Library Juice 4:7 - February 28, 2001
- Automatic Professor Machine
- Librarian's E-zine - Book Wander
- New Issue of Marginal Librarian
- Don't Read Aloud This Version of Alice in Wonderland
- Writers, Artists, and their Copyright Holders (WATCH)
- Neutrality, Objectivity, and the Political Center
- SRRT's First Communique, March 13, 1969
- MANY VOICES, ONE GOAL
- National Writers Union site for the Tasini case
- ACRL's InPrint
- The Simpsons Archive
Quote for the week:
"The Dispensary of the Soul"
Inscription on the library in Thebes, Egypt, 2000 BCE
Homepage of the week: Cynthia Hetherington
Mitch Freedman for ALA President: http://www.Mitch4Prez.org
1. Automatic Professor Machine
* A PROFESSOR at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has
created a prototype of a satirical knowledge-dispensing
terminal called the Automatic Professor Machine. The A.P.M.,
he says, will be available soon from the same company that
markets wearable universities.
--> SEE http://chronicle.com/free/2001/02/2001022201u.htm
2. Librarian's E-zine - Book Wander
From: peterjk <peterjk[at]one.net.au>
Date: 02/20/01 06:53 pm
Interested in what is happening in a Sydney librarian's life. Come see! It's
FREE to subscribe and the Book Wander will try to keep it topical and
interesting. Put your own views as well. Or pass this message to other
colleagues who may have an interest.
You can see my new site here:
Let me know what you think! Vol 1 No. 2 out now!
3. New Issue of Marginal Librarian
The McGill library school student newsletter
ALA Trip News - The Low Down
Why does feminism matter in Library and Information Studies?
The Web needs Information Professionals - But are information
The Two Tables
Virtual tour of McGill's libraries
My life in public libraries
4. Don't Read Aloud This Version of Alice in Wonderland
from The Standard
Actual E-book fine-print:
No text selections can be copied from this book to the clipboard.
No printing is permitted on this book.
This book cannot be lent or given to someone else.
This book cannot be given to someone else.
This book cannot be read aloud.
5. Writers, Artists, and their Copyright Holders (WATCH)
Search the WATCH file to find contact information for
the copyright holders of authors and artists whose works
can be found in libraries and archives across North
America and the United Kingdom. Useful for scholars
and researchers who may need to obtain permission to
publish works still protected by copyright. WATCH is
jointly produced by the Harry Ransom Humanities
Research Center at The University of Texas at Austin
and the University of Reading Library, Reading,
England. - shb
From Librarians' Index to the Internet - http://lii.org/
6. Neutrality, Objectivity, and the Political Center
A Library Juice editorial.
The discussion on "web evaluation" from the BI-L listserv that I
printed in last week's Library Juice got me thinking about an
irritating problem - the common confusion between neutrality,
objectivity, and the political center. It is a confusion that
affects our discourse about reference service, book selection,
bibliographic instruction, and our professional role as librarians.
First, Neutrality. The idea of neutrality springs from a truly
important value - to respect the minds of our patrons, to let them
think for themselves. However, it sometimes goes beyond this simple
recognition of the patron's autonomy and says that we can do something
undesirable: remove ourselves from our individual perspectives and
suspend our personal, and perhaps even professional, judgment about
information sources and information needs. While it is possible to
present a wide range of materials to a patron that includes opinions
that we personally disagree with, it is not possible to represent
these information sources entirely neutrally when we talk about them.
We characterize them in certain ways, however subtly, that reflect our
own feelings. This is inescapable. In collection development, too, we
cannot help but be influenced by our own opinions about what is most
important or credible, even though we can select materials that we
disagree with. Where we do not follow our own opinions, we follow
someone else's (which, sometimes, is appropriate). There is no
getting around having an opinion. And this leads to the most
unfortunate problem regarding the idea of neutrality in librarianship:
the belief by some librarians, in history and today, that the ethic of
neutrality should discourage us from taking positions on social
issues, either as a profession or as individuals. To be "neutral" on
social issues is simply to pretend not to exist. There is no escape
from our connection to the rest of society and our ultimate
involvement in every issue that affects it. There is nothing in the
demand to respect our patrons' right to think for themselves that
should preclude us from taking a stand where it matters. When we do
chose to be "neutral" on an issue, to pretend that we don't have an
opinion or that it doesn't count, we are effectively supporting the
existing balance of power. And that is, in effect, a significant
position to take, and one that ought to be justified explicitly if it
is to be chosen, and not hidden behind a phony ethic.
