Philosophy/Principles

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The Cluetrain Manifesto: New Clues

By | 2017-11-27T01:54:14+00:00 November 27th, 2017|Categories: Philosophy/Principles, Technology|

From Wikipedia:

The Cluetrain Manifesto was written and first posted to the Web in March 1999 by Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls, and David Weinberger. A revised and extended version of the text appeared as a book under the title The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business as Usual in 2000.

In its central thesis that “markets are conversations”, the work asserts that the Internet is unlike conventional media used in mass marketing as it enables conversations amongst consumers and between consumers and companies, which are claimed to transform traditional business practices. Technologies listed in the printed publication as conduits of such conversations include email, news groups, mailing lists, chat, and web pages. More recent technologies (such as blogs and wikis) are not mentioned.

In its form, the work alludes to Martin Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses, a central text of the Protestant Reformation.

The work asserts that the term “cluetrain” stems from an anonymous source speaking about their former corporate employer: “The clue train stopped there four times a day for ten years and they never took delivery.”

The Cluetrain Manifesto was re-published as an extended 10th Anniversary Edition in 2010. In 2015, two of the authors, Doc Searls and David Weinberger, posted New Clues, a follow-up to the work.

About the New Clues
From: http://newclues.cluetrain.com
January 8, 2015
David Weinberger
david@weinberger.org
Doc Searls
doc@searls.com

In 1999, most of the media saw the Web as a new way of publishing, and businesses saw it as a new way to sell us stuff. Meanwhile, the rest of us were getting to know one another, were inventing things, and were having a party.

Four of us got so annoyed by the insistence on misunderstanding the Net that we tried to spell it out in 95 theses that we posted as the Cluetrain Manifesto.

“We are not seats or eyeballs or end users or consumers. We are human beings – and our reach exceeds your grasp.”

That Manifesto had four authors: Doc Searls and David Weinberger who wrote these new clues, and Christopher Locke and Rick Levine. We four also wrote a book called The Cluetrain Manifesto that became a business best-seller. You can read the entire original book (as opposed to the currently available Tenth Anniversary edition that includes copious later reflections) online for free.

Chris writes and cogitates in Boulder. Rick and his brother have Kickstarted a very cool sock company, XOAB.

Doc and David have independently written a number of books (Doc | David) about the Internet. They have also been fellows at the Harvard Berkman Center for Internet & Society where Doc continues to instigate ProjectVRM parade, and David is a senior researcher. Until recently, David co-directed the Harvard Library Innovation Lab. In Feb. 2015, he’ll be a fellow at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy, and will be teaching at Emerson College. Both Doc and David have families, lives, etc., and like long walks on the beach and snuggling under blankets on chilly evenings. We welcome your comments.

 The Cluetrain Manifesto: New Clues (Jan. 8, 2015)

Once were we young in the Garden…

  1. The Internet is us, connected.
    1. The Internet is not made of copper wire, glass fiber, radio waves, or even tubes.
    2. The devices we use to connect to the Internet are not the Internet.
    3. Verizon, Comcast, AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, and 中国电信 do not own the Internet. Facebook, Google, and Amazon are not the Net’s monarchs, nor yet are their minions or algorithms. Not the governments of the Earth nor their Trade Associations have the consent of the networked to bestride the Net as sovereigns.
    4. We hold the Internet in common and as unowned.
    5. From us and from what we have built on it does the Internet derive all its value.
    6. The Net is of us, by us, and for us.
    7. The Internet is ours.
  2. The Internet is nothing and has no purpose.
    1. The Internet is not a thing any more than gravity is a thing. Both pull us together.
    2. The Internet is no-thing at all. At its base the Internet is a set of agreements, which the geeky among us (long may their names be hallowed) call “protocols,” but which we might, in the temper of the day, call “commandments.”
    3. The first among these is: Thy network shall move all packets closer to their destinations without favor or delay based on origin, source, content, or intent.
    4. Thus does this First Commandment lay open the Internet to every idea, application, business, quest, vice, and whatever.
    5. There has not been a tool with such a general purpose since language.
    6. This means the Internet is not for anything in particular. Not for social networking, not for documents, not for advertising, not for business, not for education, not for porn, not for anything. It is specifically designed for everything.
    7. Optimizing the Internet for one purpose de-optimizes it for all others
    8. The Internet like gravity is indiscriminate in its attraction. It pulls us all together, the virtuous and the wicked alike.
  3. The Net is not content.
    1. There is great content on the Internet. But holy mother of cheeses, the Internet is not made out of content.
    2. A teenager’s first poem, the blissful release of a long-kept secret, a fine sketch drawn by a palsied hand, a blog post in a regime that hates the sound of its people’s voices — none of these people sat down to write content.
    3. Did we use the word “content” without quotes? We feel so dirty.
  4. The Net is not a medium.
    1. The Net is not a medium any more than a conversation is a medium.
    2. On the Net, we are the medium. We are the ones who move messages. We do so every time we post or retweet, send a link in an email, or post it on a social network.
    3. Unlike a medium, you and I leave our fingerprints, and sometimes bite marks, on the messages we pass. We tell people why we’re sending it. We argue with it. We add a joke. We chop off the part we don’t like. We make these messages our own.
    4. Every time we move a message through the Net, it carries a little bit of ourselves with it.
    5. We only move a message through this “medium” if it matters to us in one of the infinite ways that humans care about something.
    6. Caring — mattering — is the motive force of the Internet.
  5. The Web is a Wide World.
    1. In 1991, Tim Berners-Lee used the Net to create a gift he gave freely to us all: the World Wide Web. Thank you.
    2. Tim created the Web by providing protocols (there’s that word again!) that say how to write a page that can link to any other page without needing anyone’s permission.
    3. Boom. Within ten years we had billions of pages on the Web — a combined effort on the order of a World War, and yet so benign that the biggest complaint was the <blink> tag.
    4. The Web is an impossibly large, semi-persistent realm of items discoverable in their dense inter-connections.
    5. That sounds familiar. Oh, yeah, that’s what the world is.
    6. Unlike the real world, every thing and every connection on the Web was created by some one of us expressing an interest and an assumption about how those small pieces go together.
    7. Every link by a person with something to say is an act of generosity and selflessness, bidding our readers leave our page to see how the world looks to someone else.
    8. The Web remakes the world in our collective, emergent image.

But oh how we have strayed, sisters and brothers…

  1. How did we let conversation get weaponized, anyway?
    1. It’s important to notice and cherish the talk, the friendship, the thousand acts of sympathy, kindness, and joy we encounter on the Internet.
    2. And yet we hear the words “fag” and “nigger” far more on the Net than off.
    3. Demonization of ‘them’ — people with looks, languages, opinions, memberships and other groupings we don’t understand, like, or tolerate — is worse than ever on the Internet.
    4. Women in Saudi Arabia can’t drive? Meanwhile, half of us can’t speak on the Net without looking over our shoulders
    5. Hatred is present on the Net because it’s present in the world, but the Net makes it easier to express and to hear.
    6. The solution: If we had a solution, we wouldn’t be bothering you with all these damn clues.
    7. We can say this much: Hatred didn’t call the Net into being, but it’s holding the Net — and us — back.
    8. Let’s at least acknowledge that the Net has values implicit in it. Human values.
    9. Viewed coldly the Net is just technology. But it’s populated by creatures who are warm with what they care about: their lives, their friends, the world we share.
    10. The Net offers us a common place where we can be who we are, with others who delight in our differences.
    11. No one owns that place. Everybody can use it. Anyone can improve it.
    12. That’s what an open Internet is. Wars have been fought for less.
  2. “We agree about everything. I find you fascinating!”
    1. The world is spread out before us like a buffet, and yet we stick with our steak and potatoes, lamb and hummus, fish and rice, or whatever.
    2. We do this in part because conversation requires a common ground: shared language, interests, norms, understandings. Without those, it’s hard or even impossible to have a conversation.
    3. Shared grounds spawn tribes. The Earth’s solid ground kept tribes at a distance, enabling them to develop rich differences. Rejoice! Tribes give rise to Us vs. Them and war. Rejoice? Not so much.
    4. On the Internet, the distance between tribes starts at zero.
    5. Apparently knowing how to find one another interesting is not as easy as it looks.
    6. That’s a challenge we can meet by being open, sympathetic, and patient. We can do it, team! We’re #1! We’re #1!
    7. Being welcoming: There’s a value the Net needs to learn from the best of our real world cultures.
  3. Marketing still makes it harder to talk.
    1. We were right the first time: Markets are conversations.
    2. A conversation isn’t your business tugging at our sleeve to shill a product we don’t want to hear about.
    3. If we want to know the truth about your products, we’ll find out from one another.
    4. We understand that these conversations are incredibly valuable to you. Too bad. They’re ours.
    5. You’re welcome to join our conversation, but only if you tell us who you work for, and if you can speak for yourself and as yourself.
    6. Every time you call us “consumers” we feel like cows looking up the word “meat.”
    7. Quit fracking our lives to extract data that’s none of your business and that your machines misinterpret.
    8. Don’t worry: we’ll tell you when we’re in the market for something. In our own way. Not yours. Trust us: this will be good for you.
    9. Ads that sound human but come from your marketing department’s irritable bowels, stain the fabric of the Web.
    10. When personalizing something is creepy, it’s a pretty good indication that you don’t understand what it means to be a person.
    11. Personal is human. Personalized isn’t.
    12. The more machines sound human, the more they slide down into the uncanny valley where everything is a creep show.
    13. Also: Please stop dressing up ads as news in the hope we’ll miss the little disclaimer hanging off their underwear.
    14. When you place a “native ad,” you’re eroding not just your own trustworthiness, but the trustworthiness of this entire new way of being with one another.
    15. And, by the way, how about calling “native ads” by any of their real names: “product placement,” “advertorial,” or “fake fucking news”?
    16. Advertisers got along without being creepy for generations. They can get along without being creepy on the Net, too.
  4. The Gitmo of the Net.
    1. We all love our shiny apps, even when they’re sealed as tight as a Moon base. But put all the closed apps in the world together and you have a pile of apps.
    2. Put all the Web pages together and you have a new world.
    3. Web pages are about connecting. Apps are about control.
    4. As we move from the Web to an app-based world, we lose the commons we were building together.
    5. In the Kingdom of Apps, we are users, not makers.
    6. Every new page makes the Web bigger. Every new link makes the Web richer.
    7. Every new app gives us something else to do on the bus.
    8. Ouch, a cheap shot!
    9. Hey, “CheapShot” would make a great new app! It’s got “in-app purchase” written all over it.
  5. Gravity’s great until it sucks us all into a black hole.
    1. Non-neutral applications built on top of the neutral Net are becoming as inescapable as the pull of a black hole.
    2. If Facebook is your experience of the Net, then you’ve strapped on goggles from a company with a fiduciary responsibility to keep you from ever taking the goggles off.
    3. Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple are all in the goggles business. The biggest truth their goggles obscure: These companies want to hold us the way black holes hold light.
    4. These corporate singularities are dangerous not because they are evil. Many of them in fact engage in quite remarkably civic behavior. They should be applauded for that.
    5. But they benefit from the gravity of sociality: The “network effect” is that thing where lots of people use something because lots of people use it.
    6. Where there aren’t competitive alternatives, we need to be hypervigilant to remind these Titans of the Valley of the webby values that first inspired them.
    7. And then we need to honor the sound we make when any of us bravely pulls away from them. It’s something between the noise of a rocket leaving the launchpad and the rip of Velcro as you undo a too-tight garment.
  6. Privacy in an age of spies.
    1. Ok, government, you win. You’ve got our data. Now, what can we do to make sure you use it against Them and not against Us? In fact, can you tell the difference?
    2. If we want our government to back off, the deal has to be that if — when — the next attack comes, we can’t complain that they should have surveilled us harder.
    3. A trade isn’t fair trade if we don’t know what we’re giving up. Do you hear that, Security for Privacy trade-off?
    4. With a probability approaching absolute certainty, we are going to be sorry we didn’t do more to keep data out of the hands of our governments and corporate overlords.
  7. Privacy in an age of weasels.
    1. Personal privacy is fine for those who want it. And we all draw the line somewhere.
    2. Q: How long do you think it took for pre-Web culture to figure out where to draw the lines? A: How old is culture?
    3. The Web is barely out of its teens. We are at the beginning, not the end, of the privacy story.
    4. We can only figure out what it means to be private once we figure out what it means to be social. And we’ve barely begun to re-invent that.
    5. The economic and political incentives to de-pants and up-skirt us are so strong that we’d be wise to invest in tinfoil underwear.
    6. Hackers got us into this and hackers will have to get us out.

