"Repudiation by ALA," Library Journal 65: 599 (July, 1940)
During the A.L.A. conference held at Cincinnati in May, the Progressive Librarians Council sent the following communication to President Roosevelt which was subsequently endorsed by the Library Unions Round Table and, in part, by the Staff Organizaitons Round Table: "Alarmed by the rapid drift of this country toward involvement in the European war, we librarians, assembled at the sixty-second annual conference of the American Library Association in Cincinnati, May 26 to June 1, respectfully urge you to keep this country at peace." "We believe that if we Americans are to save western civilization, our first duty towards mankind is to remain at peace, to preserve and improve our standard of living, and to maintain the civil liberties with which libraries are so greatly concerned." "We believe that our grave unemployment problem will best be solved by increasing opportunities for peaceful employment rather than by employing our people to produce materials which can only mean further destruction." "We urge you, therefore, to keep America out of war and to protect the cultural achievements and civil liberties of the American people by ending loans and credits to warring nations and by solving our domestic problems constructively." When this communication came to the attention of the Executive Board on June 1, the right of the Progressive Librarians Council to speak for itself was not questioned, but the Board unanimously condemned the misleading first sentence of the communication which might be interpreted to mean that the A.L.A. itself had taken action. Accordingly, a telegram was sent to President Roosevelt by the President and Executive Secretary of the A.L.A. explaining that the communication sent to him by the Progressive Librarians Council advocating peace at any price represented the opinion of a very small group, not a part of the American Library Association, and with no authority whatever to speak for the librarians of the United States on this or any other subject. It was also pointed out to the President that if the opinions of the 17,000 members of the Association were to vote on the question presented by the Progressive Librarians Council they would overwhelmingly oppose any such communication.
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