And then there is Objectivity. As the question of the possibility of
objectivity has been debated to death both near and far, I believe
certain things have become clear. It is possible to use standards for
what counts as objectivity that make objectivity impossible to
achieve. This accomplishes nothing but the loss of a good word. In
fact, we use the word "objectivity" all the time; the question is,
what does it stand for when it is used properly? What is objectivity?
Are we as librarians clear on its meaning? My feeling is that the
word is often misunderstood. Often, in instructional materials that
teach students how to evaluate information resources, the concept of
objectivity is often contrasted with "bias" or "advocacy." This is
incorrect. By this understanding, "objectivity" is often taken as a
reason to support mainstream information sources, because these
centrist sources are able to affect a tone of neutrality and balance
on contentious issues (as if neutrality and balance are the same as
objectivity). But these sources do represent a particular point of
view and particular interests, and "balance" is in the eye of the
beholder. One way that information sources affect an "unbiased" tone
is by not challenging the existing balance of power, and therefore not
giving the appearance of advocating anything. But the existing
balance of power does favor certain interests over others,
interests that are certainly advocated by such "unbiased" materials.
(Indeed, the existing balance of power is what it is in large part
because of the influence of these "objective" sources of information.)
The way that a debate is framed in an information source is an
important but often unrecognized aspect of rhetoric. The ability to
recognize the framing of a news story, for example, is part of what is
known as "media literacy," and should be an everyday part of
bibliographic instruction. For example, are the sources quoted mostly
industry and government sources and representatives of
industry-supported think-tanks? Are people from the community used as
sources? How are the different sources and their interests
characterized by the reporter? If we apply the principles of media
literacy to mainstream sources, they stop looking so objective. They
might appear neutral (in effect, supportive of existing power
structures), but this should not be confused with objectivity.
Objective information is simply information that is verifiable by any
other person with their sensory faculties intact. If you say I have a
blue aura, that is not objective information; it can't be verified.
If I say that the WTO, through a secretive, undemocratic process, is
rewriting the laws of sovereign states, including our own, and
getting rid of important environmental and labor laws and regulations
that were created through nominally democratic processes, that is
objective information. It can be verified by examining the WTO's
their internal rules, and their agreements and how they have been
enforced in courts of law around the world (all information which is
publically available). Objective information is what we can know to be
factually true. Now, depending on our point of view, we can use
different words when we talk about the objective facts. For example, I
might talk about an Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory, and
you might use other words to describe the situation (less justifiably,
in my opinion), even if we have access to the same objective, factual
information. Ultimately, we can't communicate about facts without
lending our own point of view to our representation. However,
objective information, if it is not falsified by its representation,
has a way of advocating for itself, as a result of calling into play
human values. What this means is that good opinions are founded on
objective information and objective information will lead authentic
beings to adopt opinions and act on them, according to their
understanding of their interests. Accordingly, we are making a mistake
if we regard information sources that express opinions as less than
objective. They may in fact be more objective, in any given instance,
than an information source that appears "unbiased" or "neutral;"
particularly if the existing balance of power requires misinformation
in order to be justified. (If you want examples of how the mainstream
media commonly propagates misinformation, or inaccurate
representations of fact, in the interest of existing powers, read some
of the articles on the website for Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting
and their quarterly magazine, _EXTRA!_, at http://www.fair.org/ . Two
books that do something similar for popular versions of American
History include _A People's History of the United States_ by Howard
Zinn, and _Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History
Textbook Got Wrong_, by James Loewen.)