To build and to plant

  1. Kumbiyah sounds surprisingly good in an echo chamber.
    1. The Internet is astounding. The Web is awesome. You are beautiful. Connect us all and we are more crazily amazing than Jennifer Lawrence. These are simple facts.
    2. So let’s not minimize what the Net has done in the past twenty years:
    3. There’s so much more music in the world.
    4. We now make most of our culture for ourselves, with occasional forays to a movie theater for something blowy-uppy and a $9 nickel-bag of popcorn.
    5. Politicians now have to explain their positions far beyond the one-page “position papers” they used to mimeograph.
    6. Anything you don’t understand you can find an explanation for. And a discussion about. And an argument over. Is it not clear how awesome that is?
    7. You want to know what to buy? The business that makes an object of desire is now the worst source of information about it. The best source is all of us.
    8. You want to listen in on a college-level course about something you’re interested in? Google your topic. Take your pick. For free.
    9. Yeah, the Internet hasn’t solved all the world’s problems. That’s why the Almighty hath given us asses: that we might get off of them.
    10. Internet naysayers keep us honest. We just like ‘em better when they aren’t ingrates.
  2. A pocket full of homilies.
    1. We were going to tell you how to fix the Internet in four easy steps, but the only one we could remember is the last one: profit. So instead, here are some random thoughts…
    2. We should be supporting the artists and creators who bring us delight or ease our burdens.
    3. We should have the courage to ask for the help we need.
    4. We have a culture that defaults to sharing and laws that default to copyright. Copyright has its place, but when in doubt, open it up
    5. In the wrong context, everyone’s an a-hole. (Us, too. But you already knew that.) So if you’re inviting people over for a swim, post the rules. All trolls, out of the pool!
    6. If the conversations at your site are going badly, it’s your fault.
    7. Wherever the conversation is happening, no one owes you a response, no matter how reasonable your argument or how winning your smile.
    8. Support the businesses that truly “get” the Web. You’ll recognize them not just because they sound like us, but because they’re on our side.
    9. Sure, apps offer a nice experience. But the Web is about links that constantly reach out, connecting us without end. For lives and ideas, completion is death. Choose life.
    10. Anger is a license to be stupid. The Internet’s streets are already crowded with licensed drivers.
    11. Live the values you want the Internet to promote.
    12. If you’ve been talking for a while, shut up. (We will very soon.)
  3. Being together: the cause of and solution to every problem.
    1. If we have focused on the role of the People of the Net — you and us — in the Internet’s fall from grace, that’s because we still have the faith we came in with.
    2. We, the People of the Net, cannot fathom how much we can do together because we are far from finished inventing how to be together.
    3. The Internet has liberated an ancient force — the gravity drawing us together.
    4. The gravity of connection is love.
    5. Long live the open Internet.
    6. Long may we have our Internet to love.

This is an Open Source document.

These New Clues are designed to be shared and re-used without our permission. Use them however you want. Make them your own. We only request that you please point back at this original page ( http://cluetrain.com/newclues/ ) because that’s just polite.

If you are a developer, the text of this page is openly available at GitHub for programmatic re-use. Details here.

To make it as easy as possible to share, use, and re-use the clues, we have put all the text on this page into the public domain via a Creative Commons 0 license. It is essentially copyright free.

The photograph at the top of the armadillo and the bike was posted at Flickr by e. res under a Creative Commons BY 2.0 license that lets anyone use it so long as they attribute it to him and share it with others. (We edited it to make it work better with this page. Nice snap, though, e. res!)

http://newclues.cluetrain.com/

 

Article: 50 Years of Intellectual Freedom (ALA, 2017)

By | 2017-11-11T03:38:41+00:00 November 11th, 2017|Categories: Library Truths, Philosophy/Principles|

50 Years of Intellectual Freedom
The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom celebrates its history
November 1, 2017

Extract: “When you need the Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF), you need it now. Many mornings in the office at the American Library Association (ALA) headquarters in Chicago begin with a panicked call or email: A school principal yanked a book from the shelf. People are protesting outside the library against a speaker. A board member objects to a display. A national coalition targets a database.

This December, OIF is celebrating 50 years of fighting for intellectual freedom: half a century of championing ­libraries, finding allies within the literary community, and aiding librarians in times of high anxiety. It’s an evolving role to be cherished and safeguarded.

At the 1965 Midwinter Meeting preconference in Washington, D.C., the Intellectual Freedom Committee (IFC) recommended an ALA unit be established to “promote and protect the interests of intellectual freedom.” Among its interim objectives was to create “positive mechanisms” that could defend intellectual freedom, collaborate with state intellectual freedom committees, and establish relationships with other First Amendment groups.

Expectations for the new office were high, but they also allowed for creativity and experimentation. To get the project off the ground and establish it as the voice of intellectual freedom in libraries, ALA needed a headstrong, daring leader, one who could persuade would-be censors and find allies within the literary community. It was Judith Krug—a 27-year-old reference librarian from Evanston, Illinois—who would not only transform OIF from an unsettled two-person team into a thriving office, but also completely alter the landscape of intellectual freedom for the better.

Fifty years since its founding on December 1, 1967, OIF remains an indispensable resource for librarians. It has had only three directors, each bringing a new vision to the office: Judith Krug, Barbara Jones, and, currently, James LaRue. When LaRue first arrived at ALA in 2016, he delineated three distinct roles for OIF.

Case support. OIF is there for library workers and governing authorities who face challenges to their services.

Thought leadership. Intellectual freedom, whether viewed as the fight against censorship or the impassioned defense of the right to question, is a fundamental library value. OIF carries the free speech torch in publications, webinars, workshops, and keynotes. It also works with intellectual freedom allies, such as the Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF) and the Media Coalition, particularly in the area of litigation. OIF has played a key role in landmark decisions involving libraries and the internet, as well as patron privacy. See Ashcroft v. American Civil Liberties Union (2002), which ruled the Child Online Protection Act unconstitutional, and United States v. American Library Association (2003), which required schools and libraries receiving E-Rate discounts to install web filtering software.

Leadership development. Intellectual freedom needs a cadre of informed and skilled advocates. Those skills are developed and deployed through such ALA units as IFC, Committee on Professional Ethics, and Intellectual Freedom Round Table.
Case support

Case Support: A mere two years after its founding, OIF was receiving 250 communications each month, half of them requests for assistance. Krug’s desk became littered with piles of paperwork and case files. Although paper communication still floats around the office today, censorship incidents are now documented in a database, which tracks both challenges and the follow-up case support OIF provides. And instead of phone calls and letters—although those are still welcomed—the OIF website hosts a censorship reporting form, which allows staff members to efficiently reach out to librarians and provide next steps. In response to the spike in hate crimes in libraries after the November 2016 presidential election, the form now offers a category to report incidents of hate-based graffiti, property damage, and intimidation in libraries.

OIF provides much of the same support it has since its beginning. OIF staffers write statements of support, locate people to speak at local school board meetings, gather book reviews and library policies, consult legal authorities, and visit communities.
Shifting targets

Evolving societal values and the political landscape frequently shift the targets of challenged materials. In the 1970s, when the Watergate scandal shattered the illusion of trust between the government and its citizens, people turned their attention to local government institutions that they could control: schools and libraries.

“ In 2014, America was, for the first time, a majority nonwhite nation for children under age 5, according to the US Census Bureau estimates. In a Virginia high school, Toni Morrison’s Beloved was challenged because of “graphic sex,” but OIF Assistant Director Kristin Pekoll contends that race is a significant reason why the classic was threatened with censorship.

“There are so many issues in her novel that people are uncomfortable with,” said Pekoll, who is usually the first staff person educators talk to when facing a challenge. “It’s easier and less embarrassing to say ‘graphic sex.’”

On college campuses, the “right not to be offended” is causing concern. “Now we are seeing a regrettable move toward censoring speech that offends,” said Judith Platt, the recently retired director of Free Expression Advocacy for the Association of American Publishers (AAP). Recent speaker disinvitations have taken place at DePaul University, Virginia Tech, and University of California, Berkeley.
Thought leadership

OIF has several publications that educate the public about censorship. The Intellectual Freedom Manual, first published in 1974, combines all interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights, the core document for the library professional. Frequent requests for up-to-date banned book information inspired Doyle and Krug to create a resource guide on censorship. What started as scribbles on index cards evolved into a 308-page tenth edition in 2017, complete with timelines and tweetable quotes. The office also carries on its 50-year tradition of distributing Freedom to Read and Library Bill of Rights statements.

Each OIF leader brought different allies to the intellectual freedom discussion. Krug worked on national alliances, initiating coalitions that coordinated efforts between booksellers, publishers, lawyers, and editors to defend the First Amendment. She also founded FTRF, a separate 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that focuses on litigation and public education.

“Krug provided a platform to take actions that the Association isn’t willing to make, or can’t make,” said Doyle, referring to FTRF. “She invited diverse people to the table … who are thoughtful.”
The Speaker

Krug transformed the image of librarians from quiet, behind-the-desk researchers to fierce “gatekeepers of the marketplace of ideas.” This notion was put to the test with OIF’s production of The Speaker, a film that divides ALA membership today.

The Speaker is set in a high school that invites a professor to explain the “theory of genetic inferiority” of African Americans, sparking backlash from the community and principal. OIF, IFC, and the AAP Freedom to Read Committee wanted to screen the 42-minute film at the 1977 ALA Annual Conference in Detroit and distribute it to schools, libraries, and governing boards.

Before the film premiered, there was a sense of uneasiness about its future. In 1976, AAP pulled out of the project. When the ALA Executive Board previewed the film, it voted to delay its premiere date in Detroit but quickly reversed its decision.

Despite the initial reactions, the film was shown at the conference. During the 45-minute discussion that followed the applause and hisses at the rolling end credits, some attendees argued that ALA should disassociate itself with the film. ALA Council voted against the proposal, a decision that triggered tension between free speech and social justice advocates.

Then–ALA Executive Director Robert Wedgeworth told American Libraries that there was a lot of pressure on him to fire Krug. Unsurprisingly, Krug stuck by The Speaker. In the accompanying discussion guide for the film, Krug and IFC Chair Florence McMullin wrote that they were proud of a project that addresses a sensitive topic: the toleration of ideas we find offensive.

“It’s an issue that hasn’t gone away,” said Doyle. “I think Krug and others thought that the issue would stand the test of time.” Jones revived The Speaker at the 2014 ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas, with an accompanying panel program cosponsored by the Black Caucus of the ALA and the Library History Round Table.

One of the most successful campaigns by both OIF and the publishing community is Banned Books Week. The celebration was launched in the 1980s, a time of increased challenges, organized protests, and the Island Trees School District v. Pico (1982) Supreme Court case, which ruled that school officials can’t ban books in libraries simply because of their content.

