectual freedom will remain one of our
most treasured freedoms.
American Library Association
Office for Intellectual Freedom
50 East Huron Street
Chicago, IL 60611
1-800-545-2433, ext. 1 + 4225
intellectual freedom @ your library
Free People Read Freely®
16. Is book-burning a library issue?
From: Mark Rosenzweig <iskra[at]earthlink.net>
To: alacoun[at]ala.org, member-forum[at]ala.org, srrtac-l[at]ala.org,
There is probably a school of thought which contends that
book-burning is a so-called 'library issue' only if it is done on the
premises of the library in violation of the building code (i.e. not
in a proper incinerator).
My sense, though naive perhaps, is that most librarians consider
book-burning to be a matter of professional concern. True, like
flag-burning, it should be a perfectly legal activity. Unlike, for
instance, witch-burning or killing doctors who do abortions, which
activities do not count as protected speech.
Nonetheless, I think librarians would be surprised and alarmed, given
the historical associations of public book-burning (in the so-called
West) with Hitler, that one librarian of my acquaintance has
recently reported her attendance as an observer at a Nazi-style book
BBQ in her town.
At first I thought Melora Ranney's brief posting on the event on the
ALAOIF list was a kind of literary conceit used to make a point about
where we were headed. But when I inquired if this was the case, I
found out that it was not a joke or a rhetorical device, but an
actual eye-witness report!
This put into a different context the response by Reverend Mike
Wessels, librarian, on ALAOIF, which I initially took to be a satiric
take-off on Ranney's post, in which he actually defended book burning
--- the books in question were the evil Harry Potter series -- as an
expression of freedom of religion. It, unfortunately, was also dead
serious. Yes, true, it was an exercise of religious freedom but
hardly one for librarians to encourage. Or for any of us to think of
as a mere publicity stunt for a local fundamentalist outfit.
Why am I shocked that no one found this shocking and the responses
were laconic to say the least? Maybe Council will find this more
disturbing -- or perhaps it will assume that OIF/IFC will take care
of it by including it in their report at mid-winter.
But then there is ANOTHER book burning which only the next day came
to my attention, albeit of a different sort, if -- to me at least --
no less troubling. You may recall that I reported previously on the
pre-9/11 attempts by the government to prevent the distribution of
the government documents on Indonesia and Greece ( I won't
recapitulate that here). But there is a new twist. Just as torture is
being considered, post 9/11, a legitimate government option in the
interrogation of people who possibly have info about terrorists
(something, by the way, which the US supported in Greece by the junta
it helped install there), the US government is now considering ---
guess what -- book-burning. Destroying the books which documented the
US support for the torture regime in Greece!
So, here's two re-postings for you to consider re: book-burning in
post-Constitutional America (one by Melora Ranney, the other
contributed by Mary Ann Myers.
The thread on ALAOIF about the public bonfire in Maine of the Harry
Potter books is entitled "My First Book Burning". I seem not to have
it to hand on this computer. Ranney's e-mail is
STATE DEPT MULLS "BOOK BURNING"
The Department of State is under growing pressure from the Central
Intelligence Agency to destroy its inventory of an official history of U.S.
relations with Greece during the 1960s and to replace it with a new,
Some 1500 copies of "Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS),
1964-1968, volume XVI" on US policy towards Greece, Cyprus, Turkey
have been printed. But they have been withheld from circulation
because of last minute concerns raised by the CIA.
The sticking point appears to be a handful of documents that allude to
CIA intervention in the electoral process in Greece some 35 years ago.
CIA officials claim that release of such documents could upset current
relations with Greece or even provide a pretext for terrorism. Similar
claims that delayed the release of another FRUS volume on Indonesia
earlier this year proved unfounded.
A CIA proposal to dispose of the existing inventory of the FRUS volume
on Greece and to reprint the volume without the offending documents
"has been bruited for weeks," according to one government historian
familiar with the situation.
"Every time the subject is raised in my presence, I mention those dread
words 'cover up.' Or at least they should be dread words. It seems to
me that the existence of the volumes is too well known. Destroying
them would be a huge public relations disaster for the U.S.
government," the historian said on September 20. "Book burning is
definitely not a politically correct thing to do."
"I don't know why the Agency is so over-the-top on this issue," the
historian said. "Maybe they really do know more than they're telling us."