[A side note: The popular notion of objectivity has been damaged by
the philosophical viewpoint known as "positivism" (which, until
recently, has been dominant in thinking about the human sciences),
and its historical antecedent, the Humean Empiricist tradition.
Positivism is now widely discredited. According to Positivism,
only statements that can be verified by science as either true or
false have an actual meaning, and such statements, known as
propositions, can never contain an attribution or judgment of value
(goodness, badness, right or wrong). Therefore, science, which is our
path to the truth, can only tell us what "is," never what "ought" to
be. It is because of positivism and the older, Humean tradition
(which was the source of the general disctinction between facts
and values) that statements that advocated anything are so often seen
as less than objective. In the current era of postmodernism and
hermeneutics, positivism and its consequences have been put to rest,
but only at the cost of discarding the tools we need to make truth
claims. One promising philosophical movement that claims to recover
these tools without the negative consequences of positivism, including
the fact/value distinction is known as Critical Realism. Critical
Realism is now being used effectively to support progressive and
radical ideas that postmodernism has left in the lurch, and it is
being applied in disciplines throughout the social sciences and
Finally, the Political Center. Of course, centrism isn't touted as a
professional value or consciously sought out in reference sources.
But having a bias toward the political center is often mistaken for
objectivity, and the effect of "neutrality," as it is usually
understood, is to support the interests of the political center, the
existing balance of power.
The political center exerts a strong attraction for those who prefer
not to think for themselves. There is an erroneous sense that the
truth is to be found at the average of what various people believe,
that the truth must be "somewhere in the middle." This comes partly
from a graphical representation of a political spectrum that ranges
from one side to another on a horizontal plane. But this is not
the most accurate representation of the political field. The
political field is the field of competing interests in society,
competing power interests. In a class-based society (such as any
mass society now in existence, in one way or another), a more accurate
representation of politics is vertical - the power elite at the top
(who claim the profits of the people's work determine what that work
will be) and the people further down (who create the profits but
don't see them or exert control over their own work or its uses). In a
nominally democratic society like ours, the people use politics to
have some control over what happens, and to improve their situation by
degrees without changing this basic state of affairs. The currently
existing, every shifting balance of power is what is commonly
understood as the "political center." It should not be mistaken for
objectivity, though it often is. And it should not be supported by our
interpretation of professional neutrality, as it often is. We should
understand objectivity as referring to whatever is verifiably true
apart from what anyone might believe, without an implication that to
be objective means to lack a point of view or an opinion. We should
certainly be on the lookout for that bias that says that centrist
ideas are more objective. We should respect the call for professional
neutrality insofar as it amounts to offering our patrons full respect
for their right to think for themselves, and we should be happy to
present to them with information sources that we disagree with
ourselves. We should not be unsatisfied if they reach conclusions
that are different from our own, as long as we have provided them with
good information and offered realistic, well-founded caveats. But
neutrality as it is often understood, meaning that in our professional
lives we will be absolutely uninfluenced by personal opinions, is
impossible. And where it is taken to mean that we should refrain from
taking positions on social issues either personally or as a
profession, the idea of neutrality is a definite evil, because it
supports the existing balance of power and does it invisibly.
Neutrality, objectivity, and centrism: commonly confused, in actuality
they exist in a dynamic relationship. Centrism is supported by
neutrality and masquerades as objectivity. In reality, what is
objective cannot be neutral, and for most people, if they knew what
was best for themselves and their communities, would not lead to
- Rory Litwin
7. SRRT's First Communique, March 13, 1969
SRRT members. The following is the First Communique of SRRT, from March 13,
1969, written by Bill DeJohn. I'm planning on republishing it in Library
Juice and would like your reflections, to be included in the same issue
(unless you specify otherwise).
What do you think about this document? Does SRRT remain true to its roots?
How has SRRT been effective or ineffective? What does it say about has
happened since the time when it was written? What does it bring to mind?