Banned books were showcased at the 1982 American Booksellers Association (ABA) BookExpo America trade show in Anaheim, California. At the entrance to the convention center towered large, padlocked metal cages, with some 500 challenged books stacked inside and a large overhead sign cautioning that some people considered these books dangerous.

ALA is currently part of a national coalition to promote Banned Books Week, along with 13 other contributors and sponsors. OIF chooses its own theme each year for the initiative; this year’s theme is “Words Have Power,” to celebrate the power of readers to stand up to censorship and the power of banned books to create literary communities. Krug led the Banned Books Week efforts as OIF director until her unexpected death in 2009. Her legacy lives on in the Freedom to Read Foundation’s Judith F. Krug Memorial Fund, a grant awarded to nonprofits to host Banned Books Week events.

Another successful OIF initiative is Choose Privacy Week. Held annually May 1–7, the initiative encourages libraries to be champions of privacy rights in the digital age by highlighting tools they can use to protect the privacy of their patrons.
Team ALA

“OIF was seen as the North Star,” said Jones. “When I was there, the US was post–Patriot Act. Librarians would come up to me at international meetings and say, ‘The US cannot fail at this. You can’t fail. We look to you to argue to our governments that we need the freedom to read.’”

OIF consists of five staff members who operate on an annual budget of about $500,000. The office is supported by a vibrant community of Association leaders, guest bloggers, and front-line librarians who speak out in publications, library board meetings, and courtrooms when First Amendment rights are challenged.

Leadership development begins with awareness. All librarians, staff, trustees, and interested parties can subscribe to the Intellectual Freedom Blog and receive a free e-newsletter on intellectual freedom.

LaRue contends that intellectual freedom is not the absence of dissent; success is not measured by silence. “Like every deep value,” he says, “intellectual freedom must be poked, tested, and reapplied to the circumstances of each generation.”

As Krug once said, “It is our responsibility and indeed our privilege to stand on the First Amendment, to challenge censorship, to keep the light of liberty alive and by doing so, to push back a new dark age.”

ELEANOR DIAZ is a program officer with the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom. JAMES LARUE is director of the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom and the Freedom to Read Foundation.

Full article here.

Libraries: An American Value (Principles, 1999)

By | 2017-11-03T02:29:10+00:00 November 3rd, 2017|Categories: Library Truths, Philosophy/Principles|

Libraries in America are cornerstones of the communities they serve. Free access to the books, ideas, resources, and information in America’s libraries is imperative for education, employment, enjoyment, and self-government.

Libraries are a legacy to each generation, offering the heritage of the past and the promise of the future. To ensure that libraries flourish and have the freedom to promote and protect the public good in the 21st century, we believe certain principles must be guaranteed.

To that end, we affirm this contract with the people we serve:

  • We defend the constitutional rights of all individuals, including children and teenagers, to use the library’s resources and services;
  • We value our nation’s diversity and strive to reflect that diversity by providing a full spectrum of resources and services to the communities we serve;
  • We affirm the responsibility and the right of all parents and guardians to guide their own children’s use of the library and its resources and services;
  • We connect people and ideas by helping each person select from and effectively use the library’s resources;
  • We protect each individual’s privacy and confidentiality in the use of library resources and services;
  • We protect the rights of individuals to express their opinions about library resources and services;
  • We celebrate and preserve our democratic society by making available the widest possible range of viewpoints, opinions and ideas, so that all individuals have the opportunity to become lifelong learners – informed, literate, educated, and culturally enriched.

Change is constant, but these principles transcend change and endure in a dynamic technological, social, and political environment.

By embracing these principles, libraries in the United States can contribute to a future that values and protects freedom of speech in a world that celebrates both our similarities and our differences, respects individuals and their beliefs, and holds all persons truly equal and free.

Adopted February 3, 1999, by the
Council of the American Library Association

 

Preserving Our Values
Libraries as social change agents
May 31, 2016

In 1999, the American Library Association (ALA) Council adopted the statement “Libraries: An American Value.” The principles in that document, in the Library Bill of Rights, and in our mission all speak to the importance of libraries as agents of change and protectors of our heritage. These books speak to those principles.

The Intellectual Freedom Manual is a guide to providing library service in support of First Amendment rights. For the manual’s 9th edition, the background information on its policies has been pulled into a separate volume, A History of ALA Policy on Intellectual Freedom: A Supplement to the 0616-librarians1Intellectual Freedom Manual, compiled by editor Trina Magi and assistant editor Martin Garnar for ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. The essays on these core intellectual freedom documents and their interpretations provide insights on why they were developed, as well as narratives on events that precipitated discussions that led to agreed-upon practices for dealing with issues. Two of the three core documents, the Library Bill of Rights and the Code of Ethics, both adopted by ALA Council in 1939, informed the third, the Freedom to Read Statement, which was adopted in 1953. These were documents of their time, and the histories of their evolution are important reading. ALA Editions, 2015. 172 P. $85. PBK. 978-0-8389-1325-3. (Also available as an ebook.)

0616-librarians2In Ethics and Values in Librarianship: A History, Wallace Koehler digs into more areas where shared values have evolved, sometimes over centuries and often across cultures. Koehler takes a thematic approach, covering stewardship, classification, librarian qualifications, freedom of expression, and libraries and democracy. For an essay on intellectual property, he notes how there was no copyright law when manuscripts were unique objects copied by hand—Great Britain’s Statute of Anne, which was passed in 1710, changed that. The essay on qualifications begins with the status quo and explores models from other countries before analyzing the elements of past practices and beliefs that have informed our current understanding. He also links libraries and democracy to freedom of expression in a pair of essays. Rowman and Littlefield, 2015. 292 P. $80. 978-1-4422-5426-8. (Also available as an ebook.)

0616-librarians3Using decades of research on public libraries, Paul T. Jaeger, Ursula Gorham, John Carlo Bertot, and Lindsay C. Sarin examine how libraries both influence and are influenced by public policies in Public Libraries, Public Policies, and Political Processes: Serving and Transforming Communities in Times of Economic and Political Constraint. The authors make the distinction between politics and policies as they look at the evolution of public libraries as a public good; explore the evolution of policies for public libraries; examine how libraries have changed their communities and have been changed by the communities; and seek to demonstrate the value of libraries in the face of economic and political challenges. They conclude that “public libraries mean far too much to their patrons and their communities for libraries and their supporters to not throw everything they can at advocacy and engagement.” Rowman and Littlefield, 2014. 198 P. $61. PBK. 978-1-4422-3346-1. (Also available as an ebook.)

0616-librarians4Additional essays on the role of libraries as social change agents are found in Perspectives on Libraries As Institutions of Human Rights and Social Justice, the 41st volume in the Advances in Librarianship series, edited by Ursula Gorham, Natalie Greene Taylor, and Paul T. Jaeger. The 19 essays cover such topics as conceptualizing libraries as institutions of human rights and social justice, providing service to marginalized populations, and how these issues are presented in LIS professions and curricula. Examples of services and social change from North American models are included, as well as case studies from India, New Zealand, Nigeria, and South Africa. As noted in the book’s wrap-up essay, the library is sometimes the only institution in a community able to assume a role in resolving human rights issues or extending needed services. But our professional mindset, and even the education being offered, may not equip new practitioners to assume these important community roles. Emerald Group Publishing, 2016. 456 P. $155. 978-1-7863-5058-9. (Also available as an ebook.)

0616-librarians5Elaine Harger’s Which Side Are You On?: Seven Social Responsibility Debates in American Librarianship, 1990–2015 documents debates that led to changes in ALA policy statements and the ways we perceive ALA’s community role. Harger, an active ALA member and participant in the discussions, reports on seven watershed debates—just the catchwords will trigger memories: The Speaker, antiapartheid actions, censorship in Israel and disputed territories, partnerships with the Boy Scouts and McDonald’s, Snowden, and climate crisis. The issues underlying these debates are contentious and not easy to grasp quickly. Harger’s essays on her route to learning about the issues and understanding their impact, along with excerpts from the debates, provide useful insights to ALA’s social conscience. McFarland, 2016. 236 P. $25. 978-0-7864-9455-2. (Also available as an ebook.)

The Freedom to Read Statement (1953)

By | 2017-11-02T23:42:06+00:00 November 2nd, 2017|Categories: Exciting Ideas, Library Truths, Philosophy/Principles|

The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is continuously under attack. Private groups and public authorities in various parts of the country are working to remove or limit access to reading materials, to censor content in schools, to label “controversial” views, to distribute lists of “objectionable” books or authors, and to purge libraries. These actions apparently rise from a view that our national tradition of free expression is no longer valid; that censorship and suppression are needed to counter threats to safety or national security, as well as to avoid the subversion of politics and the corruption of morals. We, as individuals devoted to reading and as librarians and publishers responsible for disseminating ideas, wish to assert the public interest in the preservation of the freedom to read.

Most attempts at suppression rest on a denial of the fundamental premise of democracy: that the ordinary individual, by exercising critical judgment, will select the good and reject the bad. We trust Americans to recognize propaganda and misinformation, and to make their own decisions about what they read and believe. We do not believe they are prepared to sacrifice their heritage of a free press in order to be “protected” against what others think may be bad for them. We believe they still favor free enterprise in ideas and expression.

These efforts at suppression are related to a larger pattern of pressures being brought against education, the press, art and images, films, broadcast media, and the Internet. The problem is not only one of actual censorship. The shadow of fear cast by these pressures leads, we suspect, to an even larger voluntary curtailment of expression by those who seek to avoid controversy or unwelcome scrutiny by government officials.

Such pressure toward conformity is perhaps natural to a time of accelerated change. And yet suppression is never more dangerous than in such a time of social tension. Freedom has given the United States the elasticity to endure strain. Freedom keeps open the path of novel and creative solutions, and enables change to come by choice. Every silencing of a heresy, every enforcement of an orthodoxy, diminishes the toughness and resilience of our society and leaves it the less able to deal with controversy and difference.

Now as always in our history, reading is among our greatest freedoms. The freedom to read and write is almost the only means for making generally available ideas or manners of expression that can initially command only a small audience. The written word is the natural medium for the new idea and the untried voice from which come the original contributions to social growth. It is essential to the extended discussion that serious thought requires, and to the accumulation of knowledge and ideas into organized collections.

We believe that free communication is essential to the preservation of a free society and a creative culture. We believe that these pressures toward conformity present the danger of limiting the range and variety of inquiry and expression on which our democracy and our culture depend. We believe that every American community must jealously guard the freedom to publish and to circulate, in order to preserve its own freedom to read. We believe that publishers and librarians have a profound responsibility to give validity to that freedom to read by making it possible for the readers to choose freely from a variety of offerings.

The freedom to read is guaranteed by the Constitution. Those with faith in free people will stand firm on these constitutional guarantees of essential rights and will exercise the responsibilities that accompany these rights.