Director of Central Intelligence George J. Tenet has gotten personally
involved in the matter, attempting to enlist the help of Deputy
Secretary of State Richard Armitage in blocking release of the official
According to one source, Mr. Tenet contacted Mr. Armitage to discuss
the matter as recently as the night of September 10, at a time when his
attention might have been more profitably directed elsewhere. A State
Department official would not confirm or deny that the September 10
conversation took place.
The suppression of the FRUS volume was reported by the Washington
Post on August 17. It was discussed in an August 12 article in the Greek
[This article was written by Steven Aftergood and published by the
Federation of American Scientists]
[SRRTAC-L:7128] Re: Is book-burning a library issue?
From: Frederick W Stoss <fstoss[at]acsu.buffalo.edu>
To: SRRT Action Council <srrtac-l[at]ala.org>
Mark's lamentations about the lack of ANY dialogue is true on several
other library eMail lists to which I am subscribed. Restricting the flow
of information, creating and using so-called "hit lists," signing
executive orders that further restrict the access to and flow of
information are VERY real library issues. Encouraging librarians to inform
on their user's searching habits., ditto.
Yes, terrorists inflicted a great wound. Yes, we need to be much more
cautious than we were before 9-11, and with good reason. But the situation
does not mean the wholesale surrender of our constitutional rights and
freedms. Couching environmental activists in the same category as the
terrorist who destroyed the WTC and parts of the Pentagon is simply wrong.
Sneaking anti-environmental provisions in legislation designed to aid
victims is wrong. Withdrawing data and information readily avialble from
private souces by federal agencies is wrong.
There are many instances where we as librarians should be cautious and
mindful of our responsibilities for both providing good service to those
using our libraries, as well as address the real concerns over security
and freedoms and righs.
To simply surrender our rights and our abilities to keep people informed
is an extremely thin piece of ice on which we tread. I for all practical
purposes we are doing this as a profession without any dialogue or debate
among ourselves. We don't even hear the warning cry, "Be careful! Thin
Science and Engineering Library
SUNY University at Buffalo
(Fred Stoss is the current chair of SRRT and an ALA Councilor. -RL)
17. Protest planned flag display at Multnomah County Library
Re: U.S. flag displayed in libraries
From: EJ Dawson <ejdawson[at]yahoo.com>
To: PLGNet-L[at]listproc.sjsu.edu, librarians-digest[at]lists.tao.ca
I sent an email to you a few weeks ago about plans the Multnomah County
Library (where I work) has to install U.S. flags in each neighborhood
library and at the main branch downtown. Since I last wrote, there have
been some developments. I'm writing to explain what's going on now, and
to ask for your help.
In late October I sent a letter to the library's Intellectual Freedom
Committee, the Director of Community Services (Janet Kinney is her name),
and a few other members of the library administration. One of the members
of the Intellectual Freedom Committee sent a message inviting me to meet
with the Committee and Janet Kinney so that Janet could "explain the
reasons behind this decision." The meeting took place last Thursday
(November 15), and was attended by Janet, two members of the Intellectual
Freedom Committee, me, and my union representative.
The meeting lasted almost two hours and a lot of things were said. I
began the meeting by reading a statement which made essentially the same
points I have made to you in previous posts: the appearance of the U.S.
flag in the library is going to mean different things to different patrons;
many people have good reason to interpret it negatively in our current
social and political climate, this would hinder some patrons' intellectual
freedom; the timing of the planned installation of flags would aggravate
this problem. Then I read a letter I had written and asked other library
staff to sign (twenty-one of them did) and gave the letter and a copy of
my statement to Janet.
Janet described how the decision to install flags came about. She said
after the September 11th tragedy there were many questions from patrons and
staff about why the library does not display the U.S. flag. Most of the
people who asked were satisfied with the simple answer "we've never had
them before, and there's nowhere for us to put them" (none of the Multnomah
County Library buildings have outside flagpoles). However, Janet said, one
patron was not happy with this answer and pursued the matter further. She
got the support of various community groups, and took the matter to the
offices of our County Commissioners (the library is a department of the
county government and is accountable to the County Commission). She said
that the staff of various Commissioners recommended to her that the library
go ahead and install flags. Janet said she agreed because she was not
willing to put the County in the position of having to defend itself
against pressure from community groups on this issue.