SRRT: First Communique, March 13, 1969 (ALA Archives. Reprinted in
_Activism in American Librarianship, 1962-1973_, edited by Mary Lee
Bundy and Frederick J. Stielow, Greenwood Press, 1987.)
READY FOR ACTION!
To all interested in the ALA Round Table on Social Responsibilities of
It is a pleasure to be able to send out the first "official" communication
from the Round Table on Social Responsibilities of Libraries. The Round
Table was established January 30, at ALA-Midwinter and an organizational
meeting was held the next day.
Committees were set up and are hard at work. The Program Committee has
arranged a program for ALA-Atlantic City. The Bylaws Committee plans to have
a report concerning the Round Table structure ready soon for discussion. The
Clearinghouse Committee is exploring ways to carry out its function and will
report before ALA. If the timing is right, you may receive the above reports
before Atlantic City - but we make no promises! A copy of the minutes of the
organizational meeting and program for ALA is attached to this memo.
Though the Round Table is official, it has no funds until the 1970 ALA
membership applications are mailed. Therefore, we are operating with
voluntary contributions obtained at Midwinter. Anyone wishing to contribute
toward expenses should send their contributions to the Organization Committee
Chairman. Make any checks payable to "Bill DeJohn, Chairman." Attempts are
also being made to secure funds from private sources.
We know you share with us a vote of thanks and appreciation to Dorothy
Bendix, Ken Duchac and the many others who worked long and hard to make this
Round Table a reality. We also wish to thank Bob Sheridan and his Committee
on Organization fo the hard work that went into collecting ALA Division
comments and recommending the establishment of this Round Table.
Anyone wishing copies of the New York Round Table presentation and
bibliography should contact us. We also have a limited supply of the
discussion held at a Round Table meeting in Philadelphia in September 1968.
So much for housekeeping details!
The Round Table, if it is to be effective in carrying out its charge, must
function as the "conscience of ALA" and as a pressure group within ALA. This
need not mean that only particular "issues" must be supported, but more
important, intellectual confrontations must take place within ALA in order to
define the role of the library in society.
Robert Haro's article, "Overdue," in February, 1969, Wilson Library Bulletin
(p. 561), comes along at an oppurtune time. Haro is asking if ALA is a
Library' association which "should serve the needs of libraries as
institutions and be responsive primarily to librarians or other people that
administer or are responsible for the services libraries offer." Or, on the
other hand, is ALA a librarian's association, "which should be preoccupied
with the problems of professional self-consciousness and competence, forming
a common bond between its membership, continuing education, the support of
research, the social responsibility of librarians, etc.?" Has ALA tried to
achieve both goals and succeeded only in the former? AL?A stands on the
threshold of becoming an organization of doers who can shape the course of
the future. All librarians must participate to the maximum if ALA is to move
forward. In turn, ALA must live up to its moral, professional, and
leadership responsibilities. Coordinated action is needed at both the local
and national levels. This can only come through ALA, as the single most
important institution in the profession.
Librarians must ask themselves just exactly what is their role in today's
society? Their quest should be led and supported by their professional
association. If the librarian's role is to become more dynamic and
meaningful, then the public must be informed on a large scale. Local
publicity is not enough.
Each library contains a powderkeg of information and ideas. What is done
with that powderkeg will determine the future of libraries and possibly
influence the course of society. If we haven't been getting information to
people who need it, if we haven't demonstrated the relevance and urgency of
information in society, then we must reexamine what we have been doing all
The ALA Round Table on Social Responsibilities of Libraries contains the
potential to initiate change within ALA. To say that we must not move too
rapidly avoids the necessity of getting started. To profess not to have
the answer lets us out of having any answer. We will find answers by
making decisions to go ahead with ideas, new and untraditional as they may
be. we must quit giving lip service to "total involvement in the community"
and get on with it!
We have not involved ourselves to any degree with other professions which are
concerned with changes in society. We should stop meeting only among
ourselves and get together with others to discuss what we can do toward
bettering the society we so live in.