We therefore affirm these propositions:

  1. It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those that are unorthodox, unpopular, or considered dangerous by the majority.Creative thought is by definition new, and what is new is different. The bearer of every new thought is a rebel until that idea is refined and tested. Totalitarian systems attempt to maintain themselves in power by the ruthless suppression of any concept that challenges the established orthodoxy. The power of a democratic system to adapt to change is vastly strengthened by the freedom of its citizens to choose widely from among conflicting opinions offered freely to them. To stifle every nonconformist idea at birth would mark the end of the democratic process. Furthermore, only through the constant activity of weighing and selecting can the democratic mind attain the strength demanded by times like these. We need to know not only what we believe but why we believe it.
  2. Publishers, librarians, and booksellers do not need to endorse every idea or presentation they make available. It would conflict with the public interest for them to establish their own political, moral, or aesthetic views as a standard for determining what should be published or circulated.Publishers and librarians serve the educational process by helping to make available knowledge and ideas required for the growth of the mind and the increase of learning. They do not foster education by imposing as mentors the patterns of their own thought. The people should have the freedom to read and consider a broader range of ideas than those that may be held by any single librarian or publisher or government or church. It is wrong that what one can read should be confined to what another thinks proper.
  3. It is contrary to the public interest for publishers or librarians to bar access to writings on the basis of the personal history or political affiliations of the author.No art or literature can flourish if it is to be measured by the political views or private lives of its creators. No society of free people can flourish that draws up lists of writers to whom it will not listen, whatever they may have to say.
  4. There is no place in our society for efforts to coerce the taste of others, to confine adults to the reading matter deemed suitable for adolescents, or to inhibit the efforts of writers to achieve artistic expression.To some, much of modern expression is shocking. But is not much of life itself shocking? We cut off literature at the source if we prevent writers from dealing with the stuff of life. Parents and teachers have a responsibility to prepare the young to meet the diversity of experiences in life to which they will be exposed, as they have a responsibility to help them learn to think critically for themselves. These are affirmative responsibilities, not to be discharged simply by preventing them from reading works for which they are not yet prepared. In these matters values differ, and values cannot be legislated; nor can machinery be devised that will suit the demands of one group without limiting the freedom of others.
  5. It is not in the public interest to force a reader to accept the prejudgment of a label characterizing any expression or its author as subversive or dangerous.The ideal of labeling presupposes the existence of individuals or groups with wisdom to determine by authority what is good or bad for others. It presupposes that individuals must be directed in making up their minds about the ideas they examine. But Americans do not need others to do their thinking for them.
  6. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians, as guardians of the people’s freedom to read, to contest encroachments upon that freedom by individuals or groups seeking to impose their own standards or tastes upon the community at large; and by the government whenever it seeks to reduce or deny public access to public information.It is inevitable in the give and take of the democratic process that the political, the moral, or the aesthetic concepts of an individual or group will occasionally collide with those of another individual or group. In a free society individuals are free to determine for themselves what they wish to read, and each group is free to determine what it will recommend to its freely associated members. But no group has the right to take the law into its own hands, and to impose its own concept of politics or morality upon other members of a democratic society. Freedom is no freedom if it is accorded only to the accepted and the inoffensive. Further, democratic societies are more safe, free, and creative when the free flow of public information is not restricted by governmental prerogative or self-censorship.
  7. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians to give full meaning to the freedom to read by providing books that enrich the quality and diversity of thought and expression. By the exercise of this affirmative responsibility, they can demonstrate that the answer to a “bad” book is a good one, the answer to a “bad” idea is a good one.The freedom to read is of little consequence when the reader cannot obtain matter fit for that reader’s purpose. What is needed is not only the absence of restraint, but the positive provision of opportunity for the people to read the best that has been thought and said. Books are the major channel by which the intellectual inheritance is handed down, and the principal means of its testing and growth. The defense of the freedom to read requires of all publishers and librarians the utmost of their faculties, and deserves of all Americans the fullest of their support.

We state these propositions neither lightly nor as easy generalizations. We here stake out a lofty claim for the value of the written word. We do so because we believe that it is possessed of enormous variety and usefulness, worthy of cherishing and keeping free. We realize that the application of these propositions may mean the dissemination of ideas and manners of expression that are repugnant to many persons. We do not state these propositions in the comfortable belief that what people read is unimportant. We believe rather that what people read is deeply important; that ideas can be dangerous; but that the suppression of ideas is fatal to a democratic society. Freedom itself is a dangerous way of life, but it is ours.


This statement was originally issued in May of 1953 by the Westchester Conference of the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers Council, which in 1970 consolidated with the American Educational Publishers Institute to become the Association of American Publishers.

Adopted June 25, 1953, by the ALA Council and the AAP Freedom to Read Committee; amended January 28, 1972; January 16, 1991; July 12, 2000; June 30, 2004.

A Joint Statement by:

American Library Association
Association of American Publishers

“The Freedom to Read Statement”, American Library Association, July 26, 2006 .http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/freedomreadstatement (Accessed November 2, 2017) Document ID: aaac95d4-2988-0024-6573-10a5ce6b21b2

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)

By | 2017-10-30T22:35:22+00:00 October 30th, 2017|Categories: Philosophy/Principles|

http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/index.html

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a milestone document in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 (General Assembly resolution 217 A) as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. It sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected and it has been translated into over 500 languages.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly at its 3rd session on 10 December 1948 as Resolution 217 at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris, France. Of the then 58 members of the United Nations, 48 voted in favor, none against, eight abstained, and two did not vote.

The Declaration consists of thirty articles affirming an individual’s rights which, although not legally binding in themselves, have been elaborated in subsequent international treaties, economic transfers, regional human rights instruments, national constitutions, and other laws. The Declaration was the first step in the process of formulating the International Bill of Human Rights, which was completed in 1966, and came into force in 1976, after a sufficient number of countries had ratified them.

Some legal scholars have argued that because countries have constantly invoked the Declaration over more than 50 years, it has become binding as a part of customary international law. However, in the United States, the Supreme Court in Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain (2004), concluded that the Declaration “does not of its own force impose obligations as a matter of international law.” Courts of other countries have also concluded that the Declaration is not in itself part of domestic law.

Preamble

Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,

Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,

Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,

Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.

Article 1.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2.
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Article 3.
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 4.
No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Article 5.
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 6.
Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

Article 7.
All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

Article 8.
Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

Article 9.
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Article 10.
Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

Article 11.
(1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
(2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

Article 12.
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Article 13.
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

Article 14.
(1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
(2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 15.
(1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

Article 16.
(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

Article 17.
(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

Article 18.
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 19.
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Article 20.
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
(2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

Article 21.
(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
(2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.
(3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

Article 22.
Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

Article 23.
(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
(3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
(4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

Article 24.
Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.

Article 25.
(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

Article 26.
(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

Article 27.
(1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
(2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

Article 28.
Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.

Article 29.
(1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
(2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
(3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 30.
Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.

 

REPORT*: Re-Envisioning the MLS The Future of Librarian Education

By | 2017-10-28T14:51:46+00:00 October 28th, 2017|Categories: Keystone Piece, Philosophy/Principles, Reports/Plans, Trends, Uncategorized|

This is a keystone piece* to the library profession – because of its importance, it is reproduced fully from Public Libraries Online
Full article:
http://publiclibrariesonline.org/2016/01/re-envisioning-the-mls-the-future-of-librarian-education/

Re-Envisioning the MLS The Future of Librarian Education
by John Bertot, Lindsay Sarin, & Paul Jaeger on January 6, 2016

About the Authors

JOHN BERTOT is Professor, LINDSAY SARIN is MLS Program Manager, and PAUL JAEGER is Professor, iSchool, University of Maryland College Park. Contact John at at jbertot@umd.edu. Contact Lindsay at lcsarin@umd.edu. Contact Paul at pjaeger@umd.edu.

John is currently reading What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe. Lindsay is currently reading My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem. Paul is currently reading The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey.

This article first appeared in PUBLIC LIBRARIES NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2015


The last several years have been marked by a number of societal changes that include, but are not limited to, the shifting nature of our economy, the workforce skills needed to succeed in a reinvigorated job market, advances in technology, the evolving nature of information, transformations in education and learning approaches, and the rapid demographic shift occurring in our communities.1 Any one of these challenges can have a significant impact on individuals, communities, and institutions. Collectively, the shifts are seismic and impact how we learn, engage, work, and succeed moving forward (see “Re-Envisioning the MLS: Issues, Considerations, and Framing” for additional details). Public libraries in particular have been deeply affected by the changing social, economic, technological, demographic, community, and information landscapes—so much so that various initiatives are exploring the future of public libraries.2 Exploring the future of public libraries, however, also requires us to consider the future of public librarians—and how we prepare them for a dynamic and evolving service context.

Public libraries are in transition, bridging the print, physical, digital, and virtual worlds. We have entered an “anytime, anywhere, any form” mode of meeting the information and other needs of our communities. As we go through this transition, some services are in decline, such as reference (see figure 1). Circulation and visits per capita are declining to more normal rates after a notable spike during the recessionary years (see figures 2 and 3). Time will tell if these will fall further. The future, however, seems more focused on community engagement (see figure 4) as programs and program attendance increase substantially. Interestingly, there is less demand for public access computers (see figure 5), but that may reflect increased device ownership by individuals who use a public library’s Wi-Fi connectivity. These trends reflect newly released findings from a Pew survey of library users that indicate a decline in library visits in the last year by those sixteen and older, from 52 percent in 2012 to 46 percent in 2014.3

Figure 1. Reference Transactions Per Capita 2003-2013 by Population Served Figure 2. Circulation Per Capita 2003-2013 by Population Served Figure 3. Visits Per Capita 2003-2013 by Population Served Figure 4. Program Attendance per 1,000 Population 2004-2013 by Population Served Figure 5. User Sessions Per Capita 2008-2013 by Population Served On the one hand, public libraries are honoring their tradition of providing access to materials in various formats as they have done since the mid-1800s. On the other hand, public libraries now ensure that their communities are digitally ready and inclusive, have access to and help with a wide range of social and government services, can respond to and recover from disasters, benefit from new and innovative services through partnerships with other community institutions, and receive social justice.4 All of these currently evolving and expanding contributions of public libraries to their communities represent a critical opportunity to re-envision and recreate not only the public library, but also the master of library science (MLS) degree program to both prepare students for the shifting roles that public librarians now play and ready them to be change agents and drivers of social innovation in their communities once they are in the field.

Launching the Initiative

It is in this context that the University of Maryland iSchool’s MLS program in conjunction with the Information Policy and Access Center (iPAC) launched our three-year initiative to Re-Envisioning the MLS.5 The initiative sought to answer the following questions:

  • What is the value of an MLS degree? In particular what is the value of the MLS:
    o In a climate in which public library leaders indicate that they are specifically seeking non-MLS (and its variants) librarians and there are reductions in librarian staff (see figure 6)?
    o At a time when higher education is more expensive than ever?
    o At a time when the value of advanced degrees writ-large are being questioned?
  • What does and should the future MLS degree look like? But also, asking is there a future for the MLS degree—and if so, what is that future?
  • What are the competencies, attitudes, and abilities that future library and information professionals need? And, how do we incorporate these into an MLS curriculum?

Firgure 6. FTEs per 10,000 Population 2003-2013 by Population Served

We also asked more specific questions related to the University of Maryland’s MLS program.

The Re-Envisioning the MLS initiative was designed as a three-year undertaking involving:

  • Year 1: community and stakeholder engagement, discussion, and thought-leader presentations to identify key issues, trends, needs, concerns, challenges, and opportunities;
  • Year 2: review of findings, curriculum and program design, and community and further stakeholder engagement based on the key findings from Year 1 activities; and
  • Year 3: operationalization and implementation of a re-envisioned MLS that reflects Year 1 and 2 efforts.
    Although the effort focused on what graduates will need from four years out and beyond, we do not view this as a “one and done” initiative. There will be continual stakeholder and student engagement as part of an ongoing program evaluation and as part of our ALA accreditation reporting and reaccreditation processes in the years to come to ensure that our program reflects the existing and emerging needs of libraries and the communities that they serve.