I argued with Janet's decision and the reasons she gave for it in various
ways. First I noted that installing U.S. flags at this critical time could
well leave the library and the County open to pressure from community
groups and individuals who feel uncomfortable using the library with flags
displayed there. Then I pointed out that the library would naturally
defend itself from interference by the County Commission if members of the
administration felt the Commission's suggestions or orders would interfere
with individual freedom of expression or the intellectual freedom of staff
or patrons (loyalty oaths and challenges to materials were the specific
examples I used).
Other matters were discussed as well. Most significantly, one of the
members of the Intellectual Freedom Committee argued that there is no
precedent for matters such as these to be considered issues of
At the close of the meeting, Janet indicated that in view of our
discussion, the matter should be considered undecided. She said she would
think over the issues I had raised, as well as those brought up by the
members of the Intellectual Freedom Committee, talk with her superiors, and
revisit the matter within a few weeks.
Here's where I need you. Pressure from the professional community can
greatly influence the Multnomah County Library's final decision on this
matter. Please take a moment to write a letter, fax, or email to the
administration indicating that you think flags should not be installed.
Below is a list of administrators and their contact information, as well
as a few suggestions for what to write. Please, if you are inspired to
write your own letter, do so. I am sure the viewpoints of individuals in
their own words will be even more powerful. I would also greatly
appreciate it if you would send a copy of your letter to me via email at
ejdawson[at]yahoo.com. If you'd like to send your letter by U.S. mail, get in
touch with me by email and I'll send you my address.
Thanks again for your support.
I am writing to express my concern about Multnomah County Library's plans
to display U.S. flags inside each branch library. As a fellow library
professional, I feel I have a particular stake in this matter.
The American flag symbolizes positive aspects of our country and
government, but also has negative meanings which are just as valid. In
the current political climate - a war in Afghanistan, accompanied by
racist attacks at home - the sudden appearance of a U.S. flag inside the
library can be expected to alienate a portion of the population and thus
interfere with their intellectual freedom. A teenager might worry about
asking for help finding information about draft counseling. A student of
world religions may feel uncomfortable taking a copy of the Koran to the
check-out desk. And some people, Arab-Americans especially, may feel that
their right to even enter the building has been compromised. This is
surely not what you intend with the planned flag display, but it is a
predictable consequence of such an action, and as such it must be taken
Everyone has a right to use the public library. Librarians have a
responsibility to protect and support the public's freedom to use library
materials and facilities in comfort and safety. Multnomah County Library
will only remain an open environment where patrons feel comfortable in
their intellectual, educational, and recreational pursuits if the
Library's administration and staff continue their commitment to
intellectual freedom and refrain from installing U.S. flags inside each
WHERE TO SEND YOUR LETTER
Director of Community Services
Multnomah County Library
205 NE Russell St.
Portland OR 97212-3708
Director of Libraries
Multnomah County Library
205 NE Russell St.
Portland OR 97212-3708
205 NE Russell St.
Portland OR 97212-3708
If you're feeling energetic, you can send your letter to the Multnomah
County Commissioners as well. They all have the same address and fax
501 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd. Suite 600
Portland OR 97214
Each commissioner is listed below, with their title, telephone number, and
Chair, Multnomah County Commission
Maria Rojo de Steffey
Multnomah County Commissioner, District 1
Multnomah County Commissioner, District 2
Multnomah County Commissioner, District 3
Multnomah County Commissioner, District 4
18. Underneath the Lintel
From: "Christina Buchner" <tinanan[at]earthlink.net>
Rory,I just wanted to let you know about this wonderful play about a
librarian. Maybe you can post something on your site or in the magazine.
The producers of the Off-Broadway play, "Underneath the Lintel," are
offering 1/2 price tickets for librarians. Call 212-691-1555 to order.
"Underneath the Lintel" is a play like no other: a tantalizing mystery, a
clever fable, a captivating tale...all packed into a magical show by Glen
Berger. T. Ryder Smith stars as a Dutch librarian who has discovered a
book in the overnight slot 113 years overdue. He traces the unusual
history of the book, a travel guide that has had some phenomenal travels of
its own in its years away from the library. Come join the journey and
discover what the New York Times calls "a wonderful metaphor for life's
elusive but inextinguishable meaning."
- Christina Buchner --- tinanan[at]earthlink.net ________________________________________________________________________top
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