Gerald Shields, editorializing in ALA Bulletin (December, 1969), stated that
this Round Table "is the catalyst for the renewal of membership involvement
wiht its association." He goes on to say that we now need "a growth in the
development of professional responsibility to ourselves and the changing
society we so eagerly want to serve."
If the Roung Taale is indeed to be a "catalyst," it better take its own
advice and begin to act! Our first statement of function is "to provide a
forum for the discussion of the responsibilities of libraries in relation to
the important problems of social change which face institutions and
Your comments and reactions to the above statement and previous discussion
would contribute to this forum and possibly assist us at Atlantic City to
determine what exactly is needed by the librarian on the firing line. Please
send us your comments. You have an opinion on ALA, on librarian involvement
in the community - EXPRESS IT!
Our second function is "to provide for exchange of information among all ALA
units about library activities with the goal of increasing understanding of
current social problems." The Clearinghouse Committee will carry out this
function, however, the "how" is still to be determined. I know we will need
members of the Committee spread across the states. Volunteers are welcome
and should send their names to Joan K. Marshall, Chariman, Clearinghouse
Committee, 1969 East 14th Street, Brooklyn, New York 11229. This Committee
will be responsible for gathering information on present and proposed
activities at the local level and disseminating it among interested
Our third function is "to act as a stimulus to the Association and its
various units in making libraries more responsive to current social needs."
John Gardner, in _No Easy Victories_, p. 42, has said that "professions are
subject to the same deadening forces that afflict all other human
institutions: an attachment to time-honored ways, reverence for established
procedures, a preoccupation with one's own vested interests, and an
excessively narrow definition of what is relevant and important." This is
what it's all about and the Round Table must act as the focus for
sonstructive criticism of the Association. We must prod, if necessary, to
initiate change in our profession. One last quote from Gardner (p. 49), "If
somekinds of change are bad, and some kinds good, how can we know one from
the other? The answer is that much of the time we can't Since we cannot
rearlly know what kinds of changes will prove useful, we must experiement.
Or to put it more realistically, those of us who are temperamentally fitted
for it must experiment, and the rest of us must tolerate it, even encourage
The Round Table is off and running. We hope that you will respond to these
statements whether you disagree or agree - dialogue must begin as soon as
Hopefully, many of you will look within your own library community, whether
regional, state, or local and begin to become socially involved.
Bill DeJohn, Chairman
ALA Roundtable on Social Responsibilities of Libraries
March 13, 1969
.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..
Date: Wed, 14 Feb 2001 14:19:06 -0700
From: TONI SAMEK <asamek[at]maildrop.srv.ualberta.ca>
To: SRRT Action Council <srrtac-l[at]ala.org>
I have one point that I'd like to make re the SRRT Communique:
In my opinion, the ALA establishment, to some extent, "made room" for SRRT
within the Association with repressive tolerance in mind. SRRT has never
escaped that legacy. The challenge for SRRT continues to be how to
navigate through, or around, the limits that repressive tolerance impose.
.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..
Date: Wed, 14 Feb 2001 15:23:03 -0600
From: Katia Roberto <kroberto[at]lib.siu.edu>
To: SRRT Action Council <srrtac-l[at]ala.org>
Maybe this is just my sleep deprivation talking, but I'm afraid I don't
really get what "repressive tolerance" is.
Do you think you could explain that concept in some more detail?
Katia Roberto (618) 453-3269
Special Collections Cataloger kroberto[at]lib.siu.edu
Southern Illinois University, Carbondale http://www.lis.uiuc.edu/~kroberto
Mail Code 6632/Carbondale, IL 62901
.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..