The Process

The Re-Envisioning the MLS initiative involved multiple activities that included:

  • The creation of and active engagement with the MLS program’s inaugural advisory board.
  • A speaker’s series, which brought in influential members of the information community who provided thought-provoking views on trends, current and future issues, and challenges and opportunities in our field (see hackmls.umd.edu for archives and summaries).
  • Engagement sessions, which were dialogues between students, staff, faculty, and the broader public about selected topics for consideration in relationship to MLS programs (see hackmls.umd.edu for archives and summaries).
  • Stakeholder/community discussions, which included numerous regional visits throughout Maryland, discussion sessions with the Maryland Association of Public Library Administrators (MAPLA), attendees of the 2015 Maryland Library Association conference, the Division of Library Development and Services (Maryland’s state library agency), the State Library Resource Center (Maryland’s State Library), the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (LBPH), and regional libraries throughout the state to engage information professionals from around the state in this dialogue.
  • Blog entries, which documented progress, summarized presentations, and offered insights based on what we had learned along the way.
  • The development of a white paper, which identified key issues, trends, and developments and their potential impact on information organizations and professionals.
  • Environmental scanning and research, which included reviewing key studies, analysis, data, and reports—particularly those focused on the future of information professions and information organizations such as libraries, archives, and museums.

These efforts provided multiple perspectives and inputs that informed the findings from the initiative. We do acknowledge, however, that though our efforts were extensive, they were not exhaustive and thus there are limitations to our findings.

Not the First (or the Last) Discussion

The topic of the changing nature, or lack of changing nature, of library and information science (LIS) education is an almost constant in the library community. Our field has a long history of self-reflection and self-doubt about the education programs preparing them for the profession. This is despite the fact that formalized education programs for librarianship date back 130 years in the U.S., and that the standardized MLS, and its name variants, degree are now more than fifty years old.

In 1985, a library school professor created “An Anthology of Abuse” documenting the different criticisms of library education, ranging from the perceived limitations of the faculty to the perceived limitations of the curriculum to the perceived limitations of the students.6 The list was expanded only a few years later.7 In more recent years, books have suggested that the problems of library education are rooted in a lack of attention to theory, too much attention to theory, too much emphasis on research, and the design of the MLS degree itself.8 There has even been a book arguing that a library education should be done in an apprenticeship model outside of the university and focusing only on books.9 In recent years, blogs and social media have expanded the discussion. The library school student-created and run blog, Hack Library School was founded to create a venue in which current students could learn how to best “hack” their own education. Annoyed Librarian also critiqued the value of library school.10 Hiring Librarians, a blog created as a result of a “frustrating job hunt,” has discussed LIS education and/or library schools many times including an interview where the anonymous academic librarian interviewed specifically said, “do not go to library school.”11 The American Library Association (ALA) and Association of Library and Information Science Educators (ALISE) have also had a series of ongoing discussions regarding the future of LIS education including the Library Education Task Force Report, a publication of the ALA’s Core Competencies of Librarianship, a set of revised ALA Accreditation Standards, and an Institute of Museum and Library Services-funded project at Simmons University.12

For all of the perceived problems over time with library education—and the MLS in particular—it is hard not to look at the discourse and conclude that the library profession tends to see the “new” as a crisis. Outcry over newspapers, recorded music, films, and the Internet and their potential threat to librarianship as a profession and libraries as an institution are easy to point to as examples of threats to libraries and librarianship.13 In 2005, Andrew Dillon and April Norris applied the term “crying wolf” to describe the seeming need for librarianship to incessantly fret about education in the field and suggest that the perception of crisis is a way to avoid substantively changing.14 This avoidance of evolving was labeled the “panda syndrome” in the 1990s, reflecting an animal that has notably failed to evolve to its own detriment.15 In short, instead of perceiving changes and challenges in society and technology as opportunities to evolve and improve education and the impacts made by MLS program graduates, many in the field react to each change or challenge as “an existential crisis that threatens the nature of the field.”16

Public libraries have been especially involved in the discussion on the future (or lack of future) of LIS education. Based on our engagement sessions, regional site visits, a large group discussion with the Maryland Association of Public Library Administrators, our MLS Advisory Board meetings, and other activities, several public library systems in the Maryland, D.C., and Virginia region indicated that they are not—or will not be—seeking MLS/MLIS-degreed professionals in the same numbers because of funding concerns and/or that their current and future community needs call for more than what current MLS/MLIS programs teach their graduates. Rural libraries (and librarians) in particular noted that they typically have one MLS librarian and that fact was not likely to change. Further, in some circles, a discussion has begun as to whether an MLS degree is needed to serve as a professional librarian—with some indicating a desire to change state policy and law, if necessary, to pursue such a change.

It is within this context that the below summarizes and presents the findings from the Re-Envisioning the MLS report. The full report with its findings is available here. Or here. The article concludes with a series of recommendations for LIS educators and programs, ALA accreditation, practice, and employers.

The Shift in Focus to People and Communities

Discussions on the “big shift” in libraries have been dominated by digital technologies and content—mobile, broadband, public access technologies, digital resources such as e-books and licensed resources, building national digital platforms, streaming content, content creation, and more. Though the “digital shift” is significant, another major shift that has occurred over the past decade, perhaps influenced by the digital shift, is a change in focus for public libraries from their holdings to the individuals and communities that they serve.

Public libraries have been on the forefront of the user-centered design approach for information resource and service development as part of the curriculum for decades; however, the LIS education system has been focused primarily on library-centric user design based on a set of pre-determined standards, services, and operations. The shift articulated as part of the Re-Envisioning the MLS initiative is more fundamental, and involves actively meeting user needs at the point of need (just-in-time) to enable the meaningful transformation of the individual rather than through more passive interactions without determining if the individual can actually use the information to meet his/her needs.

Increasingly, people come into the library with life issues such as access to food, social services, and/or health insurance. The passive or transactional approach provides information and a description of resources. A proactive and individual/community-centered approach would be having on-premise social services, public health specialists, interactive STEAM-based (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) makerspaces, and other more interactive and immersive services that facilitate the transformation (learning, skills, meeting the life need) of the individual. We have seen public library systems using this approach including the hiring of social workers at various urban library systems, the Baltimarket program, summer lunch programs for children, and many others.17

Core Values Remain Essential

Participants in the Re-Envisioning process indicated that what distinguished the MLS from other professional degrees was a set of values that framed who we are as information professionals but also what we are to our communities. In short, these values determine “what it was to be a librarian,” as emphasized by library leaders in one focus group. Participants across a variety of focus groups emphasized the following core values:

  • Access: ability to access information freely and in a manner suited to an individual’s needs and abilities.
  • Equity: access to information and resources regardless of the information professional or user’s beliefs, race, ethnicity, gender-identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or abilities.
  • Intellectual Freedom: free and open access to information without censorship or restrictions.
  • Privacy: ensuring the confidentiality of user and staff personal information as well as the information and resources they seek, use, transfer, and so on.
  • Learning: providing instruction and educational resources that promote education and meaningful learning in an inclusive and equitable manner.
  • Community: seeking to understand and serve the needs of the specific community being served while maintaining the values of access, equity, intellectual freedom, and privacy.
  • Inclusion: providing information services at all ability levels and regardless of those factors outlined in the value equity.
  • Human Rights: supporting and promoting human rights directly and indirectly by equipping community members with the skills and resources necessary to pursue greater equality in various arenas.
  • Social Justice: providing free equitable access to information that promotes the user’s ability to gain equal economic, political, and social rights.
  • Preservation and Heritage: providing current and future access to records, both analog and digital. Embedded in this is the need to safeguard against inequitable or privileged selection or destruction of materials based on prejudiced, privilege, or inequitable biases or assumptions.
  • Open Government: ensuring transparency, public access to, and participation in the creation of government information.
  • Civic Engagement: providing access and meaningful learning opportunities that foster participation in issues or processes affecting the community served.

These values focus on ensuring that all individuals can seek opportunity and success through information.

Competencies for Future Information Professionals

Participants indicated that MLS programs must, at a minimum, provide their graduates with the following competencies through coursework, application, and practice. The competencies identified are highlighted by quotes from participants during the Re-Envisioning process:

  • Ability to lead and manage projects and people, even if graduates do not intend to become a supervisor, director, or manager. “If I could tell someone going into librarianship one thing it would be: expect to be a manager; you’re going to end up managing whether you want to or not.”—Librarian
  • Ability to facilitate learning and education either through direct instruction or other interactions.
    “I want my staff to be facilitators.” —Public Library Director
  • Ability to work with, and train others to use, a variety of technologies. “Staff need to be both up on the latest technologies and be able to help individuals use those technologies”—Academic Library Director
  • Marketing and advocacy skills. “Marketing ‘writ large’ not just to other librarians or the users we have.”—Librarian
  • Strong public speaking and written communication skills. “No more people who only want to hide in the stacks.”—Public Librarian
  • Strong desire to work with the public in general and a wide range of service populations in particular. “We have to be dynamic ‘people-persons’ and be comfortable with a BROAD spectrum of people.”—Library Staff
  • Problem-solving and the ability to think and adapt instantaneously. “I want a risk-taker. It doesn’t have to be perfect to get started.”
    —Library Manager
  • Knowledge of crisis management techniques and social services training. “You never know what you’re going to encounter, and you need to train your students to ‘expect the unexpected’ and be prepared for it.”—Director
  • Knowledge of the principles and applications of fundraising, budgeting, and policymaking skills. “As a director I had to go back to school to learn finance, budgeting, fundraising, the policymaking process, etc.”—Director
  • Relationship building among staff, patrons, community partners, and funders. “We don’t have to, nor can we, do everything. What we can do is partner with others who can help us achieve our goals and the goals of the community.” —Librarian
  • Documentation and assessment of programs. “Just like schools we have to be able to show funders their return on investments.”
    —Youth Librarian

These competencies emphasize three underlying aspects of MLS education: people, technology, and information—but expand to include knowledge of organizations, management, leadership, policy, collaboration, communication, communities, and data. Simply put, graduates need to understand—and be comfortable with—the broader ecosystem in which they provide information services and resources.

The Elephant in the Room: Is an MLS Still Relevant or Necessary?

With the changing nature of libraries, archives, and other information organizations—and their roles in the communities that they serve—the inevitable question of whether an MLS is still relevant or necessary arose throughout the entire Re-Envisioning process. Discussions of this topic were both passionate and conflicted. The following summary attempts to capture the various expressions on both sides of the debate:

  • There was a sense that an MLS is not required—nor perhaps desirable—for all aspects of library work. For example, having human resources, business managers, communications staff, information technology staff, web designers, and other operations staffed by those with expertise and relevant degrees was preferable.
  • Most participants indicated the need for MLS-holding individuals for leadership positions in libraries. An MLS imparted not just skills and an understanding of librarianship and the information professions, but also core values such as intellectual freedom, privacy, access, equity/social justice, open government/civic participation, and learning as articulated above.
  • Some indicated that the field needs to look more broadly than an MLS and seek those with:
    o education and/or instructional design degrees for digital readiness, literacy, and instructional activities;
    o design degrees for “making” and creative activities;
    o social work experience for increasingly social service-related services;
    o knowledge of public health for a range of health information-related initiatives; and analytics for “smart community,” hacking, coding, and other data-related initiatives.
  • Some insisted that the MLS degree was essential, and not just about skills, foundations, and principles, but also signified the importance of the library and information professions and individuals with the degree as professionals.
  • Others indicated that what makes successful information professionals was less about aptitude (which could be taught) and more about attitude, particularly those who wanted to engage the public, were outgoing, innovative, creative, and adaptable.
  • Those in rural and small public libraries indicated that MLS-holding professional librarians, due to pay scales and other constraints, would never be a majority of their workforce and thus they actively engage in a range of paraprofessional recruitment and training.
    The varied views were not a surprise. What was a surprise, however, was the open and candid debate around the need for an MLS “no matter what.” There is an increasing acknowledgment that those with other degrees and skills might meet various needs better and that our libraries should be open to those with a range of degrees other than the MLS. Thus the key question that emerged was: What makes the future MLS valuable and valued?

Opportunity for All, Access for All, or Something Else?

Though our libraries have long stood for, and information professionals value, social justice and equity of access, the growing “gaps” (income, education, literacy, employment/employability), combined with the erosion of a public sphere that provides robust social and other services to assist those in need, is impacting and challenging the ability of information organizations to respond in ways that meet the needs of a range of underserved populations. This creates numerous tensions articulated in part below:

  • Librarians want to serve those in need, but feel ill-equipped to deal with the numerous challenges that individuals often face including mental health, physical health, law enforcement, language, family challenges, and other challenges that may require addressing before librarians can offer assistance.
  • Librarians often still focus on the information transaction and need as they were trained to do, while the individuals seek a more immersive and transformative experience (for example, successfully attaining health insurance, pursuing educational goals, successfully attaining access to food and shelter, getting a job, and so on). The ability of librarians to meet these often time-consuming life needs, while also trying to serve others, is a large challenge.
  • The demands of the increasing number of those in substantial need—or lacking in skills and abilities for success in the twenty-first century—is constraining resources and services to the broader community. Some indicated their concern that service to the un- and underserved, though a core value to libraries, is impacting who uses, or is willing to use, the available services, resources, and facilities of public libraries.
  • The growing disparities in income, opportunities, and education manifest early (for example, Pre-K, in schools), can continue into adulthood, and is witnessed in a range of ways in libraries—for example, literacies (basic, information, civic), digital readiness, workforce skills. The cycle is exceedingly difficult to break, and is a constant presence in the provision of information services and resources as librarians seek to “meet users where they are.”

The tension between the growing gaps, wanting to help those with acute needs, not having the resources or skills to, and questioning whether this is an appropriate role for libraries and librarians was a recurring theme. Further, an emergent topic was whether in the name of inclusion, focusing efforts substantially on challenged populations has led other populations who were once frequent library users (for example, families with young children, children/young adults who might otherwise use a library after school) to stop coming to or at least limiting their use of the physical library space. Even with these tensions, the prevailing sentiment from librarians was, “If not the library, then who?”

Social Innovation and Change

A common theme that emerged through the Re-Envisioning initiative was a vision of libraries and librarians as community change agents that can roughly be expressed as: Strong libraries empower their communities and enable individual change, growth, and transformation.

Though expressed in a variety of ways, participants offered a number of terms as part of this vision: innovators, entrepreneurs, disrupters, change agents, facilitators, partners, and leaders, to name some. After some discussion and expansion, participants described a vision for libraries and librarians as critical leaders of social innovation in their communities.18 By forming partnerships, for example, with health care providers, government agencies, workforce development agencies, food service agencies, faculty, research centers, telecommunications carriers, utility companies, schools, local businesses, and more, libraries are essential catalysts for creative solutions to community challenges in a wide range of areas such as health, education and learning, economic development, poverty and hunger, civic engagement, preservation and cultural heritage, and research innovation. Through leveraging trust, expertise, infrastructure, information resources, space, community centrality, cultural awareness, an appreciation of and for diversity, and other assets, libraries and librarians are the “lubricant” in their communities for innovation, entrepreneurship, and creativity. Engaging in social innovation activities also enables our organizations to provide opportunity for all in ways that they (nor any other entity) could not do on their own.

Issues and Recommendations

Table 1. Areas for MLS Curriculum Development

The Re-Envisioning process identified the above, and other, findings that have implications not just for the University of Maryland’s MLS program, but also for MLS programs in general, libraries, and professional associations. Though just the first year of the process is complete, there are a number of paths forward for LIS education. Future considerations include:

  • Creating curricula that reflects current and emerging trends and realities. Adapting curriculum, learning outcomes, professional development opportunities, and recruiting to better reflect the core values and content areas identified during the re-envisioning process (see table 1). There is a need to integrate these values, skills, and competencies into all aspects of MLS education from degree requirements to ongoing professional education that occurs post-graduation. In addition, there is a need to focus library education more on creating curricula and extracurricular activities that prepare students for the realities of what libraries and librarians actually do, rather than what we think they should do based on standards and professional practices of the past. The Internet, political changes, economic changes, and other social forces have changed what libraries—especially public libraries—do. Emerging trends in technology, demographics, workforce needs, “smart” communities, and other key areas also force us to consider to what public libraries should transform—while at the same time ensuring that public libraries meet the needs and expectations of individuals and their communities.19 Courses in areas of advocacy, education, leadership, technology, data analytics, social innovation, and social justice, among others, need to become more readily available to students in library education programs. Though some may not value or buy into the shift some libraries have taken to become community hubs for education and learning, inclusion, community building, and social service provision, these activities are increasingly central to the mission of public libraries.20 Preparing students to be leaders, advocates, and social innovators—through coursework, continuing education programs, and other activities—for their institutions and their communities is necessary for the sustained health of institutions, the professional success of MLS graduates, and for ensuring opportunity for all in the communities that libraries serve.
  • Engaged and qualified faculty. There are many accredited MLS programs from which students can choose. These programs are embedded in a variety of academic units, and coursework is available in multiple modes—online, in person, or hybrid. The issue in the future is less the availability of MLS education than access to an engaged and qualified faculty and leadership that: (1) values the MLS degree as part of the academic unit; (2) seeks to leverage the increasingly diverse disciplines represented on faculties (for example, computer science, information management, human-computer interaction, learning sciences) to benefit MLS programs; and (3) is connected to the profession and professionals.
  • Research that informs. Scholars also have important contributions to make to the MLS degree. For a field in which so much of the work is professional in nature, it is ironic that research about MLS graduate education has been fairly limited.21 Faculty charged with preparing future librarians could be much more committed to researching, evaluating, and creating innovative approaches to the formal and informal education of MLS students. We need to better understand the service context of public libraries, the communities that public libraries serve, the needs (not just information) of individuals who use (and do not currently use) public libraries, and the extent to which our programs and courses prepare graduates to become public library professionals and leaders. By also studying the public library as a social, learning, engagement (and other dimensions as identified as part of the Re-Envisioning the MLS initiative) institution, we can use that knowledge to enhance our MLS programs and practice.
  • Professional organization support for library education. Professional organizations need to increase their focus on how well they are supporting library education programs in preparing their students for the needs of today and tomorrow. ALA accreditation, for example, is a cumbersome process for institutions and the standards themselves are slow to adapt. Even though ALA has recently revised the accreditation standards, the revision and review process needs to be more agile. Beyond accreditation, the preparation of library school students and young professionals for success in the field is a place in which professional organizations could contribute even more to the long-term health of professionals through mentoring, networking, and continuing education.
  • Rethinking hiring expectations. Many new library graduates are limited in the number of jobs (and here we reference only entry-level positions) for which they can qualify because organizations are crafting positions that require a set of qualifications that new graduates simply cannot meet, most typically multiple years of experience. A tight job market has created a “buyer’s market” but this does not mean that employers should shut out new graduates. As we learned from discussions with recent graduates and alumni, they will, and are, going elsewhere—in some cases leaving the profession entirely. A library may benefit in the short term from hiring only experienced librarians but this strategy will impact our libraries in the long term if no, or few, new graduates are brought into the fold. Employers may better serve their own institutions and the field as a whole by looking to fill positions with a greater balance of experience, innovation, and new graduates.
  • Co-Creation, not Confrontation. Underlying the discussions and site visits with librarians was the sense that library schools, in part,
    were not providing the kinds of graduates they needed for today’s (and tomorrow’s) libraries. But this discussion always seemed a bit “you [iSchools, MLS programs] and us [libraries, professionals]” in its tone. The future rests with strong collaborative development of our curriculum—from courses to experiential learning. Co-creation of curriculum and professional practice opportunities can yield great synergies:
    public libraries would have access to new professionals who meet their needs and the needs of their communities, MLS programs would remain current, and students would have access to relevant leaning experiences and knowledge. The language of “we” is powerful and necessary and through it we all benefit.

The qualities that make libraries so unique and important in their communities can be summarized in four verbs: inform, enable, equalize, and lead.22
These attributes of libraries can also serve as guiding principles for rethinking library education and how we prepare and support students for their careers.

Individual public libraries are often most impressive in the speed with which they can adapt to changing community needs. Library education, professional organizations, employers, and scholars have to become similarly adept at the changing expectations for and capacities of libraries. Horrigan notes, public libraries are at a crossroads.23 So too is MLS education. As the Re-Envisioning the MLS project shows, there are a number
of paths forward for improving the entire process of educating new library professionals to be ready to contribute to their organizations, communities, and society as soon as they graduate. This will require, however, the conviction to make bold changes to ensure the continuing relevance of our field. Our students, our professionals, our organizations, and our communities are all depending on it.

References

  1. American Library Association, “State of America’s Libraries Report 2014,” accessed Dec. 13, 2015.
  2. Amy K. Garmer, Aspen Institute, “Rising to the Challenge: Re-Envisioning Public Libraries,” accessed Dec. 13, 2015; American Library Association, “Trends Report: Snapshots of a Turbulent World,” accessed Dec. 13, 2015.
  3. John B. Horrigan, Pew Research Center, “Libraries at the Crossroads,” accessed Dec. 13, 2015.
  4. Paul T. Jaeger, et al., Public Libraries, Public Policies, and Political Processes: Serving and Transforming Communities in Times of Economic and Political Constraint (Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014); John Carlo Bertot, et al., 2013 Digital Inclusion Survey: Survey Findings and Results. (College Park, Md.: Information Policy & Access Center, University of Maryland College Park, 2014); Paul
    T. Jaeger, et al. Libraries, Human Rights, and Social Justice: Enabling Access and Promoting Inclusion (Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield, 2015); Kim M. Thompson, et al., Digital Literacy and Digital Inclusion: Information Policy and the Public Library (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014).
  5. John Carlo Bertot, et al., “Re-Envisioning the MLS: Findings, Issues, and Considerations” (College Park, Md.: College of Information Studies, 2014), accessed Dec. 13, 2015.
  6. Samuel Rothstein, “Why People Really Hate Library Schools: The 97-Year-Old Mystery Solved at Last,” Library Journal 110, no. 6 (April 1985): 41–48.
  7. April Bohannan, “Library Education: Struggling to Meet the Needs of the Profession,” Journal of Academic Librarianship 17, no. 4 (1991): 216–19.
  8. André Cossette, Humanism and Libraries: An Essay on the Philosophy of Librarianship (Duluth, Minn.: Library Juice, 2009); Michael Gorman, The Enduring Library: Technology, Tradition, and the Quest for Balance (Chicago, Ill.: ALA Editions, 2003); Richard J. Cox, The Demise of the Library School: Personal Reflections on Professional Education in the Modern Corporate University (Duluth, Minn.: Library Juice, 2010); Boyd Keith Swigger, The MLS Project: An Assessment After Sixty Years (Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield).
  9. Juris Dilevko, The Politics of Professionalism: A Retro-Progressive Proposal for Librarianship (Duluth, Minn.: Library Juice Press, 2009).
  10. Annoyed Librarian, “Okay, Who Cares if Library School is Easy,” Annoyed Librarian blog, Oct. 25, 2010, accessed Dec. 13, 2015.
  11. Emily Weak, “Do Not Go to Library School. Librarianship is a Dying Profession,” Hiring Librarians blog, Jan. 14, 2014, accessed Dec. 13, 2015.
  12. American Library Association, Library Education Task Force, “President’s Task force on Library Education Final Report,” accessed Dec. 13, 2015; American Library Association, “ALA’s Core Competencies of Librarianship,” accessed Dec. 22, 2015; American Library Association, Committee on Accreditation of the American Library Association, “Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies,” accessed Dec. 13, 2015; Simmons College, “Envisioning Our Future and How to Educate for It,” (2015), accessed Dec. 13, 2015.
  13. Alexis McCrossen, “One More Cathedral” or “Mere Lounging Places for Bummers? The Cultural Politics of Leisure and the Public Library in Gilded Age America,” Libraries and the Cultural Record 41, no. 2 (Spring 2006): 169–88; Jean L. Preer, J. L. (2006). “Louder Please: Using Historical Research to Foster Professional Identity in LIS Students,” Libraries and the Cultural Record, 41, no 4 (2006): 487–96.
  14. Andrew Dillon and April Norris, “Crying Wolf: An Examination and Reconsideration of the Perception of Crisis in LIS Education,” Journal of
    Education for Library and Information Science, 46, no. 4 (Fall 2005): 280–98.
  15. Stuart A. Sutton and Nancy A. Van House, “The Panda Syndrome II: Innovation, Discontinuous Change, and LIS Education,” Journal of Education for Library and Information Science 40, no. 4 (Month or Season? 1998): 247–60.
  16. Paul T. Jaeger, “Looking at Newness and Seeing Crisis? Library Discourse and Reactions to Change,” Library Quarterly 82, no. 2 (April 2012): 289–300.
  17. Jon Bowman, KWGN Colorado, (2015, July 7). “Denver Public Library Hires Social Worker.” KWGN Colorado, July 7, 2015, accessed Dec. 13, 2015; Mark Jenkins, (2014, August 27). “D.C. Adds a Social Worker to Library System to Work with Homeless Patrons, Washington Post, Aug. 27, 2014, accessed Dec. 13, 2015; Scott Shafer, “Urban Libraries Become De Facto Homeless Shelters,” NPR, April 23, 2014, accessed Dec. 13, 2015; Patrice Chamberlain, P. (2015, March 17). “Summer Meal Programming at the Library,” Public Libraries Online, March 17, 2015, accessed Dec. 13, 2015.
  18. James A. Phills, et al., “Rediscovering Social Innovation,” Stanford Social Innovation Review (Fall 2008), accessed Dec. 13, 2015.
  19. American Library Association, “Trends Report: Snapshots of a Turbulent World”; Horrigan, “Libraries at the Crossroads. Pew Research Center.”
  20. Lynn Westbrook, “I’m Not a Social Worker: An Information Service Model for Working with Patrons in Crisis,” Library Quarterly, 85, no. 1 (Month or Season? 2015): 6–25.
  21. Cox, The Demise of the Library School:
  22. Bertot et al., “Re-Envisioning the MLS: Findings, Issues, and Considerations.”
  23. Horrigan, “Libraries at the Crossroads.”