In answer to Katia's query re repressive tolerance:
In the late 1960s when SRRT was formed, for example, I mean that ALA's
development and expansion depended upon a dynamic relationship with other
groups and that the establishment strategically made compromises when faced
with calls for reform. The concessions, however, were made only up to a
point. When calls for social responsibility challenged ALA's vital
interests, such as preservation of the traditional role (e.g. neutrality)
and privileges of the profession (e.g. tax-exempt status) or of the
entrenched interests of the elite, ALA flexed its organizational muscle to
overcome the challenge. There were also controls that were not necessarily
intentional. For example, in the early 1970s, the ALA almost smothered
SRRT out with a plethora of overlapping round tables (intellectual
freedom,women, government documents, exhibits, etc.) The momentum of the
unfified SRRT effort suffered from the splintering of causes. Although
SRRT started as a think tank for social change, the focus of its agenda was
diffused through various layers of organizational bureaucracy. As early as
1969 Patricia Schuman wrote, "it seems unfortunate that we have been able
to function almost completely on our own for almost a year and must now be
so dependent on ALA's approval ... do we operate as an other cog in the
vast ALA machinery, or can we be vital, effective, free from red tape?" toni
.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..
Date: Wed, 14 Feb 2001 18:27:39 -0500
From: Mark Rosenzweig <iskra[at]earthlink.net>
To: SRRT Action Council <srrtac-l[at]ala.org>
Reply to: srrtac-l[at]ala.org
"Repressive tolerance" is a term coined by the critical social theorist and
philosopher Herbert Marcuse. It is used quite correctly by Toni Samek.
To explicate it further and in a more general sense I will quote Marcuse
himself in the 1968 Postscript to the 1965 essay actually entitled
"Repressive Tolerance": "Within the solid framework of pre-established
inequality and power, tolerance is indeed practiced. Even outrageous
opinions are expressed, outrageous incidents are televised; and the critics
of established policies are interrupted by the same number of commercials
as the conservative advocates. Are these interludes supposed to counteract
thje sheer weight, magnitude and continuity of system, publicity,
indoctrination which operates playfully through these endless commercials
as well as through the entertainment?"
He proposes, that is, that liberal tolerance, in its apparent indifference,
is actually the form of the tolerance of domination in advanced society.
Controversially, he recommended intolerance for everything which advanced
the " pervasive inequality of freedom (unequal opportunity of access to the
means of democratic persuasion) and [advocacy of] the strengthening of the
oppressed against the oppressor." Intolerance for the tolerance of
domination. The notion suggests that the liberal idea that there are "two
sides" to everything is false.
It has interesting implications for librarianship which were explored by my
colleague (and co-editor of Progressive Librarian) Henry Blanke several
MANY VOICES, ONE GOAL: notes towards a critique of the "One Voice"
policy for ALA
by Mark Rosenzweig, ALA Councilor at large
We recognize the concerns of the Executive of the ALA about the necessity
for presenting a strong, common front and public face in order to be
effective on matters of Association-wide concern. But we also have a need
to project an image of an Association which practices what it preaches:
there must be the highest degree of internal democracy and the rights of
freedom of expression in ALA.
An attempt to impose what can only be described as a
"democratic-centralist" organizational philosophy appropriate to a Leninist
party is inappropriate and unnecessary in an organization with our goals.
We believe there may be a misunderstanding about what effective unity
entails and what measures are appropriate or neccessary to achieve unity in
action at the levels at which that is meaningful. We wish to preserve the
pluralism and commitment to free expression which should be exemplified by
ALA, while helping to make the Association a stronger and more effective
organization. This is an attempt to suggest that the "one voice policy" is
not the way to proceed.
1)There is no disagreement that government/public policy issues on which
the Association has taken a position, which have been endorsed by Council
and where the issues which are in play regard pending/on-going legislation
or litigation, counterpositions on the same matters and criticism of the
position on these matters or of the conduct of the active bodies which, by
agreement with council or statutorily, are empowered to advance these
positions, should be intra-organizational, i.e. should proceed through the
various fora afforded by ALA rather than being directly addressed to the
public, the government, courts or similar bodies. It is conceded that
concurrent conflicting positions by bodies of the association expressed on
pending legislation or litigation advanced by the whole association is
counter-productive. This should be an ethical and practical imperative
rather than a legally enforced stipulation, and should be based on
self-policing rather than on the threat of sanctions. Nonetheless, it
should be explained clearly that this is highly undesirable and efforts
should be taken by parties involved to negotiate to assure that this does
not happen i.e. that opposed positions on association-wide issues at this
level not be presented.