Jeff Bezos Should Put His Billions Into Libraries [Wired mag]

By | 2017-10-18T20:13:49+00:00 October 18th, 2017|Categories: Library Truths, Marketing, Philosophy/Principles|

Very good words on the value of today’s library…

Jeff Bezos Should Put His Billions Into Libraries
by Susan Crawford, a columnist for Backchannel and a professor at Harvard Law School. She is also the author of The Responsive City and Captive Audience.

https://www.wired.com/story/jeff-bezos-should-put-his-billions-into-libraries/

Imagine that you are Jeff Bezos. For four hours two weeks ago, you were the richest person in the world. And though Wall Street knocked you down a notch, pretty much everyone thinks it’s inevitable that you’re going to be number one again. You’re starting to be aware of the smell of the tar pits and you’re casting about for a way to put all that loot to some good. You’re eying the Gates-Buffet Giving Pledge and thinking that if you donate half your fortune it should make a difference. You’re comfortable with making older but meaningful institutions great again.

So far, you’ve concentrated on things that might benefit our distant successors—space travel, cancer treatments, AI, and a clock that will keep running for 10,000 years. But you want to do something more immediate. You say you want your philanthropic activity “to be helping people in the here and now—short term—at the intersection of urgent need and lasting impact.” You are open to suggestions–so much so that you even recently tweeted a “request for ideas.

Though you don’t mention it, I suspect you’re thinking of stepping into an area that traditionally government might have addressed—but now, in an era in which the wealthy are doing better and better, benefits seem to go toward the top while the “urgent needs” of just plain people are left to the grace of a harsh marketplace. Like it or not, citizens are increasingly dependent on the kindness of strangers with billions of dollars,

I have a suggestion for you, Jeff Bezos. How would you like to become the Andrew Carnegie of our time?

Yes, I am talking about libraries. Those places where books sit on shelves, not delivered by FedEx. And so much more. Carnegie made them the center of his philanthropy, and almost became synonymous with them. More importantly, he changed countless lives with his investments in libraries. I have heard that you’re looking for big ideas, and this is one.

Today, local libraries are thought of as slightly retro public institutions. For some reason, major donors don’t get excited about them. OK, there are some notable exceptions to this rule—in my adopted city of New York, for instance, Stephen Schwarzman has his name engraved on the main branch building of the public library; in Kansas City, the Kemper family has donated millions to the downtown branch and a Kemper scion, R. Crosby Kemper III, has been the executive director of the library for more than 12 years.

But the real impact—the one that changes lives and transforms communities—has yet to be made. It turns out that libraries are the very model of the more-than-shovel-ready, here-and-now, urgent-need-and-lasting-impact places that you as a tech philanthropist claim to be interested in supporting in a big way. And libraries’ needs are dire.

You, Mr. Bezos, may not have been inside a library in a while. Things have changed. Today, libraries are serving as essential civic places. Trusted by every part of American society, they’re the only noncommercial places other than city squares where people meet across genders and ages. They provide all kinds of services and programming—just visit the glorious Madison, WI Central Library, where a first-rate makerspace is under the same LEED-certified roof as local service agencies helping people sign up for health care and food assistance.

Librarians are not shushing people, and libraries are no longer only silent cathedrals for solo reading. (They still have reading rooms—don’t worry.) Instead, these great pieces of civic architecture are being repurposed: They’re places that offer classes in computer skills and thousands of other subjects, provide internet access to millions of Americans who can’t afford it, and host innumerable neighborhood meetings.

Libraries these days are providing meals to kids and adults through local food banks, working with local immigrant agencies, offering homework help, and loaning out an amazing array of things, from musical instruments to microscopes. (Yes: the Library of Things.) What they’re up to is dazzling. And in 2013, 94 percent of Americans said that having a public library improves the quality of life in a community. As America gets older and more unequal, its people need new forms of education to thrive—and libraries are ground zero for every public value the country cares about.

The American Library Association says that America’s more than 120,000 public, school, academic, and special libraries are visited more than 1.4 billion times a year by hundreds of millions of Americans in every corner of the nation and from every walk of life. They complement but do not compete with your mighty commercial bookselling venture, Mr. Bezos. At the same time, libraries are chronically under-resourced. Limited hours. Limited staff. Low pay. Constant need for renovation. Overcrowding.

Libraries are attempting to serve people in an era of thin government support, increasing need, and staggering inequality—much like the era that gave us Andrew Carnegie. His response to the problems of his time was to build thousands of public libraries across the country, starting in 1886. Most of those beloved community libraries are still functioning. Carnegie aimed high, wanting to make the world better than he found it. And he succeeded.

Here’s the twist in the story that you, Mr. Bezos, may not know: Carnegie’s money was given on the condition that local public authorities step up with pledges to support and maintain the institutions that he launched. For Carnegie, this structure fit with the idea that communities were being helped to help themselves—a pillar for him. Many cities turned down Carnegie’s offer, and later regretted it.

If you are looking to have your name be kept alive in the memories of generations—or if you simply want a legacy worthy of the fortune you have reaped—you don’t need to start something new or even have it named after you. (You didn’t rename the Washington Post, either, and yet it’s becoming one of the handful of great news sources in the world.) Hidden in plain sight, the local libraries of America are patiently waiting for your attention. (They’re also often really beautiful spaces, and I can tell that you like design. Just down the street from your headquarters is Rem Koolhaas’s terrific Seattle main library, with areas named after donors and relatives of Paul Allen, Microsoft, Charles Simonyi, and Boeing.)

Whether or not the local library a random American uses today was actually built by Carnegie, he or she knows what that philanthropist did. More important, if a philanthropist was someone who wanted to get a glimpse of what his money did, he would be proud of what his money had accomplished.

Tragically, the federal government and the states are constantly cutting back on library funding. You would almost think that politicians don’t want members of the public to have access to the very knowledge that would lead them to make informed decisions! But those politicians are ignoring the fact libraries are citadels of civilization and economic ladders for those otherwise stuck on the bottom rungs. Why not use the lever of your money, Mr. Bezos, to spur public authorities to do their part? Just like Carnegie did. It is hard to imagine a better use of billions.

 8/9/2017 – Backchannel is a digital magazine that delivers readers the most revealing technology stories in a single weekly dispatch: no fluff. Learn more here.

REPORT: National Policy Agenda for Libraries (ALA, 2015)

By | 2017-10-11T03:06:40+00:00 October 11th, 2017|Categories: Philosophy/Principles, Reports/Plans|

A NATIONAL POLICY AGENDA FOR LIBRARIES
The Policy Revolution! Initiative

Excerpt: “The goals of this national policy agenda are to change the conversation about libraries—from a nostalgic character in our history to an essential player in our nation’s story—and to help focus and guide the library community’s collective outreach to key decision makers and influencers.

Our strategic approach is to focus on the high-level “Library” story rather than on the silos of academic, school, public, government, and special or other libraries. We do so to create more holistic policy solutions and harness the power of our diverse community. Moreover, many decision makers and influencers do not understand or care about our silos—rather, the brand is “library” insofar as a brand exists.

Libraries serve communities in diverse and interdisciplinary ways through essential services. Several of these essential service areas intersect with national priorities, and provide us with a unique opportunity to influence policy. These areas include: education and learning; employment and entrepreneurship; health and wellness; access to government information and services; and preservation of the nation’s digital heritage and history.

We outline seven areas where policy change is needed: Library Funding; Balanced Copyright and Licensing Frameworks; Systems for Managing Digital Content; Privacy and Transparency; Equal Access to Robust Broadband; Strengthening Library-related Functions in the Federal Government; and A New Generation of Library Professionals.”

An executive brief of this National Policy Agenda for Libraries is available: http://www.ala.org/advocacy/sites/ala.org.advocacy/files/content/pdfs/NPAforLibrariesBrief2.pdf

If you have questions about the Agenda, contact the Co-principal Investigators Alan S. Inouye (ainouye@alawash.org) and Larra Clark (lclark@alawash.org) at the American Library Association, Office for Information Technology Policy, Washington, D.C.

© 2015 American Library Association

Libraries and Philosophy: Suggested Reading

By | 2017-10-05T14:45:34+00:00 October 5th, 2017|Categories: Philosophy/Principles|

“There is a surprising amount of literature available on the philosophy of library and information science (LIS), but it’s hard to know where to start. What should a library philosopher read? Where’s the best place to begin? Since this blog is supposedly about philosophy and librarianship, the least I can do is attempt to build a list of suggested readings to aid the interested. Granted, I’m no expert, but I can at least start building a bibliography of the texts I think are most important to understanding the intersection of philosophy and librarianship at a foundational level.”
Lane Alan Wilkinson
https://senseandreference.wordpress.com/libraries-and-philosophy-essential-readings/

General Works in the Philosophy of Librarianship

  • Bivens-Tatum, W. (2012).  Libraries and the enlightenment. Los Angeles: Library Juice Press. [Link to review]
  • Budd, J. (2001). Knowledge and knowing in library and information science: a philosophical framework. Lanham, Md: Scarecrow Press.
  • Cossette, A. (1976/2009). Humanism and libraries: An essay on the philosophy of librarianship. Translated by Rory Litwin. Duluth, Minn.: Library Juice Press.
  • Gorman, M. (2000). Our enduring values. Chicago: American Library Association.
  • Herold, K. (Ed.). (2004). The philosophy of information [special issue]. Library Trends, 52(3). [Link to review]
  • Hjørland, B. (Ed.). (2005).  Library and information science and the philosophy of science [special issue]. Journal of Documentation, 61(1).
  • Kaplan, A. (1964). The age of the symbol–a philosophy of library education. Library Quarterly, 34(4), 295-304. [Link to review]
  • Nitecki, J. Z. (1979). Metaphors of librarianship: A suggestion for a metaphysical model. Journal of Library History, 14(1), 21-42. Recommended by Ken Herold.
  • Osburn, C. B. (2009). The social transcript: uncovering library philosophy. Westport, Conn: Libraries Unlimited. [Link to review]

From Sense and Reference: A Philosophical Library Blog by Lane Alan Wilkinson is Director of Instruction at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Library.