2)There remains a wide range of matters, not covered by the above, where
there is, and should be, room for the expression of different, opposed, or
additional viewpoints on issues confronting the profession, or which
sub-units construe as confronting the profession, and where there is no
reason why positions and statements should not be expressed and distributed
both within and without the Association.
3)Sub-units, within their respective areas of concern, as established by
statute (statements of purpose), their accorded status, and/or historical
precedent of concern and action, should not have any restrictions placed on
their expression of overlapping, supplementary, critical or contrary points
of view on issues, in the venues and directed to the parties of their
choice, WHERE THIS DOES NOT DIRECTLY CONCERN A MATTER IN ACTIVE LEGISLATIVE
OR LEGAL REVIEW OF AN ASSOCIATION-WIDE, DEMOCRATICALLY DECIDED POLICY
POSITION, AS LONG AS THE POSITION, STATEMENT, DECLARATION, PETITION, etc.
DOES NOT CLAIM TO REPRESENT THE POSITION OF THE ASSOCIATION AS A WHOLE, AND
WHICH ITEM CLEARLY STATES THIS IN A MANNER DECIDED BY THE ASSOCIATION.
This means that any communication by a sub-unit of ALA must have a
disclaimer prominently displayed on all official presentations (letters,
e-mails, faxes, telegraphs) that this statement is the statement ONLY of
the unit issuing it.
3)That a third party may, either through ignorance or malice, misrepresent
a properly identified position of a sub-unit as the position of the entire
Association, is not reason to limit the rights to form and express and
freely make known opinions by sub-units. The answer to any such
misrepresentations lies in the fact that the responsible sub-unit has
clearly identified the opinion as that of the unit and not the Association
as a whole.
4) There is no more right to limit a sub-unit in its communications outside
the Association than there is for the ALA to forbid an individual who has
been elected to the ALA Council to so identify her/himself as such on a
public statement AS LONG AS said person explicitly states (and it is so
recorded) that the opinion expressed is her/his alone and that the title is
for identification purposes only. This happens all the time.
5) There is a long history and precedent for sub-units communicating their
positions both within and outside the association as part of their normal
mode of activity. GODORT and SRRT, for example, have, since their
inception, sent copies of their resolutions - and even direct appeals - to
outside parties, and have always made the provenance of the document or
pronouncemnt clear. The premise of this has not been challenged until the
attempt to promulgate a new policy of "speaking with one voice" has
recently been made and illegitimately passed off as a mere "interpretation"
of existing principles.
6)Indeed, SRRT, as an examination of its charter and history reveal, exists
precisely to put forward positions on issues considered to be of concern to
the profession which are NOT likely to have been represented by other
units or the Association as a whole, except in those instances where SRRT
resolutions are able to be passed by Council. SRRT has never limited its
concern to influencing Council, in attempts to pass resolutions. Many
resolutions of SRRT are not, and have not been throughout its history,
passed with the purpose of being brought to Council for consideration. SRRT
passes resolutions, as is proper, in its own name, clearly identifies them
as such and makes them public. There has been no legal action initiated
against ALA which has resulted from this practice; there is no reason to
believe it jeopardizes the tax-exempt status of the ALA since SRRT clearly
acknowledges its obligtaion to comply with the stipulations of the 501(c)3
provisions under which ALA operates, and does not engage in endorsing
political candidates, or in campaigning for any parties or candidates or in
7)As far as the making public of SRRT's independent positions is
concerned, there is no difference between their being published in the SRRT
Newsletter, American Libraries, Library Journal on the one hand and the New
York Times on the other; no difference between addressing a petition to the
President of ACRL or the President of the United States. Public is public,
and the positions, determined in open meetings by pre-established
democratic procedures by recognized units of the Association, are public.
The further publication of these position, their being brought to the
attention of particular parties, in no way changes their essentially valid,
public character. The wisdom of making these statements public in certain
ways or to certain persons or groups is a matter of debate and discretion,
but prior censorship cannot be accepted as a means of restricting the
provision of information (a position so at odds with librarianship's
philosophy) about the decisions taken by a legitimate sub-unit of the
8) With the unveiling of the new so-called "branding" campaign, with the
uniform logo of "...@ your library" being trade-marked by ALA, the initial
impression was that this "brand" identity would enhance ALA's public
presence. The "one voice" policy was presented as consistent with this
attempt at branding. Now we know that the "...[at]at your library" logo is
going to be used, leased, by corporate sponsors, like 3M or Microsoft, as
in (3M@your library) and that this is apparently considered one of its
principal usages. The fact that diverse corporations will now use our logo
to advance their image and marketing goals doesn't seemto violate the
"speaking with one voice" policy . In this light the "one voice" policy
then appears as what it is: ALA speaks with the one voice of corporate
America. All other voices, as increasingly in most other spheres, will be
drowned out by that.
9. National Writers Union site for the Tasini case
Dear NWU Member:
We have the hottest site for everything you wanted to know about the
landmark electronic rights lawsuit that is now going to be heard by
the U.S. Supreme Court (oral argument is March 28th). If the Supreme
Court upholds the Appeals Court decision we won in September 1999, it
will profoundly effect the livelihood of creators for years to come.
As a resource, we have posted all the Supreme Court legal briefs on
our website--both sides main briefs and amici, as well as the fabulous
pro-author position of the U.S. Copyright Office (it's easy to read
and you will understand the issues). Please visit:
See also an electronic column entitled "The Hypocrisy of The New York
Times" at: http://www.nwu.org/tvt/schypoc.htm
You can also also find extensive background to the case on the site.
Please visit: http://www.nwu.org/tvt/tvthome.htm
And, finally, we have a special message for writers:
And a lot more other news on the site! As always, many thanks to our
webmaster, Bruce Hartford, for keeping the site current!
NATIONAL WRITERS UNION, UAW Local 1981
113 University Place, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10003-4527
Ph: 212-254-0279 / Fx: 212-254-0673
10. ACRL's InPrint
ANNOUNCING ACRL'S FIRST E-PUBLICATION: InPrint: Publishing Opportunities for
If you're looking for relevant information about what journals might
be interested in an idea you have or you want to encourage your staff to
publish more, the Research for College Librarianship Committee (RCLC) of the
College Libraries Section of ACRL has just what you need: InPrint:
Publishing Opportunities for College Librarians.
The benefit of InPrint is that it allows great flexibility in
reviewing and selecting journals in which to publish. Not only do the
descriptions of titles include e-mail links to editors, but a searcher can
specify that s/he wants only titles that are refereed, that have an
acceptance rate of better than 50 percent, that require fewer than 20 pages,
and that have editors who will respond to writers in less than two months.
Launched in early January 2001, InPrint is available at
http://acrl.telusys.net/epubs/ for $35 ($25 for ACRL members). The cost
includes access to data for two years and RCLC members will be reviewing and
updating entries every six months. Titles included will interest all
academic librarians and cover the fields of library and information science,
higher education, computer technology, and college teaching in specific
By publicizing editors who are willing to discuss ideas and in some
cases to mentor writers and researchers and by targeting useful
publications, RCLC members hope to make it easier for academic librarians to
contribute to the literature.
Dr. Alice Harrison Bahr
11. The Simpsons Archive - http://www.snpp.com/
A "repository of continuously updated information on the
Fox animated series, 'The Simpsons.'" Includes detailed
episode summaries, scheduling info, FAQs and trivia,
spoilers, character guides, articles, interviews,
bibliographies, and more, organized in an
easy-to-navigate format. This site also hosts a mailing
list (Simpsons-L), an online news area, and links to
Simpsons Web sites from fans worldwide. See also the
official site from Fox. - shb
From Librarians' Index to the Internet - http://lii.org/
L I B R A R Y J U I C E
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