REPORT: Rising to the Challenge [Aspen Institute, 2014]

By | 2017-10-05T00:33:28+00:00 October 5th, 2017|Categories: Philosophy/Principles, Reports/Plans, Trends|

From the 2014 archives…

https://www.aspeninstitute.org/publications/rising-challenge-re-envisioning-public-libraries/

Rising to the Challenge is the culmination of a year-long exploration and examination of the challenges and opportunities facing communities and their public libraries as society moves deeper into the digital era. It projects a new vision for public libraries and promotes new thinking about libraries, their critical assets, new networked forms and the essential role they now play in providing opportunities for individuals and communities to succeed in an economy and society that reward learning, creativity, innovation and social connection. Rising to the Challenge addresses key strategies for building strong libraries and communities, and offers a series of action steps for those who are motivated by the Dialogue’s vision to get started in their own communities. View the digital report at http://as.pn/libraries.

PEOPLE, PLACE AND PLATFORM
The emerging value proposition of the public library is built around three key assets— people, place and platform:

PEOPLE. The public library is a hub of civic engagement, fostering new relationships and strengthening the human capital of the community. Librarians are actively engaged in the community. They connect individuals to a vast array of local and national resources and serve as neutral conveners to foster civic health. They facilitate learning and creation for children and adults alike.

PLACE. The public library is a welcoming space for a wide range of purposes—reading, communicating, learning, playing, meeting and getting business done. Its design recognizes that people are not merely consumers of content but creators and citizens as well. Its physical presence provides an anchor for economic development and neighborhood revitalization, and helps to strengthen social bonds and community identity. The library is also a virtual space where individuals can gain access to information, resources and all the rich experiences the library offers.
In the creative design of its physical and virtual spaces the public library defines what makes a great public space.

PLATFORM. The public library is user-centered. It provides opportunities for individuals and the community to gain access to a variety of tools and resources with which to discover and create new knowledge. The platform enables the curation and sharing of the community’s knowledge and innovation. A great library platform is a “third place” —an interactive entity that can facilitate many people operating individually and in groups—and supports the learning and civic needs of the community.

www.LibraryVision.org

JOURNAL: The Political Librarian

By | 2017-10-04T20:08:59+00:00 October 4th, 2017|Categories: Marketing, Philosophy/Principles|

http://openscholarship.wustl.edu/pollib/

The Political Librarian is dedicated to expanding the discussion of, promoting research on, and helping to re-envision locally focused advocacy, policy, and funding issues for libraries.

It encompasses a variety of perspectives to the journal and draws contributions not just from those working in the field of library and information science. Submissions are sought from researchers, practitioners, community members, or others dedicated to furthering the discussion, promoting research, and helping to re-envision tax policy and public policy on the extremely local level.

The Political Librarian team is grateful for the generous contributions of the Washington University Libraries for hosting the journal and providing every-ready support.

REPORT (UN): Meaningful Access to Information

By | 2017-09-30T19:05:20+00:00 September 30th, 2017|Categories: Philosophy/Principles, Reports/Plans|

Development and Access to Information (DA2I) is the first of a series of annual reports that will monitor the progress countries are making towards fulfilling their commitment to promote meaningful access to information as part of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

• It  explains the mission of libraries in terms that policy-makers can understand, from the United Nations to the smallest village.
• It makes it clear that Internet access alone, while important, is not enough.
• It sets out the argument for a properly supported library system.
• It is a tool – a weapon even – for the whole united library field, a powerful statement of why libraries are motors for change.

Gerald Leitner, Secretary General, IFLA
25 September 2017

https://youtu.be/kv9P0XF1oXE?t=5m27s   da2i.ifla.org
webinar info and slides: https://www.ifla.org/node/11840

 

 

Transcendance: When Libraries Really Provide Value

By | 2017-09-30T19:07:12+00:00 September 29th, 2017|Categories: Library Truths, Marketing, Philosophy/Principles|

Researcher Eric Almquist and colleagues have identified The 30 Things Customers Really Value” covering most fundamental human needs. These 30 “elements of value” are fundamental attributes in their most essential and discrete forms.

They fall into four categories: functional, emotional, life changing, social impact.

In a blog post, Steven Bell explains the four categories:

“At the base of the value pyramid is functional value. These are fairly basic services such as save people time, simplify things for them or facilitate their organization (think the Container Store).

The next highest order value is emotion. When a company like CVS offers wellness services or Disney offer fun experiences it appeals to our sense of emotional well being. When community members express affection for their library (e.g. “I love my library”) that signals an emotional connection. Engaging community members in ways that connect them to our libraries emotionally provides a unique value element.

Beyond emotion lies life changing value. Educational organizations offer the value of acquiring new skills or abilities that can lead to life changing opportunity. Offering a community to which members can belong is valued by those who with to be a part of something bigger then themselves – and it can be life changing. A library literacy program volunteer achieves life changing value by contributing to an organization that does change lives and improves the quality of the community.

At the top of the value pyramid is social impact. There is only one value associated with this category, self-transcendance. This is comparable to Maslow’s self-actualization on the hierarchy of needs. Few of us achieve it, and far fewer organizations can deliver this type of value.”

Bell says that it appears libraries “mostly deliver functional value,” and asks the important question,  “how do we deliver higher levels of value that get community members emotionally engaged with the library?”

Steven Bell is currently Associate University Librarian for Research and Instructional Services at Temple University, and was previously Director of the Library at Philadelphia University.

Principles on Public Access in Libraries

By | 2017-09-28T18:16:23+00:00 September 28th, 2017|Categories: Philosophy/Principles|

Principles on Public Access in Libraries

Libraries have a role in national development through providing access to information. The members of the Dynamic Coalition on Public Access in Libraries agree with the following principles:

Infrastructure: Libraries should be recognized as a vehicle to ensure universal access to the Internet. Libraries should be used to initiate universal and affordable infrastructure in developing countries and under-served communities in developed countries. Where libraries do not exist, information and documentation centres should be recognized as a vehicle for ensuring universal access.

Policy: Policies and legislation should create an enabling environment for universal access to information by supporting the role of libraries in providing public access to ICTs, Internet connectivity and technology training.

Copyright: National and international copyright frameworks should balance the public interest in accessing information with the rights of authors, artists, and publishers by ensuring provisions for libraries and archives to provide public access to the world’s knowledge in all formats.

Accessibility: All people, irrespective of gender, age, capacity, race or ethnicity, should have access to information through ICTs and the skills needed to participate fully in society.

Privacy: Individuals have the right to privacy when they seek information using the Internet. Internet users in public venues such as libraries must not be subject to surveillance of their activities.

Skills development: Libraries should be supported in their role of offering training and skills development in using technology, media and information literacy, so that people can access the information and services that they need.

Open access content: Through providing technology and Internet access, libraries offer and promote access to free online content that supports education and development, complementing access to commercial content through online subscription resources.

Local content: Through providing technology and offering support, libraries have the capacity to promote and enable the creation of local content and to ensure its preservation. Libraries should be supported in using and facilitating access to open data and open access solutions and libraries’ role in providing access to government information and services should be recognized.

International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA)coordinates the Dynamic Coalition on Public Access in Libraries with Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL). IFLA is the leading international body representing the interests of library and information services and their users. It is the global voice of the library and information profession.

The Principles on Public Access in Libraries were produced by the Dynamic Coalition on Public Access in Libraries and discussed by participants at the Internet Governance Forum in Joao Pessoa, Brazil, in November 2015. The IFLA Governing Board endorsed the principles in December 2015.

BOOK: A Splendid Torch: Learning and Teaching in Today’s Academic Libraries

By | 2017-09-26T17:17:42+00:00 September 26th, 2017|Categories: Collaborations/Community, Philosophy/Principles, Reports/Plans|

A Splendid Torch: Learning and Teaching in Today’s Academic Libraries
by Jodi Reeves Eyre, John C. Maclachlan, and Christa Williford, editors

September 2017. 151 pp. $0.
ISBN 978-1-932326-58-1
CLIR pub 174

PDF Download of Full Report (7.3 MB) >>

This is a web-only report—it is not available in print.

Six essays, written collaboratively by current and former CLIR postdoctoral fellows, explore the contributions that today’s academic libraries—as providers of resources, professional support, and space—are making to learning and teaching. Topics include the continuing evolution of the learning commons, information literacy instruction, digital humanities teaching in libraries, spatial literacy, collaboration in digital special collections, and 3-D printing and pedagogy.

A Splendid Torch: Learning and Teaching in Today’s Academic Libraries, published by the Council on Library and Information Resources, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

The Council on Library and Information Resources, 1707 L Street NW, Suite 650, Washington, DC 20036, is an independent, nonprofit organization that forges strategies to enhance research, teaching, and learning environments in collaboration with libraries, cultural institutions, and communities of higher learning.

Library Toolkit: Lessons Learned on Social Exclusion

By | 2017-09-25T00:29:56+00:00 September 25th, 2017|Categories: Philosophy/Principles|

Community-Led Libraries Toolkit

The Community-Led Libraries Toolkit shares the experiences and lessons learned about social exclusion and public libraries by the Working Together Project.

What is Social Exclusion?

“Social exclusion takes many forms. It can be direct or indirect, and can embrace both groups and individuals. Exclusion also has a geographical dimension embracing rural, urban and suburban areas alike.

In talking about social exclusion we are focusing on the needs of groups and individuals…who do not have access to services and facilities, or to society’s decision making and power structures.”

— John Pateman
Social Exclusion to Community Cohesion
Library and Information Update, March 2006

http://www.librariesincommunities.ca/

The project was made possible with funding from the Human Resources and Social Development Canada.

 

 

FILM: EX LIBRIS – New York Public Library

By | 2017-09-23T17:50:40+00:00 September 22nd, 2017|Categories: Philosophy/Principles|

EX LIBRIS – THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY
PRODUCED, DIRECTED, AND EDITED BY FREDERICK WISEMAN

Excerpt from the New York Times review…
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/12/movies/ex-libris-new-york-public-library-review.html
By MANOHLA DARGISSEPT Sept. 12, 2017

“Mr. Wiseman never states outright what the library’s mission is; he doesn’t have to. It’s as clear as the recitations from the Declaration of Independence in one scene and in a passionate discussion of a racist textbook’s misrepresentation of the American slave trade in another. It is a soaring, Utopian mission in a documentary that builds with intellectual force and deep emotion as it shows, again and again, citizens — interested, questioning, seeking — joining together to listen to one another and to learn from one another. In “Ex Libris,” democracy is alive and in the hands of a forceful advocate and brilliant filmmaker, which helps make this one of the greatest movies of Mr. Wiseman’s extraordinary career and one of his most thrilling.”

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